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Jan 28, 2011 06:17 AM

Brine duck breast?

Would a duck breast benefit from being brined in salt/sugar like chicken? I know for sure it works for chicken (count how many I've overbrined!) but somehow it seems as silly as brining a steak in the case of duck.

Any suggestions?

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  1. We don't brine food in the UK so I don't really know what benefit is intended by the process. From what you've written, I'm presuming that you soak your chicken in a sweet brine? Presumably you enjoy whatever effect that gives you and I would have thought that would also apply to duck. Although as the duck has an inherently richer flavour and fattier texture than chicken, it'd presumably be different.

    1. I am a big fan of brining. I have overbrined twice for chicken. Duck brines extremely well I have found. Breast (on the bone) does well, so I presume a separate duck breast would do quite well. Sugar and salt seems the classic, but watch the overbrining, is my guess. Let me know how it goes.

      We do very well by brining and then "home-smoking". By that, our weber grill is great for smoking. We use soaked hardwood and put it right in the coals. THe better coals or the real ones made of hickory, oak or some other hardwood rather than the bricquets. They burn much hotter and the taste they themselves impart is nice. Let me know how the duck breasts brine, would you?

      1. i am not a fan of wet-brining at all, but when i have the time, will dry-brine any bird i do, i have great results with this for duck.

        3 Replies
        1. re: hotoynoodle

          How does "dry brining" work? Can you say a little bit about that? Also, what is it you don't like about wet-brining?

          1. re: foodlovergeneral

            dry-brining is a misnomer and as a word-nerd it ruffles me, but it seems to have caught on, lol. it's really just applying a spice/herb/salt mix to the surface of whatever, rubbing it in and then air-drying the meat in the fridge for a few days. the flavors get in and the salt helps extract some liquid from the skin, making for a crispier product. with duck, i'd use dry ginger, black pepper, perhaps some allspice, orange or tangerine zest, crushed bay and salt.

            as for wet-brining, it's mostly a hassle as far as space occupied in my fridge and i don' t like the meat texture as much. also more steps needed for crisping the skin.

            1. re: hotoynoodle

              Understood. Dry brining is really just a rub, but for a few days. our friends "wet-brined" then peeled the skin back on a turkey using pushpins in some way. That allowed the skin to airdry for a day, and the result was a crispier jucier turkey. Amazing results she said.

              Duck breast by itself is great, but the meat in Canada/US. is not always so fresh that you have the unique and fresh flavors any more. In other countries, who don't have refrigeration, the meat can be incredibly fresh.

        2. I think duck breast is perfect on its own.

          1. Brining is of little/no use for red meat to be served rare/medium. If you brine beef, lamb, venison, etc., and serve well done, maybe it makes sense to to the same with your duck; otherwise not.

            1 Reply