Smoked Duck Legs in Red Wine Sauce

Duck is amazing. The meat is dark and flavorful, the fat makes some of the best hash browns known to man, the skin crisps in no time flat and is incredibly forgiving and resistant to burns, and I just got a five and a half pound duck at the Asian market for $12. Or, to put it another way, cheaper than ground beef. Anyone who says duck is too expensive is not looking hard enough.

That sauce is really garishly purple. I wasn’t expecting it. I used to refuse to eat oddly colored foods, and I have to admit I was a little concerned about this one. In the end, I wished I had more of it to pour over the asparagus.

Duck Legs in Red Wine Sauce (serves 2)


For the marinade:

2 cups red wine (I used Bogle Syrah. because it was cheap, and we like Bogle generally.)

2 T miso paste

1-2 T mustard (or some mustard powder and a bit of minced garlic)

A great big sprig of fresh rosemary

Duck neck fat (I know, gross, right?)

For the rest:

Legs and wings of one duck

Salt and pepper to taste


Marinate the duck for at least a couple of hours. The best way to do this is probably to throw it in the marinade in the fridge before going to work (or even the night before) so it will have a good long while to soak and you won’t have to eat too late.

It was only coincidence that we ate something so darn pink on Valentine’s day, okay? Once you’re ready to cook, set your smoker up like we talked about before. Turn the stove up to medium and arrange the meat on the rack.

Shut the lid once it starts to smoke and ignore it for half an hour. This is when you make the sauce. I hope you didn’t throw out the marinade, because that’s pretty much what the sauce is. Slash open the skin of the neck flesh to expose the fatty layer and simmer in a small saucepan to render the fat. Discard the rest of the neck flesh, or feed it to the small carnivores. Either way works. Add the rest of the marinade to the saucepan and simmer until it is a consistency that makes you happy. I went for pretty darn thick. It will be purple. This may not make you happy.

Then the giant box-shaped timer in your kitchen will beep, and it’s time to check on the duck.  I had been planning to toss it under the broiler as I did with the chicken, but the skin was already brown and crisp so I just left well enough alone.

Sauce, duck, and vegetable ready to go. I plated the duck and asparagus, poured the sauce over the duck, and we were done. It is worth noting that each duck wing had about a half of a sliver of meat on it. I mean there wasn’t enough meat to feed my fish. It wasn’t worth the effort. But the legs were fantastic. Also, all the fat dripped right into the smoker drip pan and were easily poured into a little jar that is now waiting in my fridge. I look forward to the next time we want hash browns.

As a side note, want to add atmosphere to any dinner? Add a cheese course, or just one cheese. That smoked cheddar complemented the duck wonderfully, and made the whole meal feel a bit fancier for no effort.


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  1. #1 by Ariel on February 16, 2011 - 4:45 PM

    Hey there. So I googled something for you:

    Qǐng zhǎnshǒu yāzi

    • #2 by koshercorvid on February 16, 2011 - 10:55 PM

      Brilliant! Now if only I could pronounce it. Maybe I’ll just print it out and bring it to the store. . .

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