For all of you out there who claim to not like duck, our latest recipe for coffee and cocoa crusted smoked duck breast with balsamic and wild cherry reduction is set to take your tastes hostage.
Not only does the seemingly odd coffee and cocoa combination in the rub act as a perfect bold compliment to the smokey meat, the sauce adds just the right amount of sweetness and tang to take an already perfect product from Maple Leaf Farms over the top.
COFFEE & COCOA CRUSTED SMOKED DUCK BREAST WITH BALSAMIC-CHERRY REDUCTION
1/2 cup dried tart cherries
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tbsp. finely ground coffee (you can really take it over the top with smoked coffee!)
1 tbsp. cocoa powder
1 tbsp. Domino pourable brown sugar
1/2 tbsp. Kosher salt
1/4 tsp. ancho chile powder
2 (7.5 oz) all natural Maple Leaf Farms boneless duck breasts
Cast iron skillet
Prepare grill for 2-zone cooking, placing pre-heated Kingsford charcoal briquets on one side of the charcoal grate to create a hot and a cool side. Replace the main cooking grate and close the bottom vents.
Place a small saucepan on the hot side of the grill and add the cherries, balsamic vinegar, and orange juice to the saucepan. Allow the mixture to simmer for approximately 10 minutes until reduced by 2/3. Remove and set aside.
Add 3-4 chunks of your favorite smoking wood to the charcoal, cover the grill and adjust the bottom vents to bring the temperature to 250 degrees.
As the grill comes to temperature, combine the coffee, cocoa powder, brown sugar, salt, and ancho chile powder in a small bowl and blend well.
Using a sharp paring knife, make 3-4 vertical and horizontal cuts through the fat side of the duck to make a crosshatch pattern, being careful not to cut into the meat. Season both sides of the duck breasts liberally with the coffee and cocoa dry rub. Set a cast iron skillet on the hot side of the grill and place the duck breasts on the cool side of the grill. Cover the grill and allow the duck breasts to smoke until they reach an internal temperature of 115 degrees, approximately 20 minutes.
Once the duck reaches 115 degrees move them to the cast iron skillet fat side down. Allow the duck to cook until most of the fat has rendered and is crisp, approximately 3-4 minutes. Turn the duck and cook for another 2-3 minutes until it reaches an internal temperature of 130 degrees for medium-rare.
Remove the duck from the skillet and set on a cutting board skin side up. Remove the skillet from the grill and set the saucepan with the balsamic-cherry reduction back on the grill to warm as the duck rests.
Once the duck has rested for 5 minutes, slice it and serve along with the balsamic-cherry reduction.