Thanksgiving is fast approaching and for most of us this means going out to the local grocery store and buying a farm raised, already frozen turkey. However, for the more adventurous among us the holiday means hunting and preparing our own Thanksgiving Day fowl. Those of us, who do the former and forgo hunting wild turkey, geese, ducks, etc., may have an easier time of it with a partially prepared bird, but those of us with the hunting spirit would not trade the challenge of preparing and eating a wild game bird at Thanksgiving for anything in the world. Yet, working with a game bird is not the same as cooking store bought fowl. Here are some tips for those adventurous few who will be Houma duck hunting this season.
- Remove the shot: Carefully extract all the BB-like lead shot from your bird using tweezers.
- Dress wild birds promptly: Clean wild birds such as geese, ducks, turkeys, etc, by cleaning them as soon as possible after you hunt them. This will prevent spoilage and not only help the flavor of your meal but will possibly prevent you from becoming ill.
- Hang your bird: Most experts recommend that you hang cleaned birds for at least two days before plucking, refrigerating and marinating them.
- Pluck it: Pluck your bird meticulously by first immersing it in boiling water. This will make plucking easier. If you plan to stew or poach your wild game bird, you can forgo plucking it and simply skin it – feathers and all.
- Season it: There are a wide variety of rub recipes on the Internet. Be sure that when you find one that suits your fancy to refrigerate the meat for 1 to 24 hours before grilling. As far as marinades are concerned, leave whole ducks in the fridge 3 to 12 hours before cooking.
- Leave some pink: When cooking duck leave the meat rare to medium. Try pan-searing it and adding salt, pepper and butter. This simple method will give your duck just the right texture.
There you have it. These are some basic steps for preparing wild game birds for the big day that will be upon us soon. The less adventurous among us may find doing these things to be a chore but they forget the even harder work that our ancestors had to undergo before enjoying a sumptuous meal. At Coastal Charter Fishing where you can join our Louisiana fishing guide and see all kinds of fish and fowl, we appreciate this history. So if you are game, we can provide you with various fish species as well.