Wild Recipes

How to Perfectly Sear Wild Duck Breast

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It is hard to beat a properly prepared duck breast. Since duck is such a rich and dark meat, it is very analogous to beef steak. As someone who is often on the go fishing and hunting, but still likes to come home to a good meal, I crave simplicity in the kitchen. This recipe accomplishes just that.

Ducks may be tough birds that can handle long harsh winters and extended migrations, but their meat is quite delicate. Duck can easily be turned into an overcooked and chewy mess. Seared duck breast is my go-to method of preparation during waterfowl season. As such, I have experimented with many recipes and techniques. Through my experimentation, I have settled on a process that works very well for my liking and it has even become my Christmas dinner staple.

Using different presentations, sides, and sauces can spice up this meal and provide you with some variety. However, here I will present you with my most simple version of this recipe that is bound to melt in your mouth. While many recipes call for a super-heated pan to sear duck breasts, I stumbled across a recipe during last duck season that starts with a cold pan. I have not looked back, and now I swear by a cold pan for a nice crispy duck breast.

Serving Size: 2
Time to Make: 30 Minutes
Also Works With: Any puddle duck adjusting cook time for size

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How to Perfectly Sear Wild Duck Breast

Recipe by Quincy Milton
0.0 from 0 votes
Course: Wild Recipes


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  • For the Duck
  • Two whole duck breasts

  • Salt

  • Pepper

  • Steak Seasoning

  • Sides
  • Mini golden potatoes and butter green beans


  • Before Cooking
  • As I have mentioned in other recipes, I like to let dabbling ducks stand on their own flavor without brining them. I will occasionally break this rule depending on my harvests’ food source.
  • Should you choose to brine your duck, remove the breasts and add them to a resealable Ziploc bag with 1 tablespoon each of salt and sugar. Cover the breasts with water and season the brine with thyme, bay leaves, or rosemary. Add chicken stock to the brine for extra flavor. Place the bag in the refrigerator for 18-24 hours before use.
  • Remove the breasts and pat dry 10-15 minutes before you plan to start cooking. Score the skin-side of the breasts a few times in a diagonal pattern. Season both sides generously with salt, pepper, and your favorite steak seasoning blend.
  • Cooking
  • Place your breasts skin-side down on a cold pan and turn the heat on to medium. Once you hear the fat begin to sizzle, turn the heat up to just above medium (but not quite medium-high) and place a small pan on top of the meat side of the breasts to keep the skin from curling.
  • Cook the breasts on the skin side for approximately five minutes. Using tongs, flip the breasts to the meat side and make sure you place the meat directly in the fat that has been rendered out of the breasts. Cook on the meat side for approximately three minutes.
  • Remove the breasts from heat once the internal temperature has reached 140 degrees. Let the meat rest for five minutes before slicing approximately five pieces along the width of the breast.
  • For the Sides
  • Make sure to start your sides prior to searing your duck breast. You should be sautéing your green beans and cooking your potatoes in the air fryer while simultaneously searing your duck breast.
  • Cut one pound of mini golden potatoes in half and bring to boil for approximately twelve minutes. Remove the potatoes from the water and place on a baking sheet. I like to smash the potatoes down so that they are flat but this is optional. Season the potatoes with salt and pepper, spray with olive oil, and place in the air fryer or oven on 400 degrees for twelve minutes.
  • Bring one half pound of green beans to boil for approximately five minutes. Remove from the water and place them in an ice bath for thirty seconds. Bring a medium pan up to medium temperature, add one quarter tablespoon of butter, and place the green beans in the pan. Season the pan with garlic salt, garlic paste, and pepper. Sauté the green beans for approximately six minutes, then serve.

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Quincy Milton

Quincy is an avid fly fisherman and bird hunter who approaches outdoor activities from the perspective of an outdoor scientist. He loves experimenting with wild game recipes, especially when it involves a smoker.

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