I think smoked duck is often an under appreciated meat and when you season it up right and cook it on the smoker, it takes on a flavor that is better than turkey or chicken in my opinion.

In this recipe I will show you how easy it is to prepare a duck, dry brine it, season it, cook it up on your smoker and then finish it off with some high heat to render some of that fat in the breast.


Speaking of high heat, I guess you couldn't help but notice that lovely Made In roasting pan above— it's made of blue carbon steel and it's a beauty to behold. It works a lot like cast iron only it conducts heat better and it's quite a bit lighter. Once I get a good seasoning on this thing, it'll have a natural non-stickiness to it.. just another reason to cook something up;-)

I can also see this Made In roasting pan being extremely versatile.. in fact, I've heard that you can lay this roasting pan across two burners and use it as a griddle. I'm going to try that soon with some homemade flapjacks!

I love the fact that I can start using it on the counter, transfer it to the oven or smoker and then bring it right to the table when the food's done!

I love companies that make excellent, well thought out products and Made In has done their homework for sure. Check them out HERE!

=>And, even more exciting news– Made In just launched their Black Fryday sale (see what they did there?) and YOU can get up to 30% off sidewide.


Helpful Information
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Brine Time: 8-12 hours
  • Cook Time: 3-4 hours
  • Smoker Temp: 225°F – 325°F
  • Meat Finish Temp: 165°F
  • Recommended Wood: Cherry/Pecan mix
What You'll Need
Please note that my rubs and barbecue sauce are now available in 2 formats– you can purchase the formulas and make them yourself OR you can buy them already made, in a bottle, ready to use.

Step 1: Butterfly (spatchcock) the Duck

I am going to open this bird up so it will cook faster and more evenly and to do that, we simply need to remove the backbone. Don't worry.. it's very easy.

First let's cut off that annoying long piece of extra skin!

Now, while you have the shears in hand, place the bird breast side down and let's cut along the first side of that backbone. It does not have to be perfect so don't be too concerned that you won't do it right if this is your first time.

Now, spin the bird around and cut along the other side of the backbone removing it entirely.

Flip the bird to skin side up and press down to flatten it out.

The duck is now properly spatchcocked and is ready to be a-salted 😉

Step 2: Dry Brine

To dry brine any poultry or other meat, you simply coat it with a layer of coarse kosher salt at a ratio of approximately ½ teaspoon per pound of meat. I don't necessarily measure since this is not mission critical but I have learned what the right amount looks like and it's never even getting close to being salty. If you want to measure it out, it's not a bad idea.

For a 6 lb duck like this one, you'd need about 3 to 4 teaspoons of coarse kosher salt.

With meat side facing up, sprinkle about 1.5 to 2 teaspoons of coarse kosher salt evenly all over. Leave it in this position for about 5 or 10 minutes or until you see the salt starting to dissolve

Now flip the bird over the skin side up and place it on a rack inside of a cookie sheet or pan. I used a Bradley rack as usual but a cooling rack or even a Weber grill pan would work great.

Sprinkle another 1.5 to 2 teaspoons of coarse kosher salt evenly all over the wings, legs and breast..

Now place the whole pan with the duck into the fridge, uncovered overnight or for 8 to 12 hours.

During this time the salt will draw bird juice to the surface, the salt will dissolve, the salty bird juice will then be absorbed back into the duck. It's that simple.

When the time in the fridge is over, all of the juices that were on the outside will have absorbed and/or drained off into the pan. There is no need to rinse the duck.

Step 3: Season Generously

We have salted the inside of the duck, and now it is time to season the outside. I recommend a seasoning that is low in salt, tastes amazing and works well with duck. If you don't have one that you already love, then I recommend my original rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub). I and many others have been using it for more than a decade and it has stood the test of time.

I took things a step further and not only added my original rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub) all over the duck, both sides, I also applied a light sprinkling of the Texas rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub). Mixing the two rubs together is never a bad idea. If you try it, you'll see what I mean.

Season up the meat side and then do the same thing to the skin side.

Step 4: Smoke Time

Set up your smoker for cooking with indirect heat at about 225°F and if your smoker uses a water pan, fill it up.

Use pecan and cherry wood (or a mix) for smoke

Once your smoker is ready, place the whole pan into the smoker, with the duck skin side up.

As you can see, I'm using the brand new Camp Chef Woodwind WiFi— I wish I could just send all of you one of these to use and you could see why I rave about this thing so much.

Folks, I don't sell products.. I just get excited and tell everyone about the products I love and the products sell themselves.

If you're a salesman and you're not excited about your product, you need to find a new product!

Ok pep talk is over!

Let that duck sail along at about 225°F for around 2 hours to get some good smoke flavor on it before we finish it out with some high heat.

Several times during the cook brush the duck with a mixture of 1 stick of butter and 2 TBS of Jeff's original rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub).

Step 5: Sear the Breast

The duck has a thick layer of fat just under the skin on the breast and that fat needs to render out some. To do that, you really need some high heat.

I have smoked these at lower temperatures and they do fine but they are not as good as they could be.

For this reason, I recommend you get that duck to some high heat, whatever that requires.

First, grab a pair of kitchen shears and make a few snips in the skin over the breast. These are drain holes so the fat can bubble out as it renders (melts).

If you have a smoker that will cook at higher temperatures, I recommend 300-325°F for another hour or so until the duck reaches 150°F in the thickest part of the breast. Then you can flip it over and finish it off over direct flames on the grill or you can leave it skin side up and use the broiler in your oven.

I decided to give it some high heat in the Camp Chef Woodwind WiFi for about an hour along with some apple halves to go with my cranberry sauce.

I only left the apples in there for about 30 minutes brushing them once with some melted butter and a light sprinkle of my original rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub).

I then moved the duck to my new Made In blue carbon steel roaster and put some broiler on it until it reached 165°F.

Step 6: Rest and Serve

When the duck is finished cooking, remove it from the heat and tent some foil over the top for about 15 minutes.

Because it was spatchcocked, this makes it really easy to carve up.

Remove the wings and legs then slowly and carefully remove the breast meat by following right along the breast bone with a very sharp knife. Slice the breast into cutlets and call dinner.

The Cranberry Sauce

For cranberry sauce I make a simple syrup and add 12-16 ounces of fresh cranberries but with this one, I decided to jazz it up and use orange juice for the liquid. If you want to make this recipe like I did, here it is:

  • 1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries

Add all three ingredients to a small sauce pan over medium high heat and bring to a boil. Once it boils reduce the heat to low and let it simmer until it thickens to your liking.

Easy and delicious.

Please note that my rubs and barbecue sauce are now available in 2 formats– you can purchase the formulas and make them yourself OR you can buy them already made, in a bottle, ready to use.

Purchase the Formulas for Jeff's Rub and Sauce
**Instant Download!**
Jeff's Original Rub Recipe
Jeff's Barbecue Sauce

***Note: you get the Texas style rub recipe free with your order!

If I could give these recipes away, I would do that. I really want you to have them! But, then, this is how I support the newsletter, the website and all of the other stuff that we do here to promote the art of smoking meat.

Read these recent testimonies:

I recently purchased both recipes. The files did not come thru right but Jeff was prompt to get it fixed. I tried them both last weekend and they were a huge hit. I followed his burnt ends recipe to the letter and my neighbors thought I was some master chef! Thanks Jeff!  -Susan T.

Your Content Goes Here

Thank you for the great advice. Followed your rib recipe and everyone loved them. Used your rub and sauce. On point!  -Charles W.

Love the sauce and rub recipes. So far I have used them on beef ribs, pork ribs, and different chicken parts. Can't wait to do a beef brisket. Texas rub is great as well!  -Peter S.

Love the original rib rub and sauce! We have an annual rib fest competition at the lake every 4th of July. I will say we have won a great percent of the time over the past 15 years so we are not novices by any means. However, we didn't win last year and had to step up our game! We used Jeff's rub and sauce (sauce on the side) and it was a landslide win for us this year! Thanks Jeff for the great recipes. I'm looking forward to trying the Texas style rub in the near future!  -Michelle M.

I tried the rub on a beef brisket and some beef ribs the other day and our entire family enjoyed it tremendously. I also made a batch of the barbeque sauce that we used on the brisket as well as some chicken. We all agreed it was the best sauce we have had in a while.  -Darwyn B.

You see the raving testimonies and you wonder, “Can the recipes really be that good?”

No worries! Make up a batch and if it's not as good as you've heard.. simply ask for a refund. Now that's a bargain and you know it. Let's review:

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Jeff's Smoking Meat Book

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With more than 900 reviews on Amazon.com and a rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars, it comes highly recommended.

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Printable Recipe

How to Dry Brine and Smoke a Duck

In this recipe I will show you how easy it is to prepare a duck, dry brine it, season it, cook it up on your smoker and then finish it off with some high heat to render some of that fat in the breast.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time4 hrs
Brine Time12 hrs
Total Time16 hrs 15 mins
Course: Entree, Main
Cuisine: Barbecue

Ingredients

  • 1 or more ducks (mine was 6 lbs)
  • 4 tsp Coarse kosher salt
  • Jeff's original rub
  • Jeff's Texas style rub
  • ¼ lb butter (1 stick)

Instructions

Step 1: Butterfly (spatchcock) the Duck

  • First let's cut off that annoying long piece of extra skin!
  • Cut along both side of the backbone to remove it.
  • Flip the bird over and press down to flatten it out.

Step 2: Dry Brine

  • With meat side facing up, sprinkle about 1.5 to 2 teaspoons of coarse kosher salt evenly all over. Leave it in this position for about 5 or 10 minutes or until you see the salt starting to dissolve
  • Now flip the bird over the skin side up and place it on a rack inside of a cookie sheet or pan. I used a Bradley rack as usual but a cooling rack or even a Weber grill pan would work great.
  • Sprinkle another 1.5 to 2 teaspoons of coarse kosher salt evenly all over the wings, legs and breast..
  • Now place the whole pan with the duck into the fridge, uncovered overnight or for 8 to 12 hours.
  • There is no need to rinse the duck after brining.

Step 3: Season Generously

  • Apply my original rub all over the duck, both sides. Then apply a light sprinkling of the Texas rub.

Step 4: Smoke Time

  • Set up your smoker for cooking with indirect heat at about 225°F and if your smoker uses a water pan, fill it up.
  • Use pecan and cherry wood (or a mix) for smoke
  • Once your smoker is ready, place the whole pan into the smoker, with the duck skin side up.
  • Let the duck cook at 225°F for 2 hours for some good smoke flavor.
  • Several times during the cook brush the duck with a mixture of 1 stick of butter and 2 TBS of Jeff's original rub.

Step 5: Sear the Breast

  • Using kitchen shears, make a few snips in the skin over the breast. These are drain holes so the fat can bubble out as it renders.
  • If you have a smoker that will cook at higher temperatures, I recommend turning up the heat to 325°F for about an hour or until it reaches 150°F in the thickest part of the breast. Then you can flip it over and finish it off over a direct flames on the grill or you can leave it skin side up and use the broiler in your oven.
  • If your smoker will not cook this hot, consider moving the pan with the duck to the oven at 325°F for about an hour or until it reaches 150°F in the thickest part of the breast. Then you can finish using the broiler in your oven.

Step 6: Rest and Serve

  • When the duck is finished cooking, remove it from the heat and tent some foil over the top for about 15 minutes.
  • Remove the wings and legs then slowly and carefully remove the breast meat by following right along the breast bone with a very sharp knife. Slice the breast into cutlets and call dinner.

The Cranberry Sauce

  • For cranberry sauce, Add1 cup of orange juice, 1 cup of granulated sugar and 12 ounces of fresh cranberries to a small sauce pan over medium high heat and bring to a boil. Once it boils reduce the heat to low and let it simmer until it thickens to your liking.
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