A First for Me!
I have eaten Confit de Canard before but have never cooked it. I had quite a few choices for the F1 Cook for France, but the process involved in preparing and cooking the duck really appealed. It basically was done in 3 stages:
- Curing the duck
- Cooking the duck in duck fat
- Crisping up the skin on the BBQ
The challenge here was figuring out exactly how I would do it on the BBQ.
Preparation and Cook
I ordered two duck legs from The Dorset Meat Company. They work with 20 small, family-run farms based in Dorset and Wiltshire that produce really wholesome, natural meat. Everything I have had from them has been spot-on!
The first stage of the process is to cure the duck. I read a few different recipes and they recommended anything from 12-48 hours. I ended up going for a 36-hour cure.
After curing and then washing off the cure the next step was to cook the legs in duck fat. This was the first part of the cook on the SNS Kettle Grill. I was going to use my dutch oven but I was worried it was a little too big so just did it in a standard oven casserole dish. The duck ends up submerged in the duck fat. The challenge here is to keep the duck fat at a steady temperature (100°C). I did sit next to the BBQ and had to constantly adjust the temperature of the BBQ to keep the temperature of the duck fat reasonably stable. It took a bit of effort but I really enjoyed playing around with the vents. The SNS did a great job here.
Once you have cooked the duck, you can allow it to cool and (apparently) it will keep for weeks in the fridge. However, my third stage was to remove it from the duck fat, pat it dry and then cook it in the Petromax Iron Skillet to crisp up the skin.
This was by far the best dish I have cooked in 2021! I could not have wanted it to come out any better. It takes a fair bit of prep and the second stage of cooking takes a bit of looking after but it was so worth it. The duck was so tender and just came away from the bone. The taste was immense and went so well with the duck fat potatoes. This is definitely a winning dish and one that I am glad I have added to my repertoire.
Confit de Canard
- Dutch Oven / Casserole Dish
- Kettle BBQ
- Cast-iron Skillet
- Food Thermometer
- Food Processor
- 2 Duck Legs (Free Range)
- 2 tbsp Sea Salt
- 3 Shallots
- ½ Onion
- 3 Garlic Cloves (crushed)
- 30 g Flat Leaf Parsley
- 10 Sprigs Thyme
- 1 litre Duck Fat
- 3 Bay Leaves
- Pat the duck legs dry with some kitchen roll, then sprinkle the duck legs on both sides with the sea salt.
- Combine the Shallots, Onion, Garlic, 6 sprigs of Thyme and Parsley in a food processor bowl and pulse until the ingredients are finely chopped.
- In a bowl, add half of the mixture and spread across the base. Add the duck and then spread the remainder of the mixture over the duck. Cover with clingfilm, then place in the fridge for 24-36 hours.
- When you want to cook the duck, remove from the fridge and wash the curing mixture off the duck before patting it dry. Place to one-side whilst you prepare your BBQ.
- You want to set your BBQ up with 2 zones but also need to make sure you keep the temperature fairly low. For the cook I kept the temperature between 120°C and 150°C. The important thing here is not so much the temperature of the BBQ but keeping the duck fat temperature at 100°C.
- Once your BBQ is ready to cook on, pour the duck fat into the casserole dish with the Bay Leaves and 4 spring of Thyme. Place onto the indirect side of the BBQ. Do not add a lid to the casserole but place a lid on the BBQ.
- Once the duck fat had fully melted, place the duck legs into the fat. They should be fully submerged in the fat. At this stage add the thermometer to the duck fat, so you can monitor the temperature. You want to maintain it at 100°C.
- After 2½ hours remove the duck from the duck fat. Place them onto a plate with kitchen roll and pat them dry.
- Next, heat a skillet on the BBQ and place the duck legs skin side down until the skin crisps up – 5 to 10 minutes.
- Remove the duck legs from the skillet and serve with duck potatoes.