Eat What You Shoot

DNR Warden Neal Shares His Duck Recipes

An article from WWA’s Words From The Wardens.

This article originally appeared in Wisconsin Waterfowl Association’s January, 2021 eNewsletter

By DNR Marine Warden Mike Neal

Like most folks who grew up in a family that enjoyed the outdoors, I spent my childhood waterfowl hunting with my father and his friends.

During those hunts, I had the opportunity to repeatedly hear the classic advice: “If you shoot it, you are going to eat it.” Those are good words to live and eat by, along with making sure you are following all the safety tips while enjoying your hunting trips.

I share your passion for waterfowl and waterfowl hunting. That double passion led me to explore how to best use the harvest in some tasty dishes.

During the years I’ve tried numerous recipes for a variety of winged creatures. When asked to share a few of my favorites with the Wisconsin Waterfowl Association’s members, I jumped at the chance.

Most people who have had the opportunity to try duck or goose generally say they really don’t care for it. I think it’s not necessarily the bird itself, but the way it was prepared.

Sure, there are several little tricks with certain birds, like soaking them in saltwater or buttermilk to help reduce the gamey flavor. However, I think the biggest mistake that is often made is that it gets overcooked. Anyone can overcook a $30 steak so that it tastes like shoe leather and has about the same consistency.

I would never label myself a chef. But I have collected several recipes over the years that have become some of my favorites. Like every recipe, they can always be tweaked to your personal taste. The recipes I’m sharing do provide a solid base for making the most of your time afield. You can determine how much meat to use – depending upon how many will be at the table.



Photo credit: Mike Alaimo

Wood Duck

Take three or four breasted-out wood ducks and a medium-size slow cooker. Take a can of fruit cocktail and pour half the can it into the slow cooker. Place a layer of breasts in the slow cooker and cover with another layer of fruit cocktail. Set the slow cooker to low and let it cook for about six hours until the meat is tender. The meat will have a sweet taste.

Duck Bouya Ala’la Pas


  • Uncle Ben’s Long Grain and Wild Rice (2 boxes)
  • 2 – 3 oz. cans of mushroom pieces and stems
  • 1 – 8 oz. can of beef gravy
  • 1 cup red wine
  • ½ green pepper
  • ½ red pepper
  • poultry seasoning

Cooking: Dice duck meat into bite-size pieces. Cook meat in salt and pepper, along with a liberal amount of poultry seasoning until good and brown. You can also add a few chopped onions here if desired. Keep meat warm in the juices until it gets combined with other ingredients.

Make wild rice, then pour duck meat and juices into rice when rice is ready. Add drained mushrooms and beef gravy along with approximately 1 cup of red wine. Cover on low heat, stirring occasionally while steaming off excess moisture, and blend with rice. 10-15 minutes prior to serving, add and fold in red and green peppers.

Flying Prime Rib


  •  1 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic
  • 2-3 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce

Combine ingredients into a marinade, poke holes in breasts and set breasts into marinade for a couple of hours.

Cook over medium to high heat on grill until internal temperature of meat is 130˚.

Let meat “rest” for 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving. Meat should be pink in the middle, similar to Prime Rib.

Red Currant Duck


  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 2-4 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 3-4 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • Sauce:
    • 1 stick of butter
    • 6-8 oz. of red currant or grape jelly
    • 1 tablespoon of rosemary, thyme & savory

Melt butter and jelly together, then add spices. Combine ingredients into a marinade, poke holes in breasts and set breasts into marinade for a couple of hours.

Sear over very hot grill for 2-4 minutes per side depending on thickness of meat. Let rest 5-10 minutes before serving. Meat should be pink in the middle, like Prime Rib. Add desired amount of sauce over duck breasts when served.