Steve Sutton's Marinade for Ducks


Active member
Posted by Steve Sutton

Okay, here it is. Be aware that this is a very imprecise concoction and never turns out the same twice. The neat thing about it is that it can be tailored to your own tastes by changing the seasonings added to the (4) basic ingredients. Before I tell you what is in it let me tell you that I think that preparing the ducks/geese that go in it is as important as the marinade itself. Regardless of the type of duck that I am using I cut the meat into the size that I will ultimately be cooking. Remove all of the fat and cut out any large, damaged areas or clots. Soak in iced salt water for at least 24 hours, changing the water frequently to get as much blood out of the meat as possible. With really dark meat birds like scoter, I will actually squeeze the meat to remove as much blood as possible. Once you have gotten as much of the blood removed as possible you can then marinate it. The amount of time the meat spends in the marinade will effect the tenderness of the final product so don't be afraid to let it marinate for 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator. I usually freeze my ducks in the marinade so that all that I have to do is take a package out of the freezer and let it thaw in the refrigerator for a day or two.

The (4) main ingredients are:
Olive Oil
Crushed garlic
Balsamic Vinegar
Red wine Vinegar

The amount of each type of vinegar will effect the final taste. More red wine will give it a sharper taste and tends to overpower milder types of duck like teal and mallards. Remember that a lot of this is also PERSONAL TASTE so you will have to experiment.

Other ingredients used are: Italian Seasoning Parsley flakes
Poultry Seasoning Fresh ground black pepper
Mrs. Dash, (any and all varieties) Fresh jalapeno peppers
Crushed red pepper flakes Herb seasoning

Put the desired amount of meat, cut into the size that you will be cooking, in a bowl and add olive oil until approx. 2/3rds. covered. Add 1 tablespoon of crushed garlic. Add basaltic vinegar and red wine vinegar in a 3 to 1 ratio until meat is completely covered. Add any and/or all of the seasoning listed above to suit your personal taste, stir and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours. The olive oil will solidify and separate, so it is important to stir the meat regularly to ensure that it is well mixed.
When you are ready to cook remember that most people will agree that duck is best when it is at least slightly rare. Overcooking causes the meat to be tough and dry. The secret here is to cook it hot and fast. If you are cooking in a skillet, try a few pieces at a time until you get the desired results. When I cook as strips for stir fry or sandwiches, I cook for LESS than a minute. Bigger pieces will take longer but will overcook quickly so be careful. Do not let a lot of fluid accumulate in the pan, you want the meat to sizzle not steam. If cooking larger whole breast on the grill it will take longer but again the hotter the better.

I use stripped or cubed meat marinated this way for three basic dishes: Sandwiches, which is my favorite way to prepare it, stir fry with peppers and onions, and with mashed potatoes or rice. For sandwiches, toast your bread, use an AMPLE amount of mayonnaise, and layer on the hot meat, (don't forget to drizzle a little of the hot liquid on the bread). Cook only the amount of meat needed for one serving because it is much better served hot with the juice running down your arms. For stir-fry cut up one large yellow onion and saut? in a skillet until clear then add one chopped green, red and yellow bell pepper. When the peppers are the consistency that you like them add the meat, (keep the amount of liquid LOW), and cook until done. Just before serving try squeezing the juice from one lime or lemon over the contents of the skillet. Serve over rice. You can heat some of the liquid in the skillet for sauce. With potatoes or rice just cook the meat by itself and serve with the juice as gravy with whatever other vegetable that you prefer. I like candied carrots. Make sure you have LOTS of crusty bread to soak up the juice.

This marinade works well on all meats and is particularly good on pork tenderloin. If you like portabella mushrooms, try marinating them for an hour before grilling and serving with any of the above recipes. Try this one. Toast a large hamburger bun, grill a portabella mushroom, fry some strips and serve them all as a sandwich.

Enjoy! Steve