January 02, 2019
If there’s anything Major League Fishing pro Andy Morgan likes more than catching a big sowbelly bass, it might be sitting in a duck blind as he feed chuckles into the duck call and scans the skies above.
Long a passionate waterfowl hunter—the MLF pro chases puddle ducks dozens of days each year on the western Tennessee farm he is turning into a waterfowl hunting paradise—Morgan hunts often out of a large blind complete with a stovetop setup.
From that makeshift kitchen, he’ll often use the breast meat from harvested mallards, teal, gadwalls and other puddlers to serve as the main ingredient of duck-infused biscuits and gravy.
While the recipe is the perfect companion to a blustery, chilly December day spent in the duck blind, it’s also a great way to start out a backyard ready gathering when friends are coming over for a day of summertime celebrating. Either way, the route to culinary success is always the same.
“Like with other game, I’ll lay it out, let it thaw for a day in the refrigerator, and then soak it to get any excess blood out of the meat,” said Morgan, a three-time FLW Angler of the Year and a one time winner on MLF’s Bass Pro Tour circuit. “I’ll wash it off good and look for any shotgun pellets – you don’t want to bite down onto one of those, especially steel or tungsten.
After thawing out and cleaning up the duck breasts, Morgan’s pre-cooking prep work then puts the wild protein into a marinade for another 24-hours or so. You can either slice the duck breast meat up now—into strips as thin as you’d like them to be—or later after the whole breasts have soaked in the marinade. Either way, give the marinade plenty of time to infuse its flavor into the meat.
“Duck meat is pretty dense, so I let it soak a pretty good while in a marinade,” said Morgan, the Exmark mowers pro staff member and career winner of $2.4 million in professional bass angling money. “You can use your imagination and taste buds for the marinade, whatever sounds good.
“As for what I like, I’ll use various Allegro products, raspberry vinaigrette, Dale’s Sauce, some hot sauce, maybe a little dry rub, anything that sounds good and tastes good. And whatever the main ingredient is, I’ll usually cut that with Italian dressing and add in a little Tabasco sauce too.”
When it’s time to head for the duck blind, Morgan will take the marinated duck breasts into the field in a small cooler, along with the ingredients and tools he’ll need in the field. Aside from the main ingredients themselves—including the sliced duck breasts, some biscuits, butter, flour, salt and pepper, milk, and some hot sauce—the chief kitchen item that he relies on is a no-stick Teflon coated skillet.
Once the stovetop is heated, Morgan will take a stick of butter and place it into the skillet, enough that it covers the bottom of the pan well as it melts.
“When you’ve got the butter melted and sizzling, you’ll roll the duck strips in plain flour and start putting them in the pan, salting and peppering them to your preference,” he said. “You’ll want to cover the skillet with a clear top, watching the duck as it cooks. When it starts to sweat or bleed on the topside, you’ll want to let it cook for a few more seconds to a good golden-brown color. Then flip it over, and let it cook for maybe another minute and a half. Like all game meat, you don’t want to overcook it.”
When he has pulled the fried duck strips off the stove’s heat, Morgan will put them on a paper towel or paper plate to drain off the excess grease. While that’s happening, he’ll turn his attention to the second part of this recipe, the biscuits.
“We use those old canned biscuits, Grands I think they’re called,” said Morgan. “This recipe is so popular in my blind that we buy them (biscuits) by the case for our duck camp. And we run through four to six cans of biscuits in a single morning in a duck blind.”
If you can cook the biscuits in an oven blind, hot and fresh is always better. But if not, it’s ok to cook them beforehand and bring them to the blind in a plastic bag or aluminum foil.
Once the biscuits are ready, now it’s time to make some gravy says one of bass fishing’s best.
“You make your gravy by adding some flour into the skillet and the grease that collected from cooking the duck,” said Morgan. “I’ll usually add in some more butter, maybe a chunk of Crisco shortening if I need a little more grease. Use a spatula to spread in the flour, stirring it consistently until it starts to turn a golden brown color.”
As the flour cooks and simmers, Morgan will pour in some milk.
“As for how much milk to use, that depends on how big a skillet you’re using and how thick or thin you want the gravy to be,” he said. “If you want it to be thicker, stir in some more flour. If you want it to be thinner, add in some more milk. Also remember that the longer the gravy cooks up, the more it’s going to thicken as the flour expands.”
Once the gravy is ready to serve, Morgan will lay out the biscuit halves on plates and ladle on enough gravy to smother them.
Then he says to put a strip or two of fried duck on top of the biscuit-and-gravy, adding a sprinkling of salt and/or pepper and maybe a dash or two of Tabasco sauce if desired.
Morgan started learning how to make such dishes when he was young and has been hard at work perfecting his cooking skills throughout his adult years too, often doing camp cooking in the duck blind and other places. And with guests like game call making legend Harold Knight and FLW angler Ramie Colson sampling his efforts, he’s figured out the one key mistake to avoid when making his Duck Blind Biscuits and Gravy recipe.
“Don’t run out!” he chuckled. “Once I have served this recipe to someone, it usually becomes their favorite way to eat duck. We burn through a lot of duck meat packages in the freezer by using this recipe. I’ve even had a few people offer to trade me some packages of crappie filets for duck breasts because of this recipe, it’s that good!”
So good, that whether it’s a cold day with the greenheads on the move or a summer’s dawn with a day of lawn care in front of you, it’ll fill you up and fuel you for the long hours ahead.
All the while as you lick your fingers at the end of this duck blind inspired meal, hot sauce and all!
Andy Morgan’s Duck Blind Biscuits and Gravy Recipe
Prep time: 20 minutes + marinating time
Cook time: 30 minutes
- Duck breasts
- All-purpose flour
- Salt and pepper
- Canned biscuits
- Hot sauce
- If your duck breasts are frozen, place them in the refrigerator to thaw out.
- Once thawed, thoroughly wash duck breasts and then soak the meat in a saltwater bath (1 gallon of water plus 1 cup of kosher salt) to get any excess blood out of the meat. Let meat brine in the refrigerator for approximately 6-8 hours.
- After the meat has finished soaking, remove it from the refrigerator, and prepare the marinade. In a bowl, combine all marinade ingredients. Add duck breasts to marinade, cover, and refrigerate for 24 hours. (Note: You can slice the duck breasts up before adding to the marinade or after marinating.)
- Remove marinated duck from refrigerator and cut into slices (if you haven’t already).
- Add 1 stick of butter to a skillet over medium-high heat.
- When the butter is melted and sizzling, roll duck strips in flour and add to skillet. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Cover the skillet with a clear lid and watch the duck as it cooks. When it starts to sweat or bleed on the topside, let it cook for a few more seconds to a good golden-brown color. Then flip it over and let it cook for maybe another minute and a half. Be sure not to overcook it.
- Pull fried duck strips from skillet once done and place them on a paper towel or paper plate to drain off any excess grease.
- Bake biscuits according to directions on the package.
- Next, make the gravy. Add some flour into the skillet and some of the grease that collected from cooking the duck. Add in some more butter, or maybe a chunk of Crisco shortening if you need a little more grease. Use a spatula to spread in the flour, stirring it consistently until it starts to turn a golden-brown color. As the flour cooks and simmers, pour in some milk. How much milk you use will depend on how big the skilled is and how thick or thin you want the gravy to be. If you want it to be thicker, stir in some more flour. If you want it to be thinner, add in some more milk. Also remember that the longer the gravy cooks up, the more it’s going to thicken as the flour expands.
- Once the gravy is ready to serve, lay out the biscuit halves on plates and ladle on enough gravy to smother them. Put a strip or two of fried duck on top of the biscuit-and-gravy, adding a sprinkling of salt and/or pepper and maybe a dash or two of Tabasco sauce if desired.