To prepare this Cold Smoked Duck Breasts Recipe, you should remove the skin and bones from the duck breasts. If you are only going to smoke it for an hour or two, you may not need to cure it. A simple basic salt brine will work. If you are going to cold smoke for a longer period of time, for duck or any poultry, you may be better off with a brine cure (pickle), than using the dry cure method. I generally start with a basic brine cure, and add various flavors. If you need less you can half or quarter the recipe.
12 duck breasts
Basic Brine Cure
1 gal. Water
12 oz. Pickling salt (or 1.5 cups of Morton kosher salt)
1/2 c. Sugar (or maple syrup or brown sugar)
1.5 oz. InstaCure #1 (about 8 teaspoons)
A gallon will be enough to cure about 12 duck breasts.
- Add all ingredients except InstaCure in a nonreactive pot (stainless steel, or porcelain lined) with one quart of water.
- Bring water to a boil, reduce heat, simmer, and stir until all ingredients are dissolved.
- Remove from heat and add 3 quarts of cold water to the mixture and add InstaCure, stirring until fully dissolved.
- Pour into a nonreactive container (stainless steel, plastic, or glass) that is large enough to hold the brine plus the duck breast.
- Do not place the duck into the brine at this time.
- Refrigerate and chill the brine until the brine is 38°F – 40°F. You can use ice instead of cold water. One pound of ice equals one pint of water.
- Once brine has cooled, place the breast into the brine, making sure they are all fully submerge.
- You may have to use a plate on top of them to keep them submerged.
- Cure times are generally calculated by thickness of the cut of meat. For duck breast you should cure for 8-12 hours.
- After removing the breast from the brine, rinse each breast under cold water.
- Place them on a rack and air dry, uncovered in a refrigerator for 8-12 hour, or until they become tacky to the touch.
- If you are cold smoking, keep the smoker under 90°F. I wouldn’t apply no more then 4-6 briquettes.