At Jack’s Wife Freda we looked for an interesting alternative to bacon, careful not to deprive our customers of a smoky, salty breakfast option. This duck bacon is the result! Duck breasts have a top layer of fat, mimicking the indulgent crispiness of pork belly. Even if you love the pork version, this is a delicious substitute when you’re up for something a little different. The smoking is the trickiest part of the process, though many kitchen stores sell small household smokers that work wonderfully for this. If you are lucky enough to have an outdoor smoker, that is certainly ideal.
New Cookbook: “Jack’s Wife Freda” by Maya and Dean Jankelowitz
New Food: Bacon
Recipe by Julia Jaksic
Yields 4 servings
1⁄4 cup kosher salt
1 teaspoon pink pickling salt
1⁄4 cup light brown sugar
4 thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
1⁄2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
2 duck breasts
2 ounces applewood chips, for smoking
1) In a small bowl, combine the salts, sugar, herbs, and spices; mix thoroughly.
2) Massage the salt mixture into the breasts, making sure to cover them completely. Put the breasts in a zip-top bag, seal, and refrigerate for 12 hours, turning the bag every few hours. As the breasts sit in the cure they will begin to firm slightly. After 12 hours, rinse the breasts and dry well.
3) Smoke the breasts using your smoker’s specifications for 1 hour. Once finished, remove and chill.
4) Slice the duck breasts lengthwise into thin strips. Cook the duck bacon similarly to how you’d cook the pork version, which tastes best browned on each side for a few minutes over medium to high heat in a cast-iron pan.
From “Jack’s Wife Freda: Cooking From New York’s West Village” by Maya and Dean Jankelowitz. Recipes by Julia Jaksic. Published by Blue Rider Press, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © 2016 by NoamBennyLLC