Grilled Duck By: Carter Anderson

Setting the Table:

The dish that I chose was grilled duck, this dish comes from the feast day of Saint Michael, Saint Michael is the patron saint of the holy souls in purgatory. His feast day is at the end of the third quarter of the liturgical year. This timing comes from the Germanic nations as this was the time for village meetings many years ago. Because of the fact that duck season was the season during the feast many people ate duck prepared differently in every household. Although duck was the main dish mainly because it was the most readily available meat to prepare the tradition has continued into recent years. The feast days in the catholic church used to be more heavily practiced and the traditions carried through up until now. In the modern catholic church certain feast days are celebrated and others have been “forgotten” in a way. Another feast day that game meat is consumed is the feast day of St. Hubert. Saint Hubert is the patron saint of hunters. By celebrating his feast day on November third most hunters are mid season by then and are enjoying harvesting the animal.

For my dish preparation can be done several different ways. Some people choose to marinate it others do not choose to use seasoning. The way I plan to prepare it is by letting it marinate in a mixture of salt pepper and vegetable oil. I also like to throw some special seasoning on them pulling out some of the natural flavor. After letting them soak overnight I pull them out of the fridge and allow them to reach room temperature. Once they are room temperature or close enough I start the grill and let the grill get very hot (the temperature really doesn’t matter you just do not want to overdo them). I let them sit until they reach the consistency of a rare steak just barely warm in the center, if you overdue them they will taste terrible.

This dish is special to me because each bird tells a story. It has a story of how it was harvested the friends you were with and the effort that brought you to that bird. In a somewhat spiritual manner hunting brings friends and family together both during the event and during the meal. The group that would celebrate this dish the most would be catholic hunters. There is no official group but it is a grouping of people nonetheless.

Catholicchurch.org/Catholic Recipe: Brandied duck (https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/recipes/view.cfm?id=1052)

Kitchen Time


Step One: Thaw the meat to room temp.

Step Two: Marinate the Meat

  • I use a combination of water and spices
  • As seen in the video I use a good amount of pepper
  • I then use a special rub that my friends dad makes both as a marinade and then I put some on as it comes off the grill.
  • This marinade I leave on for twenty four hours, but if in a pinch does not need to last that long.


  • I take the duck then put it on the grill, hot grill, no exact temperature needed.
  • I do not overcook them I try to keep them with a warm pink center to a warm red center.
  • Before I pull them off the grill I pour the remainder of the juices on the duck breasts.

Photos: Carter Anderson

My dish is a very old dish, driving from chinese traditions four thousand years ago. Shortly after them the egyptians were noted to experiment with duck eggs and were soon raising ducks for meat. Roast duck is still a favorite today for the chinese traditionalist as it has a darker meat than that of a chicken. This gives it a much richer flavor. For the most parts all ducks originate from some form of the modern mallard, one of the most sought after game waterfowl as well as most common on today’s family farms. Although they are very similar farm raised ducks are sometime twice the size of the wild mallards you see flying in V’s way up in the heavens.

A great way to relate this to environmental justice is how many people that loved ducks used to harvest them. Before they were raised on farms like cattle and hogs ducks were all wild game. This meant anyone that wants a piece of tasty duck for dinner would have to work for it. They would have to have a great understanding of the migration patterns which meant they needed to know the mating patterns and why they migrated. Without knowing these things the person hunting this elusive creature of the sky would have no chance of harvesting a tasty meal for their family. This is a great way for this dish to go full circle for me because I have never had farm ducks. My love for this dish revolves around my love for hunting and trying to best the beautiful creatures of the sky. Although the majority of ducks eating in today's culture are mallards my very favorite is the blue or green winged teal. Faster, and small than their distant cousin the mallard they are a much harder target to hit making it a larger challenge and better competition when it comes to hunting down this prey giving it a much better chance and besting me it holds for a better environment around hunting.

Well being, being as it is a much juicier tasting animal to eat ducks do not require a overly large amount of grease or oil to make them taste good like chickens sometimes need, for example fried chicken. In today’s culture well being is a large portion of daily life from salads to kale, from simple proteins like nuts to turkey proteins. Everyone is worried about their bodies, duck is the perfect dish, especially wild duck, it is simple to make easy to eat and tastes great. `

When looking at social justice it can be a little hairy because people are becoming more and more worried about animals and the treatment of said animals and how they are produced raised and processed. Many people are becoming vegan and vegetarian. Personally I do not believe in that sort of thing regardless of what researchers think about how mainly plant diets help peoples digestive systems. Social justice is on a person to person basis, socially I believe my dish has the best social networking than almost all other dishes. The act of collecting the dish is a social act not once have I had a truly bad experience hunting in a social manner. I have made friends, gotten closer with family and have had made memories that will last a lifetime. That’s just collecting the dish! I have cooked duck several different ways since in college experimenting with different ways of cooking as well as different recipes and several different spices. Their is not much more that will give you satisfaction than that of going out and harvesting your meal with your friends then telling stories about the latest adventures while chowing down on the delicious harvest.

Religious freedom, religion is often talked about in the origin of many dishes and meaning of why the dish exists. My religious connection through my dish is a feast day for a catholic saint. It is almost unnecessary in a way for anyone to worry about religion when it comes to my dish all I ask is that you can recognize God in all aspects of the dish and any dish for that matter. From the time that the animal is born to the time that it is harvested for consumption God has a part in every minute of that animals life. I see God’s beauty in every single hunt that I have been on, watching a goose shake the snow off of its back in a field in Iowa on the last week of goose season, or seeing the sunrise over the top of Blue Lake in Onawa, or the smile on my father's face after tearing into a flock of mallards called down through the trees in a flooded timber, all these things have the beauty of a higher power and I have been blessed to see even a glimpse of that beauty.

My dish might be unsettling for some and down right offensive to others but it is a dish that is near and dear to my heart. From the time I put my waders on in the morning to the time I unload my gun for the final time at the end of the day I am loving every minute of it. The greatest fulfillment in a meal is knowing where it came from and how it was made, my dish allows you to control both of these aspects in a respectful manner both to the environment, to oneself, and to the animal itself.

The most important argument about my dish to address is environmental justice. My dish is grilled duck which involves duck, obviously I do not buy duck at the store so that brings up my environmental argument. The argument that I find myself answering the most is that of whether or not it is humain or not to obtain this meat in a hunting fashion. I personally enjoy hunting in a spiritually enriching experience. Another response that I could make about the whole argument is that hunting is not about killing it is about wildlife and environmental preservation. Money for licensing goes to environmental funding for state parks and other programs that are similar to it. For several years it has been the main goal of the majority of hunters to protect animal populations from deteriorating and eventually puting the animals into extinction.

The best part about my dish is that it does not pertain to any one dish giving it a sense of Religious Freedom, or freedom from religion. Sure its a feast day dish for a Saint in the catholic religion but it does not solely rely on that religion for its origin. Any religious person whether they are strict or not in their religious practices.

I do not know if this pertains to Social Justice but one of my favorite parts about my dish is the social gatherings that surround the entire act of hunting and eating. I could not put a price on being able to wake up in the morning and go spend time with my dad chasing down birds and other types of animal. I would not be able to tell you how many laughs were shared waiting for the sun to come up early in the morning. I can’t describe to you the rewarding feeling of eating the food that I worked for with the friends and family that I love.

Well being can be argued many ways from different standpoints such as vegetarianism and veganism. Another group that would backlash my dish is anti hunting organizations that do not agree with my method of obtaining my dish. The argument that I would give any flamboyant vegan is that it is simply not their choice how I feed my body and soul all they see is “murder” but in my mind I see a spiritual experience that not all have the privilege of seeing. Until you get up hours before the sunrise setting up in the dark not quite knowing just where you are, you cannot understand the feeling of when the sun just starts to come up leaving the sky dancing with different vibrant colors. I have been able to see things while hunting that otherwise would not have been visible for me to see. Sure I could get up and go to all these spots without the necessity of hunting but for me what’s the point? It’s about the whole experience for me being out in God's country trying to best some of the most beautifully smart creatures that walk his earth.

Just Desserts

Throughout the entire project I found myself reminiscing about successful hunting trips and happy hunting memories with friends and family. This project was fun to explore one of my favorite dishes to enjoy both harvesting as well as preparing in a new way connecting it to my religion as well. All of the main points of this class I could personally relate to all of them in wordless ways. I tried to explain my personal connections but the best stories always come out around the meal. Very often many people say you have to be there to understand and I am one of those people. Until you sit in the water watching mallards cut down from "the heavens" it is truly a religious experience without even needing to pull the trigger hunting is one of the most religious experiences anyone could have truly experiencing what God has put onto this earth.

Created By
Carter Anderson

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