This week on Good Food, Duck Duck Goose author Hank Shaw returns to give us a lesson in duck charcuterie.
There is a long tradition of curing and smoking waterfowl, some of it developed by kosher-observant European Jews. Duck sausage is also popular in China.
Shaw says that the process for curing and smoking duck is largely similar to working with pork.
A dehydrator is useful for making this Duck Jerky, but you can also dry the meat in a warm oven or on the crackling backseat of a car during the summer.
(Reprinted with permission from Duck, Duck, Goose by Hank Shaw, copyright (c) 2013. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Penguin Random House, Inc.)
Makes about 1½ pounds
Prep Time: 24 to 48 hours
Cook Time: 6 to 8 hours
Who doesn’t love jerky? It is a staple in the duck blind and on a road trip, and it is the perfect use for “off ” birds like spoonies, fishy divers, or snow geese. Once the fat is removed, there’s no fishy flavor. If you’re not a hunter, duck jerky makes a cool addition to a charcuterie plate.
This recipe makes a jerky that is dry enough to store at room temperature—although the fridge is best for really long storage—but pliable enough to keep it meaty.
I designed this recipe for a dehydrator, but if you don’t have one, you can dehydrate it in your oven set to warm. Another option is to use the inside of your car in summer. I’ve done this when the temperatures get beyond 100°F, which is often in Sacramento. Works like a charm.
The porcini powder is made by grinding dried porcini (available in most supermarkets) in a spice grinder or coffee grinder.
3 pounds defatted skinless duck or goose breasts
2 cups water
½ cup Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons (1½ ounces or 40 grams) kosher salt
Heaping ½ teaspoon (4 grams) Insta Cure No. 1 (optional)
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper or hot paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon porcini powder
Slice the breasts into strips about ¼ inch wide. In a large bowl, combine the water, Worcestershire sauce, kosher salt, curing salt, sugar, cayenne, garlic powder,thyme, and porcini powder and mix well.
Put the meat strips into the marinade and massage them well to to coat evenly. Pour everything into a zipper-top bag or nonreactive container, close tightly, and put in the fridge.
Let the meat cure for at least 24 and up to 48 hours. The longer the meat is in the mix, the saltier it will be, and the longer it will keep at room temperature. During the marinating process, massage the meat with the marinade every now and again to keep all the pieces in contact with the liquid.
Remove the meat from the bag and pat dry with paper towels. If you have a dehydrator, follow the instructions that came with it for making jerky (I dehydrate mine at 130°F). If you do not have a dehydrator, lay the strips on a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet to catch the drippings, and put the baking sheet in the oven. Turn the oven on to the warm setting and leave the meat in the oven for 6 to 8 hours, until it is dried out but still pliable. I leave the oven door ajar for air circulation.
Store the jerky in the fridge indefinitely, or at room temperature for up to 1 month.