Ever on the lookout for tasty, juicy hamburgers — and always willing to help reduce the Greater Daglan Area’s chronic duck surplus — my wife and I recently decided to try a friend’s suggestion to incorporate duck breast into our burgers.
The point of the exercise, of course, is that the lean duck meat should add flavour to the beef, while the fat layer on the duck should help make the burgers extra juicy.
I started out at the butcher shop we favour in Castelnaud, where I bought a magret de canard (a lean duck breast, with a cap of fat on top) and a relatively small amount of beef — the same cut of lean beef that I buy for steak tartare.
Because we figured this was a bit of an experiment, my wife Jan used her handy electronic kitchen scale to weigh the meat before chopping it in our food processor, along with a good amount of salt and pepper. Turns out we had 284 grams of beef (that’s about 10 ounces) and 182 grams of duck meat and fat (about six ounces). Add the 10 ounces to the six, and you get a full pound. Just right (we figured) for two large burgers.
Here’s how the burgers looked, after Jan shaped the meat:
Then she seasoned a bit more with salt and pepper, and added olive oil to keep the meat from sticking to our grill. At this point we decided that we might as well cook the remainder of the duck breast on the grill, so that we could slice it for use in a salad later on. Here’s how the meat looked, just before I took it outside to the barbecue (you’ll notice that we scored the layer of fat on the duck breast):
It turned out that the burgers were both large and dense, and so it took a fair amount of time before I pronounced them cooked (checking their internal temperature with an instant-read thermometer). And here’s mine, topped with some mayonnaise and ketchup as well as a slice of tomato, with helping of cabbage-and-carrot slaw on the side:
The verdict? Quite tasty, but somewhat less juicy than we had expected. I think that when we go into beta testing, we’ll choose a fattier cut of beef to chop with the duck.