This easy Smoked Duck Breast combines tender duck with a tasty dry rub that’s then smoked on a pellet grill to impart amazing smoke flavor and aroma, while keeping the meat succulent and moist.
Smoked Duck Breast is an amazing dish to prepare because it’s not your typical smoked meat, so you can venture in another direction and see how well it pays off. Duck is great for a special occasion and it’s quite impressive on the smoker.
But don’t worry about it being difficult. It’s actually very simple to make. All you need is the right pellets or wood chips and you’ve got a culinary masterpiece with a rich smoky flavor.
The breasts are smoked on the pellet grill until tender and succulent on the inside, then they can be seared briefly to create the deliciously crispy skin.
Why Is Duck Breast Great for the Smoker?
Duck is a great choice for smoking on a pellet grill because it has a rich, gamey flavor that pairs well with the smoky flavor imparted by the grill. Additionally, duck is a fatty meat, which means that it can withstand the low and slow cooking process of smoking without drying out.
The fat also helps to keep the meat moist and tender, resulting in a delicious and succulent finished product. Finally, smoking duck on a pellet grill allows you to infuse the meat with a variety of flavors, such as wood smoke, herbs, and spices, making it a versatile and flavorful option for any meal.
Smoking duck breast results in tender, juicy meat with a unique blend of smokiness and the natural flavors of the duck. Smoked duck breast can be enjoyed on its own as a main course or incorporated into various recipes and dishes such as salads or tasty crispy duck tacos.
- Duck breast – You can often find duck in the frozen section of the grocery store, or ask the butcher if you can’t find it.
- Dry Rub – We like to make our own dry rub that we make at home. You can find the recipe here. Or use any dry rub that you really enjoy.
What Temperature Should Duck Breast Be Smoked At?
When smoking duck breast, it’s recommended to smoke it at a temperature of around 225°F. This temperature range allows the duck breast to cook slowly and absorb the smoky flavor while also rendering the fat and achieving a tender texture.
After 60 minutes we then turn the grill up to 450°F to sear the duck until crispy, or until the internal temperature reaches 130°F.
Ninja Woodfire Outdoor Grill
For this recipe, you can also use a Ninja Woodfire Outdoor Grill, which is a new offering from the kitchen appliance brand that makes our beloved favorites, the Ninja MaxXL Air Fryer and the Ninja Creami. The Woodfire Grill is a portable outdoor grill with 7 functions: grill, smoke, air fry, bake, roast, broil, and dehydrate.
Why I Like It
- It imparts an amazing amount of woodfire flavor into the food with just 1/2 cup of pellets.
- It’s incredibly fast and efficient.
- It cooks faster and with more smoker flavor than my full-size smoker – by far.
- There’s no guessing, especially with the built-in temperature probe available on the Pro version.
- The food comes out with a perfect crispy or seared exterior that’s both gorgeous and super tasty.
- It’s very portable and can be set up anywhere on a sturdy surface with a power outlet nearby.
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How to Smoke Duck Breast
Preheat your smoker to 225°F.
Use a sharp knife to lightly score the skin side of the duck breast in a crisscross pattern, being careful not to cut too deep (you should not cut through to the meat).
Season the duck breasts with the dry rub and let sit until the smoker is ready.
Place duck breasts skin side up directly on the smoker grill grates. Insert a digital meat thermometer. Smoke for approximately 60 minutes, until the internal temperature reads 115°F. Remove the duck from the grill.
Turn up the grill temperature to 450°F with a cast iron pan inside, or heat the cast iron pan on the stovetop over high heat until very hot.
Place the duck, skin side down, on the cast iron pan and sear until crispy and the internal temperature reaches 130°F. Cover loosely with foil and allow smoked duck breast to rest for 5 – 10 minutes before slicing.
Additional Helpful Tips
- Choose fresh, high-quality duck breast for the best results. Look for breasts that are well-trimmed, free from excessive fat, and have a deep color.
- Before applying any seasoning or dry rub, make sure to pat the duck breast dry with paper towels. This helps the seasoning adhere better and promotes better browning during smoking.
- Different types of wood chips impart distinct flavors. Experiment with woods like apple, cherry, hickory, or oak to find the flavor profile you enjoy most.
- When ready to serve, slice the smoked duck breast thinly against the grain. This maximizes tenderness and makes for a better-looking presentation.
How to Store
Allow the smoked duck breast to cool down to room temperature after it’s been smoked and served. Place the sliced duck breast in an airtight container or wrap it tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate it within 2 hours of cooking. Store the duck breast in the coldest part of your refrigerator, which is usually the back of the lower shelves. Consume the leftovers within 3 to 4 days.
Skillet or Pan: Place a skillet or pan over low to medium-low heat. Add a touch of oil or butter to prevent sticking. Gently warm the sliced duck breast for a few minutes on each side until heated through. This method helps preserve the texture and moisture of the meat.
Oven: Preheat your oven to a low temperature, around 250°F (120°C). Place the sliced duck breast on an oven-safe dish and cover it with aluminum foil to prevent drying. Heat for about 10-15 minutes or until warmed through.
Microwave: While the microwave is convenient, it can sometimes make the duck breast dry if not reheated properly. If using the microwave, do so in short intervals, using low power settings, and cover the duck with a damp paper towel to help retain moisture.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I prevent the duck breast from drying out?
To prevent dryness, monitor the internal temperature and avoid overcooking. Resting the meat after smoking also helps retain juices.
Can I smoke frozen duck breast?
It’s best to thaw duck breast completely before smoking to ensure even cooking and proper flavor absorption.
Can I freeze leftover smoked duck breast?
Yes, you can freeze leftover smoked duck breast for up to 2-3 months.
What to Serve on the Side
For sides, there is an endless array of salads and veggies that would make a good choice. Here are a few of our favorites:
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Smoked Duck Breast
- 1 Pellet Grill
- Applewood Pellets (or other type)
- 2 duck breasts
- 2 teaspoons (4 g) dry rub see our recipe for all-purpose rub
- Preheat your smoker to 225°F.
- Use a sharp knife to lightly score the skin side of the duck breast in a criss cross pattern, being careful not to cut too deep (you should not cut through to the meat).
- Season the duck breasts with the dry rub and let sit until the smoker is ready.
- Place duck breasts skin side up directly on the smoker grill grates. Insert a digital meat thermometer. Smoke for approximately 60 minutes, until the internal temperature reads 115°F. Remove the duck from the grill.
- Turn up the grill temperature to 450°F with a cast iron pan inside, or heat the cast iron pan on the stovetop over high heat until very hot.
- Place the duck, skin side down, on the cast iron pan and sear until crispy and the internal temperature reaches 130°F. Cover loosely with foil and allow smoked duck breast to rest for 5 – 10 minutes before slicing.
- One large duck breast can feed 2 people, but if the duck is smaller, you will need 4 breasts for 4 servings.
🥧 If you’re interested in more great recipes, I share all my favorite recipes at A Food Lover’s Kitchen, Instant Pot recipes over at A Pressure Cooker Kitchen, air fryer recipes at Air Fry Anytime, and cocktails and drinks at Savored Sips. Check it out today!
Laura is a passionate home cook and grill enthusiast who has spent years perfecting her culinary skills, with a particular focus on grilling techniques and flavor combinations. Her fascination with the grill, smoke, and the mouthwatering results they produce has led her on an exciting journey to discover the best methods for grilling delicious and unforgettable meals.