Duck Breasts BBQ’ed on Charcoal

Having searched around for how to treat duck breast on a charcoal bbq I wasn’t really satisfied with any of the possibilities. I wanted to render off the skin fat like I would in cast iron, but also infuse the duck with good ol bbq smoke. I figured that slow smoking would not deal with the skin properly, but direct grilling would likely result in serious flare up as the fat was rendered. So here’s what I did …

Having searched around for how to treat duck breast on a charcoal bbq I wasn’t really satisfied with any of the possibilities. I wanted to render off the skin fat like I would in cast iron, but also infuse the duck with good ol bbq smoke. I figured that slow smoking would not deal with the skin properly, but direct grilling would likely result in serious flare up as the fat was rendered. So here’s what I did …

First I soaked some Jack Daniels smoking chips.

Then I made a marinade from: apple juice, splash of Canadian whiskey, smaller splash of cider vinegar, salt & pepper.

I scored the duck breast skins in diamonds, being very careful not to cut the flesh underneath. I injected each duck breast with the marinade lengthwise, and then allowed them to sit in the marinade in the fridge while I got the BBQ ready.

I got a lumpwood charcoal fire going in the Vision Pro with the lava stone heat diffuser in place. Once everything was up to a reasonable cooking temperature Ilifted the lava stone with a heavy duty oven glove and slid my drained wood chips inside. I then cooked some oiled and seasoned fennel in a veggie tray on the rack (approx 15 mins).

Once that was done I wrapped the fennel in some tin foil to keep it hot, and removed the rack, leaving just the hot lava stone in place. I drained my duck breasts and dried them with some paper towel, then placed them skin side down on the lava stone and shut the lid. The dome thermometer was about 400. Some great smelling smoke soon started coming from the exhaust, but I was confident that there would be no flare up inside as the stone was absorbing the fat.

In the meantime I began a simple cream peppercorn sauce on a gas ring. I first put some Canadian whiskey in a pan and reduced to about half. I added some 35% cream and allowed this to bubble and reduce a bit also. A couple of mins before serving I added a tbsp of cider vinegar, and about 2 tbsp green peppercorns (from a can of good quality French variety).

After around 8 mins I opened the BBQ lid and flipped the breasts. The skin was a beautiful golden brown. I shut the lid again and continued to cook for about 3-4 mins. I removed them to a plate and covered in foil and let them rest for approx 2-3 mins.

I served them uncut with the sauce poured over and the fennel on the side. My wife and I both agreed that this was by far the best duck breast we had ever experienced (and we’ve had a few).

P.S. Next time I will take pictures

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