I had previously never tried duck. I'd never even considered eating it when seeing it listed on a menu anywhere. I'd been told in the past that it tasted like pure grease, and was not pleasant. Well, I finally decided that I really should try it--especially smoked. I scored a whole duck from a local store during Christmas time last year:
After cleaning the bird, I gathered some ingredients I found in the International section of the store to be used for the marinade:
I also found some locally made orange BBQ sauce:
After tasting the lingonberry concentrate and the bitter orange marinade, I was really excited about the flavor profile this would add to the duck. I mixed the marinade ingredients and vacuum sealed the duck in a food savor bag:
The chicken was marinated for 9 hours, and then left to dry a bit in the fridge for one day:
I wanted the citrus marinade and the flavor of the duck meat to shine through, so I kept the rub simple, just using salt and pepper. I smoked the bird using sugar maple and apple wood chunks, removing it once the breast hit 165 degrees. Now at this point, the BBQ buddy was fairly hungry, and began circling around my feet as I moved about the house. I ended up tripping over him, with the camera in hand. And well, this was the clearest picture I could take of the duck at that point:
I removed and shredded the thigh and leg meat:
I collected and removed the fat dripping off the duck as it cooked, and used it to fry some tater tots:
I piled the shredded duck on a Hawaiian sweet bun, and topped it with the orange BBQ sauce. Dinner was served:
I really should have tried duck sooner. It is absolutely delicious - rich and succulent. The bitter orange and lingonberry marinade went so well with the natural flavor of the duck. The orange BBQ sauce is good enough to eat straight out of the bottle. The notes of citrus, coupled with its spicy and tangy profile, really made it a perfect match for the duck. The duck fat added a richness to the tater tots and they were perfectly crisp little nuggets of potato goodness.
For dessert, I settled on a smoked persimmon strudel. The persimmons were peeled, cubed, mixed with a brown sugar/cinnamon/clove/allspice blend, and tossed onto the smoker:
Fresh off the smoker (all nice and carmelized):
I used phyllo dough basted with maple-cherry smoked butter for the strudel, using a mixture of crushed Biscoff cookies and sugar to top off each phyllo layer:
Dessert is served:
The firm texture of the persimmon really stood up the multiple cooking methods. The smokey, super buttery taste of the crisp phyllo, wrapped around the lightly sweet, carmelized persimmon filling, and the bits of spiced Biscoff cookies, made this a very enjoyable finish to an already delightful meal. Good eats.