This is part of the second Flyway Series™ release from GUNNER, which features limited-edition colors that draw inspiration from North Americans iconic flyways.
This year's limited-edition collection is inspired by Los Banos and California’s vast grasslands – and specifically, the Cinnamon Teal that can be found year-round in the historic San Joaquin River basin of the Central Valley. Kennel up for the season, grab the exclusive color while it lasts.
This is a guest recipe by Jennifer Barton, DVM. One of our #GunnerEffect21 Finalists, Jennifer frequents Los Banos during waterfowl season, and has taken her fair share of Teal.
While many people like to simply remove the breast meat from teal (scroll to see a step-by-step graphic of how to filet a small duck) and use them for a some version of bacon-wrapped poppers, the below stuffed teal recipe is a delicious alternative for those fast flyers. Enjoy.
Know Before You Start
"Teal are fun to shoot, and generally taste very good, but there’s not a whole lot of meat on them. This recipe is a way to remedy that issue, while also making them a delight to enjoy with family and friends. With this recipe, one stuffed Teal is a pretty hearty meal for one person. Serve with whatever sides you like."
- You will need to whole-pluck and de-bone your teal, basically turning them into stuff-able casings.
- This recipe is great with Green-winged Teal or even with Blue-winged teal, however, I would save Cinnamon Teal for the wall or for chorizo (at least in my area).
- You can cook these on the smoker, or in a cast iron pan in the oven, whichever is easiest for you. We'll typically opt for the smoker.
- 4-6 teal, plucked and de-boned. I recommend plucking to the first wing joint, but that’s totally optional.
- Brine (optional, but recommended)
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 tsp Instacure #1 (optional, but not a bad idea if you’re smoking)
- 4 quarts water
For the dressing
- 1 lb loose sweet italian sausage
- 1 red onion, diced
- 1 can (~15 oz) black beans, drained
- (1) 4 oz can diced green chiles (mild or hot)
- 1-2 cups frozen sweet corn (about 1lb.), or the same amount fresh off the cob
- 1 tbsp ancho chile powder
- 2 tsp allspice
- 2 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp oregano (definitely Mexican oregano if you can get it)
- 1-2 tbsp Worcester sauce (optional)
- 2-4 tbsp apple cider
- 1/3 cup honey
- 4-5 cups cornbread (about 1lb., bought remade from your store’s bakery aisle is totally fine)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup dried cherries
- 1/4 cup bourbon, rye whiskey or brandy for soaking cherries
For the glaze
- 1 cup orange marmalade (not sugarless)
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup bourbon or rye whiskey
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
Good equipment to have
- high-sided skillet
- cast iron frying pan and an oven or a smoker
- basting brush
- meat thermometer
- Brine your ducks, if you’re doing that, at least 2 hours, but overnight works well. If you’re going to use the dried cherries, measure out about half a cup and put them in a bowl with 1/4 cup whiskey or brandy.
- Turn your stove to medium-high heat. In a large skillet with high walls, brown your sausage . Once cooked through, taste for salt and add if necessary. Remove sausage from skillet with slotted spoon and set aside in a bowl. Turn stove to medium-low heat.
- Add onions, black beans, chiles, and corn. Stir occasionally, until onions turn translucent.
- Increase heat to medium. Add vinegar and honey.
- Add Worcester, allspice, ancho chile, cumin and oregano. Let cook for a few minutes and taste for salt. Add salt and pepper as necessary.
- Remove corn mixture from heat. Let cool.
- Once you’re ready to cook the ducks, remove them from the brine and pat dry. If you’re going to cook in an oven, turn the oven to 350 degrees and adjust rack to middle. If you’re going to smoke, set your smoker for 225.
- In a bowl, crumble the corn bread. Add sausage, corn mixture, and cherries if using. Mix well — it should have a texture kind of like wet sand.
- Stuff teal with the cornbread mixture. close neck and tail openings with toothpicks.
- Get the glaze going. Add whiskey and cider to a sauce pan, then place on the stove on high heat. Let cook down for a few minutes, then stir in marmalade and brown sugar. Turn off heat.
- Season the skin of your ducks with salt and pepper. (If using the oven— approximately 25-35 minutes total time)
- Heat your cast iron pan on medium high heat. Add vegetable oil, duck fat, or other oil. Place the stuffed teal breast side down until skin is brown. Flip the teal breast side up/ Brush glaze on breasts, and immediately place the cast iron pan in the oven.
- After 10 minutes, glaze breasts again. Place back in the oven.
- After 20 total minutes, check temperature. Repeat process until thermometer placed in middle of each bird reads at least 155.
- Once the right internal temperature is reached, remove from over and pan, and let rest for 10 minutes before serving (if using smoker— approximately 2-3 hours).
- Make sure skin of ducks is dry. Place teal breast side up on smoker.
- After 20 minutes, brush the glaze onto the teal. Continue to lacquer teal with glaze every 20 -30 minutes during cook time.
- After about 40 minutes, check temperature. Ducks are done once a thermometer inserted into the middle of the duck reads at least 155.
- Once appropriate temperature is reached, remove from smoker and let rest.
Step-By-Step Instructions: Remove Meat From A Small Duck
Download the step-by-step instructional PDF here.
Jen is a full-time Veterinarian by profession, but spends her spare time dabbling in photography, taxidermy, and of course, waterfowl hunting. She divides her time in the field between diver hunting the California Coast and targeting puddle ducks in Los Banos.