Smoke Whole Wild Duck
Far too many ducks suffer the ignominious end of just having their breasts harvested leaving some of the best meat & fat for the coyotes. Do yourself a solid and take the time to pluck a few ducks for the smoker. Follow this recipe and you'll think about plucking them all. Pro tip...after you've removed most of the feathers put on latex gloves and rub gently to remove the down leaving a near perfect duck where any leftover 'hairs' can be easy torched using a lighter.
What you'll need:
- 1 carefully plucked duck
- 2 quarts of water
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 cup kosher salt
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon pink salt #1
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoons dried sage
- 4-5 ground juniper berries (optional)
- 2 bay leaves
How to make it happen:
Bring the 2 quarts of water to a brief boil while adding the remaining ingredients, stirring until the salt and sugar dissolve. Let steep for 5-10 minutes then cool to room temperature using a handful or two of ice cubes.
Place the duck in a 1 gallon, Ziploc bag, place the bagged duck in a large bowl, then ladle the brine into the bag until the duck is completely submerged. Squeeze as much air from the bag as possible then fold the bag corners into the bowl to prevent leaks and refrigerate for at least 24 hours but no more than 36 hours.
Remove the duck from the brine, rinse it thoroughly with cold water and pat it dry with towels.
If desired gently coat the outside of the duck in the rub of your choice.
Smoke the duck at 200 degrees to an internal temperature of 150°F or about 90 minutes to two hours depending on the size of the duck.
Once the duck has reached its internal temperature remove it from the smoker and let it rest for 30 minutes. Slice thinly and serve with crackers and a garnish like sweet pickle slices or chutney.