Duck Neck Sausage

Mallard Neck Sausage stuffed with duck liver, duck heart, ground venison, and garlic.
You read it right. 

Duck neck sausage components, clove of garlic, duck liver, duck heart, and venison along with the duck neck skin.
My duck neck sausage components
Here's a little 'not really a recipe', recipe - lets call it more of an encouragement to push some boundaries and try something different! What better way to start pushing boundaries than stuff a bunch of goodies into a duck's neck? Bottom line is there is no 'right' way to do this, just mix and match to come up with your own variations, but this will be a good starting point.

First thing is first, you need some duck neck or goose neck.  Goose is actually better because you get a little more to work with, but a nice sized duck will work fine to make little plump sausages (in this case I'm using a mallard neck). When you pluck the duck, get all the way up to just below the head because you want as much of the tubular skin you can get. Remove the head right where it meets the neck. Slice the skin around, just above the breast and the neck skin should pull off more or less like a tube sock, and there should be a nice layer of fat right inside the skin. This is just a perfect sausage casing - think of it as such and you won't be disappointed.

Duck neck sausage all stuffed and tied off, ready to cook.
Stuffed, tied off, and uncooked.

Now you have to consider a filling, and I don't think anything would taste bad stuffed inside a duck neck...  I usually go with the duck's liver and heart because they usually accompany a dead duck, and something else to fill in the volume; in this case I was butchering a deer at the time so I threw in some venison. It's good to include something a little fattier like bacon or pork to moisten the lean meat, but it isn't necessary.  If you have a grinder, grind everything up and mix together well. If you don't have a grinder, or you're too lazy to pull it out like me, use a good chopping knife and go crazy on the cutting board until it is ultra fine. Add a heavy pinch of salt to the mixture, along with other seasonings and spices like black pepper, thyme, etc.

Vacuum packed duck neck sausage ready to hit the water.
Vacuum packed for Sous Vide
To make the 'sausage' it can be a little tricky depending on the neck skin. Tie the small opening (head end) off as close to the end as possible with thread or butcher's twine.  Be sure the skin side is out so that internal duck fat will render inside the sausage (that's a good thing!). Now stuff that neck with filling until you can just close off the open end of the neck skin and tie it off (helps to have a 3rd hand for this). Once finished lightly salt the outside skin before cooking.

Duck neck sausage all browned and crisped up ready to eat.
Crisped up in the oven after a couple hours in the sous vide bag.
To cook, you can do just about anything, and I'm looking to smoke my next batch! The key is to cook the whole thing through while rendering the fat inside, and to finish, make sure the skin on the outside gets crisped up because that's the best part.  You can bake it in the oven, slow cook it on a fry pan, deep fry, sous vide, grill, crock pot... Whatever floats your boat, but if the method used to cook the sausage through doesn't crisp the skin up, pop it under the broiler! In my example, I vacuum packed it and cooked it through in a water circulator (sous vide), finishing it in the oven to crisp up the skin.

Specifically, the ingredients I used were:
1 Duck Liver
1 Duck Heart
1 Small Garlic Clove
Ground Venison
Pinch of Thyme
Pinch of Black Pepper
Pinch of Salt

Good luck, and as I mentioned, try any variations you think would be good.  The mallard neck sausage I did for the photos was about 4 inches by 2 inches. Goose necks are a little better for the size, but just do up a batch of duck neck sausages and you'll be good to go!

- Aaron Regier

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