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Get yer ducks in a row

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    Get yer ducks in a row

    Hi all,

    yesterday I cooked duck breasts on my grill. I love the game-like flavor of the duck, but I have never done it on my grill, so now was the time! This one turned out incredibly yummy, time to share. This is my interpretation of Duck a l'Orange. It is easy to do, and quick, I think I only had the duck breasts on the grate for about 30 minutes. It turned out so delicious.

    Orange sauce
    6 tablespoons caster sugar
    2 tablespoons water
    2 tablespoons chicken stock (thick, I think the brand Maggi should do here)
    2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
    1/2 cup red wine
    2 oranges
    Cornflour (for thickening)

    Duck breasts
    2 duck breasts
    Lemon pepper (seasoning)

    Making the sauce (do this first, before you start grilling the ducks)
    Put the sugar and water in a pan. Heat it up so it caramelizes (the sugar dissolves completely), but it must not go brown.
    Add the red wine vinegar. Bring it to a boil.
    Add the juice from two oranges, along with the zest. As always, make sure you don’t get the white parts of the orange skin in there, it is very bitter, and will ruin the sauce.
    Let it simmer for 3-5 minutes. Pour everything through a sifter, to get rid of the pulp.
    Put the sauce back in the pan, add the red wine, and let it simmer for another 10-15 minutes.
    Add cornflour/cornstarch to thicken it a bit.

    Grilling the ducks
    Remove the skin (I usually always keep the skin on when frying in a frying pan, but wanted maximum flavor absorption from the charcoal here, so I removed it. You can do it by hand, but may have to assist with a knife).
    Pat them down with some paper, then rub them with lemon pepper (seasoning). That's it.

    I got my big green egg tuned to 250 degrees F. I did not use any wood chips/chunks here. I didn't want to mask the duck flavor. I feel the subtle smoke flavor from the hardwood charcoal is enough on such a quality meat. Put the duck breasts directly on the grate. Run it low n’ slow until their inner temp is 140 deg F (60 deg C). Then I wrapped them in foil, and let them rest 10 minutes, monitoring their temp with my thermapen. Then I sliced them thinly and served. The temp is important here, duck breasts must be a bit pink in the middle. If you overheat them, they become tough and dull. I also skipped the charring, or reverse sear, on this one. That is totally up to your personal preference. They did look nice enough, and I couldn't be bothered to remove the hot plate setter from my egg this time.

    The vegetables (tomato, broccoli, nectarines) on the pictures are from the day before, when I did an all veggie bbq. They made a nice complement to the tender duck.

    Good thing I took the plate picture "before". I love the sweet orange sauce, so I just unloaded it on my plate after taking the photo :-)

    Serve it all up with a pinot noir.

    EDIT: next time I will remove it at 135 deg F ( 58 deg C), and give it a reverse sear. It will look so much nicer. Also, I haven't tried the Maggi stock, as it isn't available in my country, but basically you want a thick, concentrated stock, full of flavor. Beef stock will do well here also.
    Last edited by Henrik; August 10, 2014, 03:28 AM. Reason: Added comment on how to improve.

    VERY Nice. I'll add this to my list for sure Thanks you!


      Question: What is the source of your ducks? I have a freezer with a few ducks from last season that would do justice to your technique. I am glad that you gave your cook temps as you know it is so easy to ruin the lean breast meat of a duck. Thanks for your posting.


        I live in Sweden, so even if I told you I'm afraid it wouldn't be much help :-) I get most game from my dad, who is hunting. The ducks were bought in a store though.

        Regarding your ducks from last season: they are quite lean (as most game meat is), so if I were you I wouldn't wait too long before cooking them. Let me know how when you do, sounds like you have ducks for a proper feast!


          Sweden is a bit off of my travel route. I live in SW Louisiana.

          I often save my ducks by cutting out the breast leaving the breast bone, breast skin and breast feathers intact. This preserves the meat and protects from freezer burn. I'll be trying some of these on my smoker this fall.

          thank you for sharing the recipe!


            Bump. Nice post Henrik, I think I missed this way back.



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