Serious Eats

Grilling: Duck Pastrami

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[ Photographs: Joshua Bousel ]

With St. Patrick's Day coming up, I had the American tradition of corned beef on the brain, which made me think of other cured meats. For example, brisket done as pastrami and Montreal smoked meat.

Since my process for pastrami is already good, I kept things fairly similar for this duck pastrami, only adjusting amounts of the dry cure and the curing time to fit the much smaller duck breasts, plus the addition of juniper berries in both the cure and rub. This had the breasts curing for three days in the fridge, soaked to remove some saltiness afterward, then rubbed and smoked until just cooked through.

Straight of the smoker, the thick layer of duck fat was incredibly luscious, and I found myself pulling it off and enjoying the salty, rich fat on its own. The meat pretty much tasted like pastrami should, except being ducky rather than beefy. More delicate in flavor than beef brisket, I enjoyed this duck pastrami the most on its own—just slice and eat—but it did just as well piled onto rye with swiss and a slather of mustard.

About the author: Joshua Bousel brings you new, tasty condiment each Wednesday and a recipe for weekend grilling every Friday. He also writes about grilling and barbecue on his blog The Meatwave whenever he can be pulled away from his grill.

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