Every November our little town of Easton Maryland hosts a Waterfowl Festival, dedicated to waterfowl, its art, and its sportsmen. Typically over 20,000 people visit over the weekend, more than our town’s population. Needless to say, geese and duck are popular around here! A great way to prepare duck breast is to cure it, smoke it, and turn it into pastrami.
For this we used 3 store bought Brome Lake duck breasts, weighing about 2 lbs total.
Apply a dry rub cure. For this we used:
- 2 tablespoons Morton’s Tender Quick
- 1 tablespoon course ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon course ground juniper berries
- 1 tablespoon garlic granules
- 1 tablespoon coriander
Put the duck in a plastic bag and stick it in the fridge for 4-7 days, turning every day or so. When ready, rinse off the curing rub and soak the duck in cold water for a half hour or so. Pat dry and apply a rub similar to the cure, minus the Tender Quick and juniper berries. At this point you can prepare the Primo for smoking.
Using apple or cherry wood, target a smoking temp of 250. Smoke until internal temp is 165- the fat will register around 180. Expect this to take 90 to 120 minutes.
A Thermapen is the perfect tool. We are right on the number.
After a short rest the duck pastrami can be served warm.
The texture, smell, and taste of the warm duck fat on the breast make the effort worthwhile- hard to appreciate it from a picture but here is a view of the bottom.
Primo Smoked Duck Breast Pastrami
Here it is sliced while warm – You can also choose to stick the smoked duck breasts in the fridge overnight and then slice very thinly like cold deli pastrami. Use the pastrami for sandwiches or however you see fit, however, we would highly recommend cutting and reserving the fat cap off before slicing if cold.
Here is a cold Duck pastrami breast ready to be sliced thinly
A meat slicer is a handy tool to have here to slice thinly – perfect for sandwiches. You can see we removed and reserved the fat cap.
We cubed the fat cap and rendered it down to cook some Corned Duck Hash!