Duck are one of my favorite things that I hunt and eat. Wood ducks especially are some of the best eating ducks out there. I had these three wood ducks left over from last year and was saving them for something special. That something special came in the mail a couple of weeks back in the form of a new cookbook. The Field to Table Cookbook is a new book by Susan Ebert. In the book she has a recipe for teal that involves stuffing an open can of orange juice inside the duck similar to a beer can chicken. Why this never occurred to me in the past I do not know.
The idea alone is brilliant, let the flavors of the orange juice steam inside the duck and cook it from the inside and out at the same time. These wood ducks were perfectly cooked in about 10 minutes. I the book Ebert uses a jerk spice blend to season the outside and inside of the birds. I opted for a southwest spice blend with cumin chipotle powder and the results were amazing. The skin was crisp and flavorful and the meat was tender and juicy. This might be the most perfect method for cooking whole ducks that I have ever tried.
The method for these ducks is a little time consuming in the book. It asks you to age the duck for a day and then season them and age them for another day. So if you are going to go by the book plan ahead. I only seasoned the ducks and let them sit overnight before grilling them and they were amazing.
For the spice blend
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chipotle powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Rub the spice blend into the ducks, inside and outside and let sit overnight in the fridge. Preheat your grill to high. open up as many 6 ounce cans of juice as you have ducks. Pour out about half of the juice from each can and reserve for another use. Insert the cans inside the ducks and set them up on the grill. Close the lid and cook for about ten minutes. You are looking to get the ducks to about 140. This will work with any of the smaller ducks.