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Cherry Smoked Duck Breast

Hi all, here’s a really simple recipe with one warning…..EASY ON THE SMOKE!  Last night we had a lovely pair of duck breasts that were begging for a smoking and a grilling. The result was good, not great but worthy of a blog entry. You see, I may not always get it right but I will say that lessons learned need to be passed on! So the recipe I’ll give you will be revised so you don’t make the same mistakes I made last night…

The recipe goes a lot like this:

  1. 2 large plums halved and pitted

  2. 1 large Valencia oraange

  3. 2 duck breasts, skin on

  4. Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

  5. A bit of olive oil for prepping the duck breast

You’ll set up your grill for indirect heat and stabilise your temperature at 225F – that’s a pretty low temperature but ideal for a patient cook. Make sure you’ve prepped a handful of cherry wood chips by soaking them in water for at least 30 minutes beforehand.

To prepare your duck, take a sharp knife and cross hatch the skin and be careful not to slice into the meat beneath. Coat both sides of the breasts with a bit of olive oil and now simply salt and pepper them. Now grate the Valencia orange and get some of that tangy zest onto the duck breasts. When ready, insert your thermometer probe into the thickest part of the breast and place it on a raised rack on your grid along with the orange. I would put the plums on about 20 minutes later to avoid them getting too smoky!

Here’s the part where I made my mistake: Put in a small handful of soaked cherry wood chips – I overdid entirely and could pass it off as a rookie mistake but the truth is, I was smoking bacon right before the duck and there was already enough cherry wood chips in the fire from the last burn. All I did was add to it more than I should have and I knew right away that I was in for it! Duck is a delicate tasting meat and too much smoke will overpower the taste.  To be honest, the duck actually wasn’t that bad but the plums were terrible!  Put them on with about 20 minutes left and when the smoke has settled down completely.

You should aim for an internal temperature of 165F or 74C – the result is well cooked and juicy duck breast. Now plate up your plates with a lovely green salad, take the duck breasts and slice them thinly on a 45 degree angle. Place them on the salad and now take the orange, cut it in half and squeeze the juice over your duck and salad. Add your plums and serve.

The gang still gave me a rating and the 3 points lost from a perfect 10 had everything to do with the smoke and not necessarily the duck. So, lesson learned. Please do try this recipe out and let me know how you go!

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Overall Heather Rating: 7/10

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