Re-reading the two posts regarding “gamy taste” in wild game, the tone of the pieces seem to be focused on venison. Perhaps a few words on wild ducks, wild geese, wild turkey, wild fowl, would be appropriate.
Why Wild Duck Tastes Different
In truth, wild duck, goose, turkey, etc., have a different taste than domesticated (the ones you can buy in the frozen meat cases). Wild game has not been ‘fattened up’ for the market, nor has it been fed special foods – and diet truly does affect a bird’s taste.
A Step on the Dry Side
The ‘wild ones’ symbolize “what-you-see-is-what-you-get.” And that is the beauty of wild game – no hormones were added – it is just natural food. Because wild game has not been fed a diet of fats and things you cannot pronounce, it tastes dry.
Tips With Quail
Before freezing, quail may be skinned or plucked. For more moisture and flavor, pluck, rather than skin. Quail can be kept in the freezer (at 0 degrees) for 9 – 10 months – if placed in vapor/moisture proof containers or wrapping.
4 quail, 1/4 cup flour, salt and pepper
After dredging quail in flour mixture, fry in hot fat. Brown on both sides. Cover skillet and reduce heat. Cook slowly until tender, ~ 20 minutes, turning once to brown evenly. Serves 4.
Ideas for Marinating Ducks & Birds
If your ducks are fish-eating animals, it is best to marinate in wine, buttermilk or vinegar. If the game is an older goose or duck, marinating your animal in the refrigerator for 4 to 12 hours will improve flavor.
These older birds respond well to 1/2 tsp. salt and 1 Tbsp. vinegar per quart of water. This mixture will improve flavor and tenderize the flesh.
Dining on Duck
Wild duck, which is a dark meat, is most flavorful when served rare. I’ve found that roasting a duck in a closed pan – after adding a few strips of bacon (across the carcass) – really makes a difference with large and less-tender birds.
The only way I cook ducks is with bacon (strips) and/or in gravy. They need the moisture provided by these, plus a closed pan.
Young wild goose is wonderful: little waste, the meat is rich, dark and lean. Unfortunately, older geese don’t seem to get better in moist heat. Given a choice, tell your hunter to aim for the youngster. ;)
One thing I forgot to include with the venison info: Venison does not freeze until it cools down below 28 degrees.
* Reflections of Autumn used with permission of Vantage Point Graphics
This series includes:
#1 of 3: Can You Take the Wild Taste Out of Venison?
# 2 of 3: Removing the “Gamy” from Wild Game!
# 3 of 3: Getting the “Gamy” Taste out of Wild Ducks, Fowl, Etc.
This is a companion to my website: EasyOnlineOrdering.com