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Brady Davis | Photos by Matt McCormick | 1.24.2020

Canvasback Duck Recipe

  • Pursuit: Waterfowl
  • Environment: Marsh

The Canvasback duck has long been revered as great table fare. From the bygone days of market hunting the Chesapeake Bay, to modern hunting targeting these diving ducks, hunters from coast to coast agree on the deliciousness of this species.

I had the opportunity to hunt them with a couple of friends, and got to see first hand the hunting and preparation of the ducks. Matt McCormick and I went to Utah to hunt with Tony Smith, a man who is absolutely obsessed with the Canvasback. After a great hunt over Tony’s own handmade decoys, he let us in on his favorite preparation.

Mushrooms in a pan.


  • 4 Canvasback ducks, breasts fully plucked and breast meat removed with the skin ON

  • Enough rice for 4 people (white rice, seasoned jasmine or wild rice depending on preference)

  • 20+ Portobello mushrooms

  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed or minced

  • Brown gravy mix (McCormick or other variety)

  • Bacon grease or olive oil for pan frying

Canvasback Duck being cut.


  • Cook rice in separate cooker, and let it sit.

  • Prepare brown gravy in pot

  • Sautée mushrooms and garlic in pan and add to the gravy mix when done.

  • Cook duck breasts SKIN down for 5 minutes in a cast-iron skillet on medium to high heat.

  • Turn OFF heat and flip breasts and leave them for an additional 5 minutes.

  • Remove breasts from pan and allow to rest 5 minutes, preferably under a tinfoil cover.

  • Serve with bed of rice, seared duck breast on top with mushrooms and gravy on top.

Finished wild duck dish.