My friends at Maple Leaf Farms asked me for pictures of duck on the grill, and sent me some duck to help make it happen. Ground duck? Time for duck burgers!
Duck burgers may sound fancy – they are, especially when gussied up with blue cheese and spinach 1 But they’re not difficult to make. The only trick is, like ground turkey or ground chicken, ground duck is a softer meat than beef. Gently place the duck patty on the grill grate, and don’t mess with it until it is ready to flip. If you try to move it around before the bottom sets, the patty will fall apart.
I’ve sung the praises of duck fat before, and let me tell you, a burger with a hint of duck fat in it? Heaven.2 Get your hands on some ground duck and try out this recipe.
Recipe: Duck Burgers with Blue Cheese and Baby Spinach
Shape the burgers: In a large bowl, divide the ground duck into 6 equal sized portions, each weighing about 5 ounces. Form each portion into a patty, roughly 1/2 inch thick by 4 inches wide. Make sure the edges are well formed to hold the burger together on the grill. (This is where the burger press comes in handy.) Repeat until you have 6 burgers. Sprinkle the salt and pepper over the burgers.
Set the grill to direct medium: Set up the grill for direct medium heat, with a zone with no heat. On my Weber summit, I turn all the burners to high and preheat the grill for 15 minutes. Then I turn four of the burners down to medium and two burners off, and brush the grill grate clean with my grill brush.
Cook the burgers: Set the burgers on the grill grate over direct medium heat. (On a gas grill, I cook with the lid closed as much as possible while grilling.) Grill the burgers until they are well browned on the bottom, about four minutes. Flip the burgers and grill until the burgers are cooked through and browned on the bottom, about four more minutes. Some flare-ups will happen as the fat drips in the fire; that's normal with burgers. But, if there is a persistent fire, move the burger that’s flaring up to the no heat side of the grill grate for a few seconds to let the flames die down. During the last two minutes of grilling, top each burger with a small handful of blue cheese, and close the lid to melt the cheese.
Serve: Build the burgers, with spinach on the bottom bun, the burger on the spinach, and a squirt of honey mustard on the top bun. (OK, and add ketchup, if you must). Serve.
Patty paper – little squares of wax paper – may seem like an extra complication, but they make transferring the burgers to the grill quick and easy. I leave each formed burger patty on a patty sheet. I flip the burger onto the grill grate, peel the patty sheet off, then leave the burger alone while the bottom sets.
What do you think?
Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
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