Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Duck Breasts over Charcoal

Now the clocks have gone forward and we have longer, maybe even sunnier, evening it's time to dust off the outdoor grill and dig out the charcoal - whatever the weather is doing!

Luckily the weather was good this weekend and we were happy staying outside whilst we cooked. Enjoying a glass of wine (or two!) and discussing plans and ideas for the garden this year. I love doing that - the planning - not actually having to do anything yet just talk about it!

Anyway back to the barbi, we decided to cook a couple of duck breasts over some excellent lump wood charcoal and this method of cooking - over indirect heat - gradually melts much of the fat away leaving you with a crisp, not burnt, skin. Because you are cooking over indirect heat and not the actual charcoal the dripping fat doesn't cause flames to flare up, burn the outside of the meat but not actually cook the insides.

This is more of a method that a recipe so I'm just going to talk you through what we did....

First off we prepared the duck breasts. Pat the skins really dry - as dry as you can get them, score and then rub in a juniper and lime seasoning - (recipe here) If you are organised it is best to do this 12 - 24 hours before and leave them uncovered in the fridge but a couple of hours will be fine.

Bring them out of the fridge, cover and leave out in the kitchen to bring the duck breast to room temperature about 30 minutes before cooking.

Preparing the barbecue. We start by lighting a full chimney starter of charcoal. Once the coals are very hot and glowing red with a light ash we remove the chimney and allow the coals to spill around the grill.

To cook these duck breasts, and any meat with a high fat content, the best way is over an indirect heat, we place a cast iron hot plate (one that we removed from an old Jotul wood burner) in the centre of the barbecue and arrange the coals around it. An alternative would be an old roasting pan or even a disposable aluminium tray would work at a push.

When you are ready to cook,- i.e. you can only hold your hand for the count of 5 just above the grid - coat the rack with a little olive oil and then place the duck, skin side down. You want to place the meat directly over the edge of the plate - so the skin is taking as much of the heat as possible without being directly over the coals.

We kept rotating the duck every few minutes for about 10 - 15 minutes. This render the meat by melting most of the fat and makes the skin all crispy. Make sure you keep the duck over the indirect heat whilst doing this.

When the skin is crisp, season the uncooked meat side with a little salt and pepper and then flip the duck over, re oiling the grill if need be - this time you can set the meat directly over the coals.

We like our duck pink so we only cooked them for a further 2-3 minutes. Still keep rotating whilst this side is cooking.

Remove from the heat and allow to rest for about 5 minutes whilst you prepare a salad or char grill some vegetables to serve with it.

 Grilled veg

When you are ready to serve, slice the meat into thick pieces and lay on hot plates.

Hope you all have a great day today
Love Lizx