“How do you make shovelers taste good?” is a question I am often asked. Some waterfowl species have challenged me over the years and I am very thankful we usually have dozens of birds in a season for recipe development. The last few years I have had great luck with corning all kinds of ducks and geese. Once the birds have been corned (brined 5-10 days) they are ready to boil, fry, slow cook or smoke for pastrami. When we bring home large quantities of birds it’s easy to remove the breasts and toss them all in a brine while filling the slow cooker up with legs and thighs to use for dinners all week. You may want to start out with a small batch to see how you like this method and then double or triple the recipe next time.
- 2 pounds whole duck breasts
- 1 quart water
- 2 tablespoons Morton Tenderquick
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon pickling spices
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepepr
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
In a glass or plastic bowl, whisk dry ingredients with water until sugar is dissolved. Clean duck breasts of all silverskin and inspect for shot. Place duck breasts in brine. Cover and refrigerate 5-10 days stirring at least once a day.
There are a variety of ways corned duck can be cooked. Slow cook in a crock pot on high heat 2 hours or until duck reaches desired tenderness. Thinly slice duck and sauté on high heat in a stir fry with olive or coconut oil. Boil whole breasts 10-15 minutes, slice and serve with fried cabbage and potatoes. For duck pastrami, smoke 3-4 hours between 180º-200º (or until duck reaches an internal temperature of 140º).