Duck Burgers

Duck burgers

By Tom Dickson

This story is featured in Montana Outdoors September-October 2005 issue

It pains me to see hunters breast out a duck or a goose, then throw the rest away like so much trash. It’s illegal under the state’s wanton waste regulations, disrespectful of the birds, and a poor ethical showing. It’s also illogical, because that meat can be prepared to taste great.

I’ll admit legs and thighs aren’t the easiest parts to prepare. Unlike breast meat, they don’t taste good cooked fast and hot. One easy solution is to slow-cook these portions in a little liquid (called braising). Teresa Marrone, a cookbook author in Minnesota, recommends cutting up goose or duck thighs and legs and placing the pieces in a crockpot or in a covered pot placed on the stove or in the oven. Add enough orange juice to soak but not cover the meat, a bit of chopped onion, and a few herbs (such as rosemary).

“Cook that for seven or eight hours over low heat—after first bringing it to a boil—and you’ll end up with meltingly tender meat bathed in a sweet, citrusy sauce,” Marrone says.

Another great way to use up duck, says Marrone, is to prepare duck burgers (see recipe at right), which works just as well for goose. With this dish, you can consume every last scrap of your bird, including the meat found along the muscular backbone.


1 lb. skinless duck meat, chilled
and cut into 1-inch pieces
4 oz. thick bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 small onion, chopped into 1-inch pieces
1/2 t. salt
Pinch of black pepper

Fit hand grinder with fine-cutting plate (or use a food processor). Grind duck first, add bacon, then onion.

In mixing bowl, combine meat mixture with salt and pepper. Mix gently but thoroughly with your hands. Shape into four patties. Grill, broil, or pan-fry until just done, about 4 minutes per side. Serve on toasted buns with hamburger fixings.

Option: Another method that has more of a traditional hamburger taste is to skip the bacon, grind the duck (use only 10 ounces) and onion together, then mix with 8 ounces of ground beef in the mixing bowl with the salt and pepper.Bear bullet

Tom Dickson is editor of Montana Outdoors.