Duck Wing Confit
Unlike their distant relatives, chickens, ducks use their wings, a lot. Every time a duck buzzes the spread out of nowhere, or goes from in range to to the next county before you can even get a bead on it, it’s a testament to the incredible endurance and strength of a duck’s wings. By the time a duck has completed its epic migration south for the winter, it has easily covered over a thousand miles. This year, Wade shot a mallard in Virginia that was banded in Pierreville, Quebec. That’s a distance of 1,154 miles.
Because their wings are so powerful, they are also extremely tough. They need a long, slow and low treatment, in this case, braised in their own fat. You can cook the confit in the traditional fashion, but the sous vide method requires a fraction of the amount of duck fat and allows you to set it the day before and walk away. Keep the duck fat cold before you put it in the bag with the meat- this prevents any issues you might have with the bag sealing.
Plucking duck wings is somewhat painstaking, but there is a surprising amount of yield. The wings are often almost the same size as a leg or thigh from the same bird. We cut the wings at the first joint and trim off the little feathers that we give up on plucking.
Duck Wing Confit
Prep time: 20 minutes active, 16-24 hours total
Duck wings, plucked as cleanly as you can
⅛-¼ c duck fat
Sous vide device
Water bath set at 158F
Season wings liberally with salt, wrap and refrigerate overnight. Rinse the next day and pat dry. Place in vacuum sealer bag (or heavy duty ziplock) and add 2 tbsp duck fat per pound of wings to the bag. Seal the bag, removing as much air as possible if using a ziplock, and submerge in the water bath. Cover bath with lid or plastic wrap to avoid excess water loss.
Cook times are dependent on the size of the wing- smaller birds, such as gadwall or wood duck, will be tender after 16 hours, while bigger ducks, like mallard, black ducks, or canvasback will need closer to 24 hours.When cook time is complete, pull from water bath and dunk in ice bath to cool.
Preheat broiler, remove wings and place wings on a baking sheet. Broil for 3 minutes, rotate and broil for another 3 minutes. Serve immediately.
These are absolutely delicious with any sauce you pair them with. We like ours simple, drizzled with demi glace and parsley.