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Kings over Queens

Duck, my nemesis.

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So I tried a duck again yesterday, using the WSM as the cook platform. This time I steamed it first for about 20 minutes then into smoker for about 2 hours. My temps dropped to around 225 when I checked it an hour and 45 minutes later and the breast was registering 155 and the thigh around 180 but it didn't look "done." I opened all the vents and the door panel and got it back to 325 pretty quick and let it run for another half hour and pulled it.

 

The meat was cooked but the skin was rubbery and it seemed like there was sill a lot of fat that needed to come out so I cut it up and put it under the broiler to crisp up the skin. I baked some potato's that I then cut into quarters and cooked them in my wok with some reserved duck fat. Wife roasted some broccoli.

 

Meh. I'm getting pretty sick of duck. :squid: There isn't a lot of meat on them and rendering out the fat is a bitch. My kids eat them but I'm thinking that it may be better to just get them Peking style at crown palace and stick to chicken at home, something I do well and that we can have a nice meal off of. I've got some photo's on the digital at home and may post them later.

 

I've got one duck left in the freezer and am going to try Steve's boneless with Cabernet sauce recipe, and that may be it.

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cut the breasts off and cook them to a balmy 120

cut off the legs and thighs

render off the fat from the rest of the carcass

pick off the delicious skin and any little bits of meat you can find - eat them with your fingers

make stock out of the bones

confit the legs and thighs with the fat - eat them next year when they start to get good

 

roasting the whole bird, unless done pekin-style, is a waste of time and a waste of good bloody-rare breast meat.

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I love duck. If I get decent skin that's nice but it's nowhere near as important as the meat. At least 90% of the time; wherever i've had it (home or restaurant) if the skin is crisp the meat is overdone.

 

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I don't cook them whole any more either.

 

Pan sear/roast breasts rare, save the fat.

 

Braise the legs and thighs, save the fat.

 

Render carcass into stock and skin into fat.

 

Make cracklins out of rendered skin to put on soup or something, save the fat.

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I've got one duck left in the freezer and am going to try Steve's boneless with Cabernet sauce recipe, and that may be it.

 

Please do, as I am hoping it will change your mind about cooking duck at home. I made it for Donna and me for T'Day, and Donna said it was the best I had ever made.........but I made a slight change in technique this time, which I will do in the future.

 

I am pretty sure the recipe as posted has the duck going in at a high temp (425-450 maybe) and then turning it down to about 350 after about 15 minutes. On Thursday, I did the opposite, putting the legs/thigh pieces in at 350 for about 15 minutes, then adding the breast pieces for another 15 minutes or so, then turned the oven up to 425 for about 10 minutes, and finally putting the oven on broil for about 5 minutes to crisp the skin....and it worked great.........rosy, juicy duck meat, crisp skin.

 

 

And DON'T forget to pierce the skin all over, then salt the skin and also sprinkle it with garlic powder before putting it in the oven....that is the key to getting the crispy skin.

 

And 155 is too done.....ya want about 130-140 at the very most................at least for our tastes.

 

 

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Thanksgiving day. I'm a guest and appointed sous chef. (I knew that was coming so I brought my two fav chef knives.) Can't play in the football game due to a twisted ankle. How does this add up to duck? As the group is heading out to play the host takes me out back to a ghetto 22" kettle (no legs, holes in the sides) with a full load of wood coals burning down. Work table is a 12" wide 14" tall piece of tree. Says "You can cook the ducks here while we play. Better get going because the fire is dying down." OMG.... This is going to be an adventure....

 

I offer to quarter the ducks (per SIM) and pan sear/roast them but he wants them cooked whole, on the grill. I start by putting the lid on the kettle to try to get the fire to die down some more and head in to prep the ducks. First things first -- I pour a glass of a 10 year old Barolo I brought for dinner and take a look at the ducks. I cut off every piece of skin I can that's not covering the breast or legs. Skin gets cut into strips and I toss it into a cast iron skillet to render on low heat. Then I slice the skin down to the meat in an X pattern on the breasts and thighs. I cut slits along the back. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and intrepidly head out to the ghetto ketto.

 

I toss the birds on breasts down, clip a probe to the grate, drop on the lid and start praying. 300, 350, 400, 450... Ten minutes in and the fire is about to rival the Rahway incinerator. Smoke is pouring out of the ghetto ketto so I pull the lid to take a look. Everything bursts into flames with the addition of oxygen. I pull the ducks off and see some nice brown on the breast skin. I put the lid back on and probe tops 550. Got to manage the fire better so I get a bottle of water and kill the fire in the middle of the ghetto ketto leaving about a six inch ring of coals at the perimeter. Ducks go back on breast side up. Probe is reading 350. Nice. I smile. Fifteen minutes later it's up to 400. Another five and it's 450 and rising. Damn. I take a look and check with the thermapen. I'm at 145 in the breasts, 165 in the thighs and I pull the ducks. Skin on the bottom has some crisp to it. Total time over fire is about 30-35 minutes. I sigh, relieved that I did not incinerate the birds.

 

After resting for a hour or two we tossed them in the 350 oven for 10 minutes to warm them up a bit and I carved them out. Skin was crispy but had a bit of fat underneath which was delicious. Meat was excellent, tasty and not feeling overdone for the table of people who really never eat ducks. It was an adventure, felt a bit like "how do I NOT screw this up" at every step, and it worked out quite well. Everyone loved it. :th:

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I braise them in duck stock for ~1.5 hour. That renders all the fat, and makes both leg and breast meat moist. Then roast off to crisp everything up. Its tender and delicious, but a lot of work. I usually glaze the breast w Morello cherry jam and make a sauce from the pan drippings and the braising liquid. Freeze any excess stock for next time. The key is finding great, fresh Long Island duck which is a chore anymore.

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I've tried domestic duck a couple times (roasted on the outdoor grill) and it was a major disappointment. :thdwn:

I do chickens all the time, and they get rave reviews. Most times when people take me out on their boats, they ask that I bring chicken. So I always assumed fresh duck would be the next natural progression. Wrong! :dismay:

 

After a few hours, they come out looking great. But all I end up with is withered flavorless meat, and crispy skin. IMO, once the fat is rendered off, and the meat goes beyond medium rare....forget it. Ain't worth eating.

 

However, I have bought fresh duck breasts (skin on) and cooked them off cook top, then oven after I scored the skin. Served them medium rare with a cabernet reduction sauce, and they were spectacular.

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In general, duck is difficult to cook correctly when it is left whole, and even more difficult doing it on a grill. And when I say "correctly", by that I mean getting a crispy skin yet having the legs, thighs, and breast all come out the juicy medium rare that it should be. If you like duck that to me I consider overcooked, then doing one whole it quite easy. While something like Chinese Peking Duck is good at times, frankly it is usually overcooked to a brown/gray state.....okay and tastes good to have every so often, but I much prefer duck to be cooked to rosy.

 

This is a plate that I got at Harry's Cafe in Vermont earlier this year, and the doneness I prefer:

 

450

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In general, duck is difficult to cook correctly when it is left whole, and even more difficult doing it on a grill. And when I say "correctly", by that I mean getting a crispy skin yet having the legs, thighs, and breast all come out the juicy medium rare that it should be. If you like duck that to me I consider overcooked, then doing one whole it quite easy. While something like Chinese Peking Duck is good at times, frankly it is usually overcooked to a brown/gray state.....okay and tastes good to have every so often, but I much prefer duck to be cooked to rosy.

This is a plate that I got at Harry's Cafe in Vermont earlier this year, and the doneness I prefer:

450

 

Yea, that's the way it's best served. :th:

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I have killed and cooked more than a few wild ones, and also more than a few domestics....I love them!

(including the fat, which is useful for all sorts of things)

 

I help cook for a big hootenannay every September.

Goes on for several days... culminating on Saturday evening with horseshoes, shotgunnery, a band and a big meal.

The Thursday and Friday evening feeds are smaller and lend themselves to experimentation.

One of the regulars usually brings some of his Japanese clients...from Japan.

A chance for them to see a bunch of hillbilly heathens in their natural habitat...we're infamous over there.

 

I had killed a small groundhog (in the eye... varmint hunter) and curled him up in the empty box that had been a case of .410 shells (more than enough gun)

Set him on the side table with beer bottle caps over his eyes (he was so cute)

I had cooked marinated, grilled, wild duck breasts...medium rare as an appi-teaser.

Those Japanese Devils loved them!

One of them came up to me and in broken English proclaimed..."dish derrishious...wat dish?"

I pointed to the groundhog...

"hmmm....oh,rearry"

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It doesn't matter that the meat is overcooked if it's made into Peking duck. It's all about the skin. The skin is sliced off with barely any meat attached and then the carcass is picked and made into another dish or more likely tossed into a soup pot.

 

I don't even buy whole ducks any more unless they're really cheap. I can buy a couple big meaty Magret breasts for about the same money. They seem to be nearly as much usable meat as a whole duck anyway, much larger than what I can ordinarily fillet off a LI peking duck. I also buy legs sometimes when they're cheap but always braise them.

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I bumped the duck thread in the other site for you KoQ

 

 

a bunch of different ideas

 

 

universally is not to overcook the meat (as stated here as well)

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