Two ways to cook wild duck this autumn

With game season in full swing, why not try cooking wild birds on the barbecue?

Duck with orange and juniper go perfectly together. Photograph: iStock

Duck with orange and juniper go perfectly together. Photograph: iStock

 

September might seem like a bizarre month to suggest having a barbecue but with game season in full swing, I’m actually looking forward to cooking a few wild birds over smouldering turf, hot coals and birch wood.

The weather recently has simply been outstanding, though that’s not to say it will be good next week. But we must take each day as it comes. And, of course, we need more shops selling wild ducks and other game birds (such as pigeon, woodcock and teal). Think about cranking up the barbecue in the early afternoon, giving it enough time to cool a little, before putting the buttered ducks directly on.

As wild ducks are extremely lean, you’ve got to turn them often. But I find brushing them with melted butter mixed with herbs and salt is all they need. Only cook to 55 degrees as any higher temperature will leave them a tad dry. While the ducks are resting, grill some apples on the barbecue, brushed with apple syrup and vinegar. A handful of watercress is all you need to complete the meal.

How to cook mallard duck with orange and juniper

If autumn barbecues are not your thing, then oven roast duck is just as good. A lovely old recipe I came across while researching the Irish Cook Book combined wild duck with orange and juniper. It’s a really simple recipe: season ducks with salt, pepper and oil, slice a orange into six wedges, and place on a roasting tray with some juniper berries and a good dash of sweet sherry. You can use cider if you don’t have sherry, or even chicken stock will do. Roast at 200 degrees for 20 minutes, or until medium rare.

Wrapping wild ducks in rashers is another way of cooking game birds. The pork fat helps keep the birds moist while cooking. Of course, this technique will also work with pigeon, partridge or grouse. Remember, if all else fails, wrap it in a rasher and pour alcohol over it. That will help any wild bird taste better.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.