How To Use Wax to Host An Open Fire Duck Roast

- Today on Prime Time,

we're gonna explore how

the farm-raised animals

you might be accustomed to eating

don't taste the same as a wild animal.

So we've come down to Louisiana

to Isaac Toups' backyard

to learn a thing or two about wild duck.



- [Brent] Oh God, that's cold.


- Whoo!

- Or something like that.

- Yeah, no coffee for this guy, all right!

- This is the legend, Isaac Toups.

- Hi!

- And that's Brent.

Thank you so much for

inviting us to your home?

- Welcome to New Orleans, guys.

- Appreciate it.

- I have dead birds, moonshine, beer,

and a hot pot of wax.

- And an overwhelming

sense of hospitality.

- Ah, I can't turn it off.

- And we are gonna learn

about wild duck today.

I've never had it.

- I've never had it.

- I've got it.

So, female mallard.

We're gonna do the lost wax process.

So instead of dipping this in hot water

and manually peeling the feathers off,

which would be a pain in the neck.

We're going to dip 'em in hot water,

dip it in wax,

and then an ice bath.

And then hopefully, luckily,

all the feathers come off

pretty much all at once.

It's really cool looking--

- Really?

- Really cool effect.

Let's butcher these up

a little bit at first.

Everybody gets their own.


I'll do the first one.

So we're gonna de-wing our duck.

- [Ben] Seems like

you've done this before.


- A couple times.

Cut the legs off at the joint.

Leave the head on for dippin'.

This is the best part.

Gimme your hat.

Put this in the back.

- Oh!

- Now that's your lucky feather.

Watch, you put it right here

and you'll look like a real Cajun.

- Look ma, Cajun Ben!

- Cajun Ben!

- Has anything been done to this duck yet?

- It's been shot.

- Okay.

- Okay, step one.

- Nothing else, I haven't given it a bath,

I haven't given it a kiss.

- Okay.

- But we are ready to go.

Now you guys got some blue-winged teal.

Here we go, you're gonna wanna take it off

as close to the breast as you can get,

give it a good whack,

and then you're gonna take the legs off

at that first joint, leave the head on.

- Here's to doing things

for the first time.

- Watch your fingers.

We can cauterize a wound,

but you won't like it.

- I believe in you, Brent.


- Wow.

- All right.

Let's dip our ducks.

- [Ben] I'm so excited

to see this process,

I've never heard of this.

- Will you had me some ice and a water?

- You need a water?

- Yeah.

- For the gentleman.

- Thank you.

Ahh, water.

(cans clicking)

Salut, gentlemen.

I don't kill ducks without a beer.

- I don't think this is water.

- All right, we got our hot water.

Just give you duck a dip.

Just about 30 seconds each.

Let her drain.


Wait 'til the air bubbles calm down.

You really wanna let wax to seep in.

- I do not understand the science of this.

- I'll show you.

Since we're encasing it in hot wax,

it'll look real obvious real quick.

All right, dip your duck.

- [Ben] Dippin' a duck.

Just gonna leave it in here.

- Let it rest.

- Let the air bubbles recede.

- [Isaac] Mmhmm, okay.

- Oh man, you can, it

gets hard really quick.

All right, Brent, you're up!

- [All Three] Dip that duck!

- [Ben] Whoo!

- [Isaac] Feel it, it's pretty cool.

- Oh my God, that's insane.

- Holy duck.

- Right?

It feels cool.

Now we're gonna do some stuff right here.


Look, feel it, it's now encased.

- Whoa.

- And then we're gonna score it.

Gonna cut right through the feathers.

Trying not to cut into the breast,

but I realize this is everybody's

first attempt at this.

- Oh my God.

- What the f***?

- [Isaac] Yeah, right?

And all the feathers come off.

- Holy cow.

- [Isaac] In kinda one maneuver.

- What the heck?

- Easiest way to clean a duck ever.

- [Ben] What the what?

- Now, normally this takes you, what?

Half hour per duck, and

we just trimmed it down

to a couple of minutes.

And after this, we're going to

just de-breast these things.

I'll clean this up later, Amanda!

Pop the joint off right there.

Got our first breast.

- Look at that little bitty breast.

- People don't realize--

- Gorgeous looking meat.

That is a beautiful color.

- This is wild meat.

They're a little tiny, but they're okay.

What they lack in size,

they make up in spades in flavor.

Then we can gut it.

And if you've never done this--

- This is always fun.

- [Ben] Just get in there and--

- Get in there and reach for the guts.

All right, so we have

the heart right here.

- [Ben] So tasty.

- We'll skewer those,

beautiful, beautiful,

beautiful and tasty.

- Very underrated.

- Now we have our gizzard over here.

Now, gizzard gets thrown away a lot.

Now the gizzard, you have to clean.

So the gizzard--

- I've never done this.

- Well, they eat the grain

whole, they don't have teeth.

They swallow the grain and small rocks

and what you'll find is

that inside the gizzard--

- Whoa.

- Those are a bunch of rocks.

Feel this, sand.

- Yeah.

- But this is like one

of the hardest working

muscles in the duck.

Who's up next?

Give it a good score.

- I wanna go light.

- Yeah.

- I'm already in the

breast, I'm already in it--

- It's okay, it's okay, just get in there.

- [Ben] Let's get down to business.

- These ducks are like half

the size of the mallard.

What's the difference?

- So, these are blue-wing teal,

they're just smaller in size.

- Will there be a difference of taste?

Or is it more a difference

in taste wild versus farm?

- There will be a lot more

difference between wild and farm

than wild to wild, especially these ducks

were killed in the same area.

So these ducks are eating

pretty much the same thing,

at which you're gonna get, you know,

the wine term would be terroir.

Whatever they're eating from around,

it's gonna reflect in

the flavor of their meat.

- I've de-feathered chickens and turkeys,

I've never done a duck.

They are notoriously not easy to do.

- [Isaac] You're doin' great.

- I'll tell you one thing.

I'm just havin' a blast.

I'm just havin' a good time.

- Well, yeah, I've already

poured you a beer, it's the AM.

- [Ben] I would give

myself a C-minus so far.

- I think you're doin' just fine.

- I think Amanda would

more realistic with me.

- [Amanda] Oh, you're doin' terrible.

- Okay, thank you.

- All right, the better

you clean your own duck,

the better you eat it.

I'm eating mine, you eat your yours,

that's the rule here.

- You just decided that rule

because you just saw mine.

- Just now.

- Yeah.

And then just get in there with a hand?

- Get in there with a hand,

you can make an incision with

the knife if you want to.


Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, no one

realizes, like, how gutty--

- It's been a while.

- Yeah?

- It's been a while.

Got my gizzard.


- [Isaac] That one's

comin' off nice and good.

- And we're pullin' these

things apart and like,

the color here is just insane.

- Right, but you're not gonna match that

on anything farm-raised.

For everybody that doesn't know,

this is the color your meat should be,

not your white chicken breast,

which I don't eat or don't

sell at my restaurant

'cause I can do that.

These ducks were working.

- Yeah.

- They were using their muscles.

This is where the flavor comes from.

Dark meat rules.

- I mean, this is a lot darker

than you're gonna see in anything

raised on a farm as well--

- Anything raised on

a farm, I mean, these,

they're eating what's out

there in mother nature.

I know they're gonna be, it's gonna have

a wonderful, strong, oh, and I say gamey,

I mean in a positive way, it's

gonna taste like the earth.

When I, that's why, I'm

almost hesitant to say it

because people say, hear gamey,

and normally go, oh, that's bad.

And I think, no, more like mother nature.

Farm-raised, those ducks

don't really work very hard.

And most of 'em have

had their feathers cut,

they're not flapping their wings,

so that that's almost what

we consider white meat.

It's why chicken has white meat.

You never seen a chicken fly,

they don't use their wings.

There we go, there we go!

Heart'll be the last thing.

You could feel it.

- Yeah, if you had one, you could feel it.

(funky guitar music)

- First, we're gonna have a snack.


Take the top off.

We have a little spice blend,

so we have some whole black peppercorns,

cumin, and mustard seed.

This is my game spice.

Whose is this one?

- It's my heart,

that's my heart.

- Right.

- [Isaac] This, so we'll go Brent.

- Smallest and darkest.

- Skewer 'em up.

- Skewer 'em up.

So, we got some gizzard, we

got a little gizzard skewer,

duck hearts and duck gizzards.

This is what you eat while

everything else is cookin'.

Normally these, you can cook well done.

The legs and everything else

really need to be stewed down.

We have a saying at the

restaurant, as local as possible,

and this is about as local as it gets.

These ducks came from the

greater New Orleans area.

- I think that's what's so cool

about everything in New Orleans

that we've seen thus far is that, like,

you can try to recreate this

stuff in other places, but--

- It's not really gonna

work out that well.

- No, like, you have

such local ingredients

and you use every bit

of everything that like,

it really builds the dish,

you know, from the bottom up.

And you can't, you can't

find that any other place.

All right.

- Cheers.

- Thanks, bud.

- Cheers.

- Mm.

- That's steaky, tastes like duck.

- Terroir.

- Terroir.

- It's got the flavors, like,

that tastes like it came out of the sky.

Delicious, delicious gizzard.

This is gonna have a

little bit of chew on it,

but that's okay.

Go ahead.

And that's gonna have a different flavor.

- Whoa, I'm way into that.

- Right?

That muscle was working hard.

That muscle is actually, you know,

taking small rocks and sand

and grinding up those

grains for that duck.

- We eat so much grass-fed,

grass-finished beef,

and we can taste, like, the

grass and the minerality,

but I've never tasted

it in a duck so clearly,

like, oh, this doesn't

taste exactly like a duck

I'm used to that's farmed.

This thing's been eating

seafood its entire life.

- Let's compose a professional dish.

Now, this is a variation of a dish that

I did on a popular TV show,

it rhymes with Bop Beff.

- NCIS: New Orleans?


- Right.

It's traditionally with venison,

but it works equally

as well with wild duck.

I'm gonna serve them about

the same temperature,

about mid-rare.

Def you don't wanna overcook your venison,

and we're gonna baste it with brown butter

because again, good venison or good game,

you're not gonna have a lot of fat.

- So, while we're cookin' on this,

what the hell we cookin' on?

- This is very much quality

Cajun engineering right here.

I have a thousand-dollar smoker

and I have convection ovens,

and we could sous-vide,

but cooking over fire

is a very important lesson.

This is the hardest way to cook,

trying to manage a fire,

how hot your grill is,

you really have to know what you're doing.

You're giving yourself a great education.

If you can cook over open

fire, congratulations,

you could probably cook anywhere else.

Let these rest in a little brown butter,

add some fat content to 'em,

cook 'em to just about medium,

mid-rare or even medium.

And take our very fancy plate up here,

put a little horseradish creme fraiche,

caramelized onion,

and if everybody knows me,

I'm the worst plater in my

entire restaurant group.

And of course, you gotta finish the top,

and this is essential,

this is gonna melt the

mustard a little bit

and add even more fat to the content.

There you have it, gentlemen!

- I gotta say, for something that

we were ripping out its

guts about 30 minutes ago,

this is a beautiful lookin' dish.

Cheers, fellas.

- Toodle-oo!

- Doesn't taste like duck I've had before.

- We're not hiding the ingredients.

The duck still comes out.

A sweetness helps out.

The brown butter adds some fat.

- Absolutely.

I'm glad that's all there,

but it doesn't need it.

- On its own, it eats like steak.

- You're not gonna find

this in a farm-raised.

- [Brent] This is not a chicken breast,

this is not a duck breast,

this is is a steak.

- Like duck steak.

- Duck steak.

- This is same like

when we had the hearts.

You taste the terroir in there, like,

I don't, I hate to use that word again,

but like, what we were

calling gaminess earlier,

like, there's no other way to describe it

other than like the earthiness,

there's like a completely

different flavor profile

than what you normally get in duck,

which now I'm realizing

like, I'm a f*****g idiot,

every duck I've had is like pretty bland,

and I've been enjoying it for the fat.

- Right.

- But they never tasted like this!

- They don't taste like this, and right,

what I'm doing is, unfortunately,

guys, I'm spoiling you.

'Cause now when you eat--

- You are!

- You can keep spoiling us!


I don't get think it gets

more Louisiana than this.

- Isaac, this is phenomenal.

- Gentlemen.

- Thank you for giving us--

- An amazing afternoon.

- An experience we've never had before.

- Thank you so much.

(funky band music)