Since our baby boy was far, far away, we decided to experiment with the bird of choice. And it turned out okay (Thank you, JESUS!), so we’ll share.
Otherwise, you would ne’er heard a peep. Nor quack.
Get and clean yourself your average Maple Leaf Farms 6 pound quacker, then gather the following brine ingredients, to include water in a large (6 qt) pot.
I used about half the OJ, 1/2 C salt and 3T+ of the pickling spices.
Got it all together in said pot…
…rolling boil, then let it sit and steep. I did overnight, right there on the stove.
Today major dad got some chips soaking and, since we’re going with a fruit theme, that’s the wood he used…
…while I introduced Monsieur Canard to his deeLIGHTFUL smelling brine.
The idea is to soak for 4-6 hours. We managed 4 1/2, flipping him every hour.
About 45 minutes into that last hour, major dad started his coals and got the Weber set up for smoking. When he said it was ready, I drained the duck, rinsed and dried it, then ran two very shallow slits down either side of the backbone (taking care NOT TO SCORE THE MEAT)…
…to allow fat to render down and around the meat and out the bottom, effectively basting the little devil the whole time he’s cooking (A little tip we learned 30 years ago on PBS from Madeleine Kamman). Out he went ~ with Scottie supervision, of course ~ to the smoker for a cold smoke (about 200°) of about an hour.
When he came in, the oven was preheating to 300°, but he almost didn’t make it, the smell was THAT divine and he was THAT pretty…
…but THAT raw. Breast internals were barely bumping 100° and for us, they need to be at 145°. This gives you a chance to crisp the skin…
…render off that additional fat, get your veggies going and make a sauce. I reduced a C of an Alessi pear balsamic to almost a syrup, then dropped in two huge tablespoons of imported black cherry preserves, and finished it with about a tablespoon and a half of a rich european butter.
After our traditional starters of major dad’s grilled scallops, my beer steamed shrimp cocktails and a salad, I also added seared brussel sprouts with gorgonzola cream and pecans to counter all the fruit in/on the duck. Plus I made some Sunnyside stuffing just ‘CAUSE.
It all worked.
Happy Thanksgiving, y’all.