First things first, you need to dry brine your duck for at least 5 hours, I prefer to do this the night before.
This particular dry brine uses many herbs and spices to compliment the ingredients, and flavors found in Gruit.
• ½ c kosher salt
• ½ c brown sugar
• ¼ tsp ground clove
• ½ tsp ground cinnamon
• ½ tsp anise seed
• ½ tsp chili powder (Penzey’s Chili 3000 is the best!)
• 1 tsp ground pepper
• 4 mint leaves coarsely chopped
• 1 whole peel of sweet citrus (orange, tangerine etc) coarsely chopped.
Rub the brine inside and out, put it in a sealed container and let it rest. *If you purchased a whole duck with organs, set the heart and liver aside. These make excellent additions to your stuffing!
• 8x8 pan of your favorite baked cornbread (I use Jiffy, but it really doesn’t matter)
• 1 bosc, or d’anjou pear peeled and diced
• 2 small leeks, pale green, and white parts only diced
• 2 large ribs of celery chopped
• 1 German sausage casing removed, plus the duck liver and heart minced (optional)
• 1 tbsp butter
• ¼ milk
• 1+ cup of chicken stock (you may need more to get it nice and moist)
Sautee the butter, sausage, liver, heart, leeks, celery, and pear for about 5 minutes. In a large bowl mix all ingredients together adding the liquid slowly until well combined. Salt and pepper as desired. Stuff your duck, and set the rest of the stuffing aside to bake. I will usually put the rest of the stuffing in a covered baking dish and put it in the oven for about 3 hours at 225F, this way it’s ready at the same time as the duck!
Now you’re ready to smoke! Tie the legs together with cooking twine, and fold the wings behind the body. This is a slow, and low process. Most store bought ducks are about 2-3 lbs, and will require about 3-4 hours on the smoker. I put water soaked apple wood chips wrapped loosely in foil under the coals, but you can use whatever wood you like. Make sure you have a water pan in the smoker, and check it periodically to make sure it’s full. Aim for a core temp of 170F.
Duck is a very rich meat, and very much enjoys a touch of sweet on the side. I came up with a sweet elderberry sauce to compliment this
• ½ c dried elderberries soaked in ½ c warm water for about 1 hour, mashed and strained
• ½ c Gruit. This is a fantastic way to tie the meal together. I put beer in everything!
• ¼ c sugar
• 1 whole allspice berry
• 2 whole cloves
Reduce the sauce in a double boiler for about an hour, or until you achieve the desired consistency. Remove the allspice, and clove. Serve as a garnish.
Now for some sides! Because it’s Spring, and so many beautiful edible flowers are in bloom I decided to make a wilted dandelion, and swiss chard salad with calendula petals.
• 1 bunch of dandelion greens
• 1 bunch of swiss chard
• Crisp crumbled bacon about 2 strips worth
• Petals from 1 calendula flower (WARNING: not all calendulas are edible! I use the organic bon bon variety, be sure you know what you’re buying/growing. There are many edible flower guides online)
• Thinly sliced pear fried in the leftover bacon grease as a garnishment (optional)
Boil the greens in heavily salted water for about 3-5 minutes. Transfer the greens to salted iced water (this keeps them bright green, and stops the cooking). Sprinkle the flower petals, and bacon on top. Garnish with pear. Enjoy!
Slice your duck, invite some friends over, open up a Gruit, and let the good times roll!
Original Recipe by Stacey Dwyer
Photography by Dawn Minenna