We are getting excited about the annual Brawl of the Wild game. One of the oldest rivalries in college football history. More importantly, it is a Montana tradition that is over a century old. In my time on this earth, The Griz/Cat game has always coincided with the home stretch of Montana's big game hunting season. For my family, the annual football game tends to cut into at least one of our days in the field. Just like the tradition of hunting on Thanksgiving, we may hunt a little in the morning, only to race home early in the day to make food and watch football.

With any luck, some family's should have been successful by this portion of the hunting season. That means a full freezer filled with freshly wrapped wild game.

Now, I have just recently learned the art of waterfowl hunting. Growing up, I was always focused on big game during the fall. After moving to the Bitterroot Valley, I realized that duck hunting is a ton of fun. I also realized that wild duck is delicious.

vincent van zalinge via unsplash.com
vincent van zalinge via unsplash.com

Since I am still relatively new to the sport of waterfowl hunting, I have only experimented with a limited number of ways to prepare wild duck. But, one of the few that I have tried is by far my favorite. If you or someone you know has harvested a duck recently, then you have got to try the following recipe at your Brawl of the Wild Viewing party.

Wild Duck Hors d'oeuvres aka "Quacker n Crackers"

What you will need:

  • 2-4 plucked duck breast (skin on)
  • gas torch
  • heavy pan (cast iron preferred)
  • 2-3 tbs cooking oil
  • salt and pepper
  • cream cheese
  • Green onion chopped
  • your favorite fruit preserve or jelly
  • your favorite crackers (I recommend whole grain)

How to prepare:

First thing is to make sure the duck breast is properly plucked. Do your best to remove all big feathers. Any small "pin feathers" or small hair-like feathers can be singed off using a gas torch or a stove burner. Lightly score the skin of the duck using a knife (meaning: gently cut small lines into the skin but not into the breast). Season both sides of the breast with salt and pepper. Heat up a pan with your cooking oil. Over medium-high heat, place the duck breast into the pan skin side down. After 2-3 minutes, check to see if the skin is starting to brown and crisp. When ready, flip the breast and let cook until the internal temperature of the duck reaches 125 degrees. Remove from pan and let rest for 5 minutes. Meat should be pink to medium-rare. Slice into thin slices.

Now you can prepare your crackers for the horse d'oeuvres. I like to spread a small amount of cream cheese on each cracker, for creaminess. Then I will add a slice of duck. Top with a small amount of your favorite fruit preserve or jelly and sprinkle with a few pieces of green onion.

Photo: Claudio Schwarz via Unsplash
Photo: Claudio Schwarz via Unsplash

This recipe should take care of a decent amount of guests. Unless you find the guest who REALLY likes it. In that case, you may have to "shoo" them out of the room.

Check back tomorrow when I share with you another Wild Game Recipe for the Brawl of the Wild Game. Coming soon: Elk Poppers.

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