Cold Smoked Duck Breast
With this recipe I think I have discovered something new about cold smoking. I have always liked it and in this same blog you can find many other inspirations for the grill realized with this techniques. I realized this way the same duck breast many time as it was a cold smoked salmon but today i water to try something new. The idea came to me finding on the net a recipe for curing at home a Duck Ham, a duck breast left in dry brining and then aged for about a week in a maturing cell. Nice but I can not take on a dry brine and then not go on with a cold smoking. I can’t do it, a smoking process there has to be! It was so in mind to achieve a Speck of duck.
I read up a little bit and it turns out that the smoking process of the original South Tyrolean Speck is clearly different than that for example, of the cold smoked salmon. In the first case the smoking process is not continuous but it cyclically open and close the the smoking rooms so to left to the Speck “breathe” the pure air of the Dolomites for an equal period and then resume the process.
Ok, I try to combine the two concepts and to design the preparation. I decide to use with the Duck Breast a dry brining, which is similar to some extent that of the Speck, with fresh herbs, juniper berries and spices but also to keep light with the timing: I do not have a cell, so my Duck Speck will ripen in the fridge, which surely will tend to dehydrate more. So I do not want dry brining to take him off an excessive amount of water. I will then rehydrate the duck breast in the fridge as we saw for the Cold Smoked Salmon and I will proceed then with two smoking cycles, alternating with two break at room temperature during the day, followed by continuing smoking overnight to complete the time of 24 hours. The air of Sesto Calende is not that of the Dolomites, but we’ll make it go right the same. All of this followed by a rest period of one week. Okay, I’d say we are. Let’s start!
Ingredients (per 6 people):
1 Duck Breast
150 gr. Coarse Salt
150 gr. Brown Sugar
2 sprigs of Rosemary
3 Juniper berries
3 smashed Garlic cloves
1 spoon of Black Pepper
1 gr. Instacure #1
1 Glass of E.V. Olive Oil
1 coffee cup of Worcestershire Sauce
- As first I trim the duck breast. Everyone is free to do this the way they fit: removed the various membranes, the goal becomes merely aesthetic, due to the integrity of the final desired slice. Personally I like to trim off more excess parts as possible, keeping it without nor any internal ribbing, neither separation areas. Then I prepare the dry brine by combining all ingredients and mixing them with a spoon. The Duck Breast is small and should be fully submerged by dry brining. For this purpose, I finally found a sense of ovoid steaming container included into the box of the microwave purchased at the time of my marriage, and that seems natural for this preparation. I leave the duck breast into the brine, in the refrigerator for 24 h.
- Ended the period in dry brining, the Duck Breast appears much darker and “hard”. Proceed to rinse it in water and to clean the container. If you remember the aforementioned recipe for salmon, you know that I love to “revive” the meat after dry brining, sprinkling with a fat slimy matter. In that case we had done a little bit more complex, this time let’s simply use E.V. Oil and Worcestershire sauce, well mixed. I generously brush it, I put in the container, close the lid and put it back in the fridge.
- After another 24 h we are finally ready for the smoking process. I equip with my spiral for cold smoking process, filling it with oak dust, start burning with a torch and put it together with the breast of duck in a WSM37 from 9.00 to 12.00. When I go taking it out I begin to understand why of these breaks: although smoking temperatures are below that of the protein coagulation, the duck breast is lukewarm. When i’m going to put it back into the smoker it will be definitely cooled down. I leave it to rest in the open container, protected by a net, from 12.00 to 15.00. Following, a further phase of smoking from 15.00 to 18.00 and then a break again from 18.00 to 21.00. I leave then the duck breast in the smoker for the remaining overnight hours.
- After the phase of the smoking, it would be the turn of maturation in the cell. In Duck Ham recipe , they wrap the breast with a special seasoning net that is also used for some cheese. I do not have it, as I do not have a cell. So I decided to use a sterile bandage with a rather thick texture I had at home, wrap the chest in a double layer and let it sit in the container, into the refrigerator for a week. During this time, to prevent the refrigerator to dry excessively my Duck Speck, I alternated the days when I closed the lid of the box to those in which I took it off.
- When I proceed to taste it, the result is amazing: the gauze stinks like an ashtray, while Speck has an astounding delicacy with a soft and mellow smoky note, unlike any cold smoking process done previously. Here we are facing a real cured meat feeling, simply delicious.
After I do not know how many years, and we can say by chance, I met a new way of cold-smoking meat and I think I won’t cold smoke the duck breast anymore the way I did before. It is just a different result, for which thousands of applications is coming to my mind, from Slinzega to Moccetta.
And you, which preparation would you think it works well with this?