for the walking bird day, we'll be smoking a bird, frying a bird, probably smoking a shoulder too. Without getting out of hand, would a smoked duck or a smoked goose be better? Maybe we''ll just do the fried bird, smoked shoulder and smoked goose/duck.
thanks in advance,
PS> Would you brine the duck/goose?
I don't know the people numbers, but you might consider not doing a whole duck/goose, but a couple (or more) of duck breasts. I've been doing these for a while, and served sliced thin with the crispy skin & fat intact, they go over really, really big as finger food/appetizers.
I've brined, not brined, dry rubbed... several combinations. Brining is tricky - my personal experience is that the brined meat turns to mush. That's ok for some things (smoked fish) but others need a good touch to get it so that it retains moisture and flavor (the alleged purpose of brining) but doesn't make the meat a uniform, no-grained texture. I guess I like my meat to bite back a little.
I also found that wild (Muscovy) ducks are very different from the common farmed raised ones - I haven't had much luck with the wild ones. The gaminess really needs another treatment that I don't know how to do - smoking by itself actually intensifies that gaminess and does nothing to enhance the flavor.
Try a couple of duck breasts ahead - dry rub and smoke (skin up - a water pan is good to have to catch the fat)- at 175-200, but not too much - they are best when still pink. If you need to crisp up the skin, put it in a hot pan, skin down (this will render a lot of fat that didn't come out during the smoking process), but once again, don't overcook.
Let cool, slice thinly across and serve plain.
Super 88 in Allston has duck breasts and duck legs in the frozen section opposite the butcher *most* of the time. They are a bit on the small side but very tasty and relatively reasonable. Wilson Farms (Lexington) has *fabulous* but expensive duck breasts packed two whole breasts to the package -- it doesn't say what kind they are but I think they are Long Island. Whole Foods Fresh Pond usually has muscovy duck breasts (which are great sauteed) although I gather Applehome doesn't think they are good for smoking.