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Duck, sort of smoked

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by SunnyDC, Apr 1, 2019.

  1. SunnyDC

    SunnyDC Smoke Blower


    Well, I learned quite a lot over the weekend with this little experiment! First and foremost, though, was that Pops' brine is the BOMB. :) This may have been the best tasting duck I have ever eaten, and I put most of that down to the brine. Even after fighting with the COS in high winds and cold and having to finish this little guy in the oven, I was very, very happy with the results! Meat was tender, juicy, not even remotely dry, and flavorful? Whoa. We snacked on quite a few pieces before I put the carved meat out of temptation's way so there'd be some left for vindaloo!

    The finished vindaloo....


    Now here's a quick rundown of what I did, for those who may be interested. :) I picked up this little guy on Friday morning at Harvey's (a butcher in Union Market in downtown DC). He had them on sale for $4.00/lb. which is pretty impressive for around here at least.


    Almost 5 1/2 lbs., not too shabby! He plumped up quite a bit, too, after 24 hours in Pops' brine https://www.smokingmeatforums.com/threads/pops6927s-wet-curing-brine.110799/ I was out pretty early, and the duck thawed out pretty quickly, so I had it in the brine by mid-morning. I may have dropped a bunch of chicken thighs in some of that brine while I was at it, too... :)

    Saturday was time for rubbing & glazing. First I made a big ol' mess with a bunch of spices.


    Mr. Duck seemed to take well to managerial oversight. Figures; he *did* come from DC. :) I made a big batch of vindaloo-friendly spice rub...

    duck-05 (2).jpg

    I use a mortar & pestle, so there were a lot of nubbins that wouldn't get as fine as I liked, so I sifted it a few times to make a more powdery rub, then saved the extra stuff for making the syrup.

    I rubbed the duck really well, then let him sit in the fridge all flapped out like that for a few hours so he could start drying out. Then I started painting him with the lacquering glaze, which I made from a bit of oyster sauce, some chicken stock, rice syrup, brown sugar, and the un-powdery spice blend... just boiled it until it reduced some, strained, and cooled it.


    Then the annoying/mess part: paint to glaze, put it back in the fridge, wait half an hour, repeat. Over and over again. For hours! Eventually it was really sticky and thick and starting to feel pretty substantial. Left it alone then for about 12 hours to get as dry as it could.

    I didn't get picture of it out on the smoker because it was a two hour fight with charcoal, leaks, wind, cold, and maybe a few choice words bandied about by yours truly. Thankfully, I had had the feeling that I was just NOT going to be able to get the smoker up to 225°...so I had hedged my bets by lighting about 1/3 load of apple pellets in my A-Maze-N maze. But 2 hours in, the IT in the leg was only 129° so I gave up and brought the bird in to finish in the oven. Turned on the convection fan and set the temp at 250° and it only took another hour or so for the breast to hit 135°. I cranked up the oven to 500° and let the skin crisp a little, but not too much -- at this point I just wanted the meat, I knew Justin would gobble up the skin even if it was rubbery (he's Asian; he'll eat anything like that, he says!) and I was just about over this whole endeavor!

    After a good rest (for all concerned), he looked like this:


    I was thrilled that there was at least *some* smoke flavor, and the brine really did make a difference as well, I'm sure. The spice rub imparted some, well, spice of course, but it was pretty much lost on us once we put the meat in the sauce. Tonight I'm going to make a sort of fried rice concoction with the leftover rice & bits of duck with some of the saag stirred in perhaps, as well.

    All in all, I'd say it turned out delicious, though there are a lot of things I will do differently next time. Like, not do it on a day when the wind is 18+ mph and the temperatures dropped back in the 40's before wind chill! And honestly, I swear it would have been better if I had just gone ahead and smoked it in the regular grill with indirect heat... I'm going to have to really fiddle with this COS when the weather finally breaks!!

    Thanks for looking!

    XO Sunny
    PS: The chicken thighs that were done in Pops' brine went onto the grill Saturday night with some more of @bvbull's Pitface BBQ rub and were a huge success as well...
  2. chilerelleno

    chilerelleno Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The duck is gorgeous!
    Looks delicious, nice cook.
  3. SmokinAl

    SmokinAl SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Gosh that duck looks absolutely delicious!
    Nice work & congrats on making the carousel!!!
  4. SunnyDC

    SunnyDC Smoke Blower

    Thank you! :) It was a lot of fun to make (and eat!)

  5. pc farmer

    pc farmer Epic Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    WOW. That looks great. Never had duck before.
  6. SunnyDC

    SunnyDC Smoke Blower

    Duck is (to me) kind of like a cross between dark chicken meat and pork! However you describe it, though, it's very flavorful and succulent when done well. I'm still suspicious that 80% of why this turned out so well is that I used @pops6927 's brine... :)
  7. HalfSmoked

    HalfSmoked Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    There you go again showing off. Fantastic looking bird there gal. A repeat performance would be hard to top this one.

  8. SunnyDC

    SunnyDC Smoke Blower

    Ha! You guys are responsible for all my shenanigans, now... you got me hooked! :) But thank you! :)
  9. HalfSmoked

    HalfSmoked Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Just wait ill you comeback from the gathering.

  10. indaswamp

    indaswamp Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I've never herd of vindaloo (Know a few Linda Lou's though <wink>).... but it looks delicious! And that duck is awesome with that glaze! Nice job!
    SunnyDC likes this.
  11. uncle eddie

    uncle eddie Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I am always looking for duck ideas...yours looks great! Like!
    SunnyDC likes this.
  12. nanuk

    nanuk Smoking Fanatic ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    That really is dedication!
    Hours and hours of painting a glaze? Wow!

    BUT the return looks DELICIOUS and if it tastes as good as it looks, then BINGO!

    Thanks for sharing and congrats on the carousel!
  13. motocrash

    motocrash Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Your duck looks quacking great!
    Sounds and looks like it was a marathon with excellent results.
  14. gmc2003

    gmc2003 Legendary Pitmaster OTBS Member

    I don't think I've ever seen Daffy look so good, and your patience is a virtue. Nicely Done.

    Point for sure
  15. SunnyDC

    SunnyDC Smoke Blower

    Oof, I probably won't be able to eat for a month, considering how much food there is liable to be... and I'll want to try it all! :)
  16. SunnyDC

    SunnyDC Smoke Blower

    I should hereafter refer to this dish as Linda Lou's Vindaloo!! :)
  17. SunnyDC

    SunnyDC Smoke Blower

    Well, to be fair... it only takes a minute or two to paint on some glaze, then stick it back in the fridge. I had a bunch of other things I was trying to do while limping around on this walking cast (broke my little toe!) so I just set the timer and popped back into the kitchen every half hour or so. But it was hard to wait until the next day to cook it, after babying it all day long!

    Thanks for all the encouraging comments!
  18. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    Sorry I’m so late, but that Duck looks Beautiful, Sunny!!
    Nice Job!!

  19. SunnyDC

    SunnyDC Smoke Blower

    You are always so sweet. Thank you so much!
    Bearcarver likes this.
  20. HalfSmoked

    HalfSmoked Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    That Bear is just getting up from hibernation. Not fully awake yet. :emoji_laughing: