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#5595253 - 02/11/15 09:46 PM Question on aging ducks
chaseh2003 Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 12/19/11
Posts: 74
I'm new to duck hunting but I have read more than once that guys lay their ducks on their back in the fridge to age them whole for up to a week. I understand gravity is supposed to drain the juices away from the meat but this still sounds like it would ruin the meat. Is this for real? Does it work?

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#5595295 - 02/11/15 10:02 PM Re: Question on aging ducks [Re: chaseh2003]
Toledo Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Posts: 1294
Loc: College Station
Most of what I kill stays in the fridge 3-7 days before having the breast meat removed. Any birds that are plucked and kept whole are done within a day or two max. Never had an issue.

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#5595304 - 02/11/15 10:05 PM Re: Question on aging ducks [Re: chaseh2003]
Pittstate Offline
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 09/01/09
Posts: 5177
Loc: NE/CO/KS/MO/OK
I age mine in the garage fridge 100% whole, laying on their backs for 8 days. I have done it from 5 to 12 days and 8 seems to be the magic number for me. I do it with dove, duck, geese, pheasant, grouse, etc. It makes duck and geese taste as good as a beef sirloin steak.

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#5595311 - 02/11/15 10:07 PM Re: Question on aging ducks [Re: chaseh2003]
Pittstate Offline
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 09/01/09
Posts: 5177
Loc: NE/CO/KS/MO/OK
The only part that goes bad at times in the legs because urine or gastric juices run down to that meat. I don't use the legs, so this isn't an issue with me.

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#5595658 - 02/12/15 08:24 AM Re: Question on aging ducks [Re: Pittstate]
Guy Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 12/06/05
Posts: 25741
Loc: Lake X
My preference is to clean them right after the hunt, it is just easier. Cleaning a pile of birds that are 34 degrees is just not as easy, plus your fingers go numb (surgical gloves help). But don't always have time, in which case no issue letting them sit in fridge, I got a new fridge last year just for ducks (wife slowly took over my other one). Just be sure to keep temp below 37 or it can go bad, and cool them after the hunt as soon as possible. And don't let it drop below 32 or it will freeze.

I like breasting them, soak in water 24 hours (I don't mess with salt), make sure blood clots/feathers are cleaned out completely (very important), then I put them in a big tupperware (with top on), season, and let them age in there. Big tupperware is better, let's them breath, I put a papper towel in there in one corner to soak up excessive juices, not too much or it will dry out. Turn them every day, let them marinade in their own juices (not recommended for ringers).

I would say small difference in taste from aging, but noticeable, but a huge difference in texture of the meat. Takes the rubberiness out of the meat, not all of it (I wish), but a lot. You should age at least 3 days. You can tell when it is getting over due when the edges start to turn brown, still good and could go more days if needed, but time to eat them. 3 to 7 days seems to be the sweat spot, 2 weeks works as well.

Always use your nose. I have never had any go bad.

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#5595729 - 02/12/15 09:06 AM Re: Question on aging ducks [Re: chaseh2003]
Ben Lilly Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 11/25/12
Posts: 2797
Loc: here and there
Ive been aging mine whole and intact 10-14 days before plucking.

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#5596000 - 02/12/15 12:07 PM Re: Question on aging ducks [Re: chaseh2003]
NTX Waterfowl Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 11/08/12
Posts: 352
Loc: Wylie
I age whole in the fridge for up to 14 days, generally try to go about 7. I've found that they loose that "ducky" smell and are easy to breast. The meat has a good texture and a slightly milder flavor.
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#5596737 - 02/12/15 07:07 PM Re: Question on aging ducks [Re: chaseh2003]
Merican Duck Hunter Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 10/24/13
Posts: 1762
Loc: In the Layout
At first glance of the title, I thought this was gonna be some yahoo asking how to age a bird on the fly, like we do with deer! hammer
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#5596873 - 02/12/15 08:09 PM Re: Question on aging ducks [Re: chaseh2003]
Pittstate Offline
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 09/01/09
Posts: 5177
Loc: NE/CO/KS/MO/OK
My taste palate may be different that some.....but, aging them makes 1,000,000 times better. I can't eat a duck that has been cleaned right after harvesting. It tastes like liver to me and I don't like liver. When I age mine, I don't need to mask the taste with anything. I will put them on the grill, cook medium and devour. I have served both duck and goose like this with blacken seasoning and had several people call me a liar....thinking they are not eating duck.

With all this being said, I have a buddy that loves duck cleaned the traditional way (right after harvesting). So, it depends on your palate.

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#5597107 - 02/12/15 09:52 PM Re: Question on aging ducks [Re: chaseh2003]
huntingag01 Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 11/18/05
Posts: 1237
Loc: McKinney
Age them 7-10 days belly up in the fridge. Easier to clean and loose alot of the gamey taste.

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#5597130 - 02/12/15 10:08 PM Re: Question on aging ducks [Re: chaseh2003]
huntwest Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 09/17/10
Posts: 1765
Loc: Albany
Back in he 80s we gave all of our ducks to a Vietnamiz family in a Fort Worth. They did not want us to pluck or gut them. I asked once how they prepared them they showed me.
In the garage they had them hanging by the neck on a string. They would check them once a week by giving a gentle tug on them. When they tugged and the body seperated from the head they would be plucked and gutted. Believe it or not when they cooked it( fried very crispy) it was very good.
That is the way to age a duck if you have the fortitude for it.

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#5597405 - 02/13/15 07:41 AM Re: Question on aging ducks [Re: Ben Lilly]
colt45 Offline
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 08/19/06
Posts: 5397
Loc: bastrop county
Originally Posted By: Ben Lilly
Ive been aging mine whole and intact 10-14 days before plucking.
how is the taste?
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#5597752 - 02/13/15 11:01 AM Re: Question on aging ducks [Re: chaseh2003]
Dave Speer Online   content


Registered: 12/27/07
Posts: 4550
Loc: Austin
I tried aging once on the breast only. Filleted the meat, put on a cooling rack inside a large tupperware designed to hold cakes. Left in fridge 7 days, on day 8 I opened it. Smell was bad. Cooked anyway. One bite, hit the trash bin. Re-read various stuff about aging, articles said airflow important.

I was going to try again but frankly unless it's BWT in early season or a canvasback, I've given up on cooking ducks. I have had some good bites/recipes but all ducks other than canvasback go straight into the sausage pile in the freezer. Every link of sausage made from it (at a deer processor, mixed 50% with pork) is good, no waste. No long brining, marinading, complicated recipes just to end up with a nasty liver taste.

I have a pretty sensitive palate and just don't like duck. But duck sausage (with goose, snipe, dove, whatever) is great every time and no muss or fuss.

Advantage to the sausage too is that I can shoot anything I want, divers, hoodies, spoonies, coot, snow geese, you name it.
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#5597763 - 02/13/15 11:09 AM Re: Question on aging ducks [Re: Dave Speer]
garrett Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 01/19/06
Posts: 10287
Originally Posted By: Dave Speer
I tried aging once on the breast only. Filleted the meat, put on a cooling rack inside a large tupperware designed to hold cakes. Left in fridge 7 days, on day 8 I opened it. Smell was bad. Cooked anyway. One bite, hit the trash bin. Re-read various stuff about aging, articles said airflow important.

I was going to try again but frankly unless it's BWT in early season or a canvasback, I've given up on cooking ducks. I have had some good bites/recipes but all ducks other than canvasback go straight into the sausage pile in the freezer. Every link of sausage made from it (at a deer processor, mixed 50% with pork) is good, no waste. No long brining, marinading, complicated recipes just to end up with a nasty liver taste.

I have a pretty sensitive palate and just don't like duck. But duck sausage (with goose, snipe, dove, whatever) is great every time and no muss or fuss.

Advantage to the sausage too is that I can shoot anything I want, divers, hoodies, spoonies, coot, snow geese, you name it.


so what your saying is that you really enjoy duck sausage?
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#5598015 - 02/13/15 02:32 PM Re: Question on aging ducks [Re: garrett]
Guy Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 12/06/05
Posts: 25741
Loc: Lake X
Originally Posted By: garrett
so what your saying is that you really enjoy duck sausage?

Seems so. I'm sure Judd will be on here soon, he appears out of the woodwork when you talk about duck sausage.

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