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Smoked wild duck x 50

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A local restaurant has just asked me to smoke wild duck breasts for them and I picked up a batch of 50 from them on Friday. For those who have not smoked duck before I thought it would be a good idea to post up the method. This method can also be used for Chicken.

The duck breasts as they arrived. Luckily they were all ready plucked and the breasts had been removed and trimmed.


6 litres of immersion brine was made. This contained salt at 5.5% w/w, sugar at 2.75% and Nitrite at 150 mg/Kg

  • Water - 6 litres
  • Salt - 316 g
  • Sugar 165 g
  • Cure#1 - 14.5 grams

Because the brine is primarily there to kill the surface bacteria (and not to completely cure the meat) we no not need to take into account the weight of the meat when mixing the brine.


The duck was left in the brine for 3 hours in the fridge


After removing from the brine the duck was rinsed under cold running water.

The duck was then smoked on wire racks at 70 C until the internal temperature reached 61 C (about 4 hours). It was noted when the internal temperature had reached 60 C and an additional 40 minutes of cooking time was added. To Pasteurise the meat at 60 C only requires 32 minutes, but the additional 50% duration gives a good safety margin.

The duck as it was being unloaded from the smoker.


The duck was then chilled to below 8 C within 30 minutes before packing


A duck breast sliced for eating - moist, juicy and smoky



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Because I am using a Pasteurisation method to smoke them, although we know they are safe, the FSA insist on the method being proven safe through lab testing. As soon as the test results have come back in a few days and they can be served in the restaurant I will let you know :thumb1:

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  • 1 year later...

Hi @ Wade, I have been looking at trying to cold smoke a couple of Duck Breasts, there are so many variations and advice given to this. Any experience of doing it by this method? looking at a duck breast once cured and cold smoked can be sliced without cooking.

Was looking at this recipe seems straightforward and a easy one to try, never used PDV Salt before (thought it was for fish ponds) and sold in large quantities, do you think ordinary salt or kosher can be used in its place?

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There are so many different recipes for air drying and cold smoking duck. Unfortunately most of them result in an a product that is so salty that, even in thin slices, I find it unpalatable. The one in your link uses relatively little salt. I have not tried this recipe however I would be worried that the molasses would detract from the flavour of the duck itself. Also, from experience, you will notice little or no difference between using PDV salt against standard cooking salt. PDV salt is used mostly for things like seawater aquariums or salt purified pools and hot tubs - where other trace quantities of impurities will affect animals or degrade chlorine generators. There is nothing to stop you using it but I would not waste my time buying it for curing fish/meat.

One recipe I have used and have enjoyed the final product is one from a book called "Smoking, Curing and Drying" by Turan T. Turan. He sometimes attends the UK BBQ competitions. This method I used is as follows - slightly adapted:

2 x Duck breasts (skin on) each weighing approximately 350 g
50 g sea salt
3 sprigs of thyme
5 Juniper berries
1 Tbsp orange zest

  • Weigh each of the duck breasts.
  • Grind one third of the salt with the thyme and juniper in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Grind to a fine powder. Empty into a bowl and add the remaining salt. Mix well. Separate into 3 piles - 1 x half of the mix and 2 x quarter of the mix.
  • sprinkle a quarter of the mix into the bottom of a non-reactive container. Place the first duck breast skin side down on the cure.
  • Spread half of the mix over the skin sides of both the first fillet and the second. Place the second fillet on top of the first with the skin side up.
  • Sprinkle the remaining cure on top of the skin of the upper fillet.
  • Cover the container with clingfilm and refrigerate.
  • Aster about 18 hours remove the duck fillets and rinse well under cold running water. Pat dry with kitchen towel.
  • Air dry by wrapping in muslin and tying or by using a dry aging bag.
  • Leave to air dry in the refrigerator for 2 weeks - until the weight has reduced by 15-20%

They can then be smoked for 4 hours in the smoker, ensuring that the temperature does not exceed 30 C

Leave wrapped in clingfilm in the fridge for 24 hours before slicing and eating. It will then keep in the fridge for about a week.

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