Nothing Makes the House Smell Better

…than citrus and spices in a rolling boil on the stove.

That you slap fat, luscious duck breasts into once it cools. 😀

Okay, here’s how we whipped together Citrus Brined Duck Breasts last night.

I used a riff on a recipe I scribbled on a piece of paper in the mid 80’s, while watching one of A&E’s interminable cooking shows (remember when they had programming like that?)
For 2 duck breasts:

Had 2 juicy oranges and a lime left in the fridge, so halved, juiced and flung them into a 3 qt saucepan. Added what was left of the kosher salt in the cellar on the counter, which was about 1/4 C with about 3 T of sugar* and 2 heaping T of FRESH pickling spices. Cover with water to about 1/2 of the pan, bring to a rolling boil and give it a minute or two to really get going. Then turn it off, take it off the heat, let it cool.

We hit the commissary while it cooled down.

Got back from grocery shopping, it was still a tad warm, popped it in the fridge while I got the duck breasts out. Laid them in an oval dish, strained the still-sort-of-warm brine over the top (by “strained” I mean “kept the big pieces out”), covered with plastic wrap and into the fridge for the next 3-4 hours. If they’re not floating in the liquid, get in there and rotate them every once in a while so the brine makes it to every BIT of the breast.

Get your grill cranking.

The original recipe said 4-6 hours, but life isn’t like that. I think we had 3 1/2, tops. OUT they came. Dry them off, LIGHTLY score the skin, then salt and pepper.

Skin side down on the actual fire, hash mark them. (Watch for flame-ups, because once the skin starts to render, DUCK GREASE BURNS!) Meat side down for a few seconds, then move off the direct flame, turn heat down and finish roasting until you read 130° for medium rare (We went to 135° and they were just a hair to close to medium, but still ever so juicy.)(Sincerely, do NOT overcook duck. DO. NOT.). Immediately prior to the very end, paint with the veriest shimmer of a GOOD BarBQ sauce and let it set. You DON’T want it coated. Just a glaze, a HINT of smokey sweet.

Let them rest while you get the rest of your meal organized and then slice across the grain.


We just had a salad, biscuits and roasted cauliflower.

Worked out great. And even with a truncated brine time, the subtle spices in the duck were divine.

That’s a keeper.

*for ALL my cooking/baking, I ONLY use raw cane sugar, organic or otherwise. Its grassy flavor adds an unbelievable nuance to anything you’re doing, especially baking.

2 Responses to “Nothing Makes the House Smell Better”

  1. Kathy Kinsley says:

    Hmm- only way I’ve previously found duck edible is Peking duck – but this sounds good.

  2. Dr Alice says:

    Sounds fantastic, but I like my duck well done. (Yes, I know, I’m a Philistine.)

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