Cooking & Smoking Tips

My cooking preference for whole ducks is outside on a wood pellet or charcoal BBQ. Our favorites are the wood pellet smoker called The Traeger, born in Oregon, The Holland Grill with its indirect gas heat and The Green Egg. The duck fat when hot will spatter and ruin an indoor cooking device. Duck meat has no fat unlike a goose which has fat marbling. Chefs around the world  love the flavor of duck fat in dishes. 450-475 degrees for 35 minutes produces a medium rare bird with a crisp exterior. As cooking most wild game “don’t overcook”! Leftovers thinly sliced make a tasty sandwich.

Plucked duck breasts a la onion on hot BBQ for only minutes per side, medium rare for sure!

A plucked duck is a nice gift for a friend or the farmer on whose land you hunted. Plucking only the breasts is quick and keeps that flavor packed skin on for cooking. Put two whole breasts together with a chunk of sweet onion tooth-picked between and you won’t know its duck. A steak like flavor I swear but what a difference the skin makes for flavor. Just freeze two breasts in a small zip lock bag of water and you’ll enjoy some great BBQing.

Jerky, summer sausage, thuringer and pepperoni are all good uses of duck meat but involve no duck skin where the flavor lies. A smoked duck gets the most applause especially from non hunters who have never tasted wild duck.  I discovered a small German meat market that runs a 24 hr. smoke house and that is not easy to find. Typically hams, bacon and turkeys are their main products but during salmon, deer, elk and waterfowl season things change. The secret is an injected ham and bacon cure process, wet brine for 7 days with a day of smoking at end. Kids go nuts for smoked ducks I have found. A smoked goose makes a great centerpiece and conversation item for your holiday party but my goose plucking days are over! Smoked birds do not freeze. Enjoy!

GUMBO eaters will love the speed and ease of Fowl Plucking their ducks for their favorite recipe.

Plucked duck legs


Smoked Ducks

Plucked Smoked Duck Recipe:

  • 7-10 whole plucked ducks (depending on size)
  • Submerge ducks in plastic tub in cold salt water (ratio 10 cups water to 1 cup of salt) use enough salt water according to ducks and container
  • Add 2 lbs of brown sugar, 1 cup of teriyaki, 1 cup of real maple syrup
  • Brine for 3 days in the fridge
  • Remove ducks from brine rinse pad dry and place breast side up in smoker. Smoke at 200-250 degrees about 6-8 hours with alder or apple
  • The smoking time will vary but smoke until there is no blood when the duck is sliced
  • Serve cold, discard skin and eat breast and legs

-Jim Milanowski, Vancouver, Washington

“We shot geese and ducks in Maryland, doves and ducks in St. Louis, Missouri. We use the plucker all year long. I’m against breasting anything — I’m a chef. The whole point is that a dressed whole plucked duck has a hundred times more flavor than stripped out breasts.”
– Chef Larry Condie of Saint Albans, Missouri writes that he purchased one of the early Orvis pluckers (now the FowlPlucker) 40 years ago.

Smoked Goose

This smoked goose underwent eight days of brining followed by one day of smoking and was ready at 160 degrees internally:

Kosher Birds

Your Fowl Plucker will eliminate most of the hand plucking as KOSHER LAW states no scalding. Refrigerate your birds in preparation for dry plucking and to maintain perfect meat quality. Eviseration takes place after dryplucking as it does with game birds.


A White Front goose after 80 min on the Traeger BBQ with Mesquite wood pellets.
375 degrees and you have the best eating of all waterfowl.



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plucked Alberta mallard
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