Brining A Duck?

As is my wont, I will be roasting ducks for Thanksgiving. The turkey is being dealt with by my sister and her life partner, and she has caught brining fever, no doubt from me. But brining a turkey simply makes it palatable. I have no interest in food whose claim to fame is that it doesn’t make me nauseous. The problem is that I am roasting three ducks, and maybe a little variety would be interesting. But brining? Who knows? It may be vile, or fine, or (and I am hoping for this result) the most magnificent bird ever roasted in the history of roasted birds, just like the kiss in Princess Bride. The typical ratio of salt and sugar to liquid is 16:1 in most recipes for turkey and chicken, although, not surprisingly, I have not found an interesting (most seem to be for barbecuing) brined duck recipe. This is half the concentration that I use on pork, which may or may not make sense. I’ll tell you next Friday.

P.S. Cooks Illustrated says that duck does not benefit from brining. The gauntlet has been thrown down!

And here is the result!

6 Replies to “Brining A Duck?”

  1. where are you getting your ducks? i do love to brine. i brine most things. shrimp, chicken, turkey, i supposed i’d brine a squab if i were ever to cook one, all kindza pork. haven’t made duck in years though, and would probably try to brine it if i did. but now i get to hear about your results.this year it’s a heritage bird for us. no brining. no deep frying. right in the oven. fingers crossed.

  2. I have had excellent results with the ducks I buy at The Goffle Road Poultry Farm. They are nicely sized, not too fatty, and you can’t get much fresher. Speaking of brine, we have a good friend who is an accomplished professional chef (at least he used to be). For her birthday he gave my wife a gift of a bird dinner, which we enjoyed on Saturday night. He brined the tuna steak for the appetizer! And it was the best tuna I have ever had. I’m going to beg for the recipe.As for turkey? I just can’t get too excited. I have had them all, and even shot a fat wild turkey once just to see if it was that much better. It was good, but I’ll take duck or even an excellent chicken any day.

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