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Smoked Duck Breast with Jalapeno Glaze

Although you can smoke this on an outdoor smoker, the first time I did this I used a stovetop smoker–essentially a big pan with a rack inside and a cover. You put very fine wood chips (almost sawdust) in the bottom, put the duck (or whatever) on the rack, close to top, and place the whole shooting match atop a burner. Amazingly, it does the job in just about ten minutes. (This is essentially the technique Chinese restaurants use with things like tea leaves as the smoke source.) The best wood to use for smoking this are fruitwoods, especially apple and cherry. Pecan shells work well, too.

This is a great appetizer for meals in which seafood will be the main course. It’s also an exciting part of a Thanksgiving buffet.

Smoked duck breast.

  • Brine:
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 gallon water
  • 4 duck breasts, skin on
  • 2 Tbs. orange marmalade
  • 1/2 cup highly-reduced chicken or duck stock
  • 1 Tbs. Tabasco jalapeno sauce
  • 2 oz. Cointreau, Grand Marnier or triple sec liqueur
  • 1/2 cup orange juice, strained
  • 1/8 tsp. salt

1. Brine the duck breasts in the refrigerator, for four to eight hours in the brine solution. Afterwards, dump the brine and rinse the duck breasts well.

2. Using an outdoor cold smoker at about 100 degrees, smoke the duck breasts for 30-45 minutes. Or use a stovetop smoker.

3. Combine all ingredients except the duck breast in a small saucepan over medium low heat. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer until thick enough to remain in an upside-down spoon for a second or two.

4. Brush the duck breast lightly with the sauce. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Roast in a preheated 450-degree oven until just a blush of pink remains at the center–about 15-20 minutes.

5. Spoon some of the sauce on the plate. When the duck breast is ready, slice it on the bias about 1/4 inch thick. Fan out the slices on the plate and serve.

Serves eight appetizers.

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