Cider Brined, Apple Smoked Duck Breast

The flavor of smoke pairs well with waterfowl. This smoked duck recipe has been one of my favorites for years. It can be used with the big green heads, tasty teal, or any other waterfowl you may have on hand. Even a domesticated duck from the grocery store.

Apple Smoked Duck Breast, Sliced, On Platter

Smoked Duck Breast Recipe

For this duck recipe, an overnight brining will help keep the meat moist, and will remove a bit of the gamey flavor if you're smoking wild duck breasts.

Remove the bone and skin from the duck breast halves. Rinse well. For the brine, you will need...

  • one quart of apple juice or cider
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt, or 3 Tbs canning salt
  • 1 bay leaf, crushed
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppercorns, cracked

Mix the ingredients, making sure the salt is completely dissolved. This will be enough brine for up to 1 and 1/2 pounds of duck breast halves. Soak the duck in the brine at least two hours, and overnight if possible.

After brining, give the duck a quick rinse and then pat dry with paper towels. Coat each breast half with melted bacon grease.

Duck Breast Meat Is Best When Cooked to Medium Rare

Place the duck breasts into a 225 degree Fahrenheit meat smoker for one or two hours, depending on the size of the breast sections. Use a small amount of apple or pear wood for the smoke.

Duck is ideally eaten medium rare, but if you prefer well done, take them out when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.

This smoked duck recipe goes along well with a wild rice mix and grilled asparagus. If you keep cooking like this, you'll be thought of as a gourmet chef instead of a pitmaster!