Here's a recipe for making duck poppers in the oven, an alternative to making them on the grill! I chose to make them in the oven so I didn't have to worry about turning them on the grill while I was preparing other food. They were delicious and cooked evenly without having to take the time to turn them over, plus there was absolutely NO gamey taste whatsoever. Below I share what I did from field-to-table to make these delicious poppers!
Field To Table:
After the duck hunt, I filleted each breast and kept them on ice in a cooler until we got home.
When I got home, I immediately placed the filleted duck breasts in a bowl with salt water in the refrigerator and allowed them to sit in the fridge for about a week, replacing the salt water daily. This allows some of the blood to leak out which keeps it from having such a gamey taste that most people complain of.
Next, I placed the duck breasts in a bowl and marinated in Allegro Hickory Smoke Marinade in the refrigerator for about another week.
I wasn’t ready to make the poppers just yet, so from there I used my BigGame FoodSaver vacuum sealer to seal the marinated breasts and placed them in the freezer for a few weeks until I could find the time to make them. Once I was ready, I thawed them out in the refrigerator. Again, I kept thinking that I would have the time to make them, and admit that they set in the refrigerator for about another week. This turned out to be just fine, as the marinade allowed the ducks to cure and they were extremely tender and tasty!
From here I cut the breast fillets into strips and prepared the poppers as instructed below:
2-3 whole plucked duck breasts, filleted and cut into small strips. (Makes about 25-30 poppers)
Allegro Hickory Smoke Marinade
One 8 oz package of cream cheese
About 10 jalapenos, de-seeded and quartered
1 package bacon, cut in half
McCormick Grill Mates Smokehouse Maple seasoning
Brown Sugar Glaze:
3 Tbsp brown sugar
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp cinnamon
1 ½ Tbsp. water
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Once you have your duck breast fillets cut into strips, sprinkle with pepper to taste.
Take a jalapeno quarter and spread with cream cheese until jalapeno is mostly covered. Place a duck breast strip on top, wrap in bacon and secure with a toothpick. (Note: You want the bacon to cover the entire popper if possible so the cream cheese does not leak out when baking. I found that a strip in bacon, cut in half, was a good size but you may want to either make sure it covers each end of the popper also or not spread the cream cheese too close to the ends of the jalapeno so it doesn't come out when baking, like I did.)
Place the poppers on a lightly greased broiling pan or baking sheet and sprinkle with McCormick Smokehouse Maple seasoning to taste.
Bake for approximately 40-45 minutes, until almost done. You will need to watch them closely as you get to the end and brush the brown sugar glaze on when they poppers have about 5 minutes left of cooking. (Don’t do this beforehand because the glaze will burn.)
Brown Sugar Glaze:
Mix all ingredients in a bowl with a whisk. Set aside until ready to use.
By Andrea Crider
Andrea Crider is a Pro-Staffer from Missouri who enjoys hunting deer, turkeys, and upland birds. She is also the founder of the Huntress View, an organization formed to help strengthen the ever growing community of women hunters.