Mighty Good Duck

Mighty Good Duck Plate
Adapted from Alton Brown’s Recipe “Mighty Duck”
4-6 servings

1 (5 1/2 to 6 pound) frozen Long Island Duck, thawed, cleaned, dried
1/2 cup kosher salt
1 pint pineapple juice
15 whole black peppercorns
1 bunch fresh thyme
4 cloves garlic, smashed

1. Combine all brine ingredients in a large plastic bag suspended in a gallon container, seal the top of the bag and shake to dissolve the salt
2. Set the marinade aside and dress the duck by removing the pop-up thermometer (if included), liver, gizzards, and heart (These can be set aside and stored for later use)
3. Cut off the wings and place in a large freezer bag to be stored for later use
4. Using kitchen shears, locate the spine at the tail and cut up the side of the backbone to the neck cavity
5. Turn the duck around and cut down the other side of the spine towards the rear cavity. Remove the backbone and place in the large back with the wings (You may need to cut it in half, depending on the size of your bag).
6. Turn the duck over and cut straight down the middle of the breast bone, which will leave 2 equal duck halves
7. Separate the legs and thighs from the breast by making a crescent shaped incision between each thigh and breast and cutting through to the thigh joint (You will now have 4 pieces: 2 breasts and two leg & thigh quarters)
Mighty Good Duck Marinade
8. Place the duck quarters inside the marinade bag, squeeze out excess air, seal the bag, then shake to distribute the brine evenly over the duck
9. Brine the duck for 2-8 hours in the refrigerator, turning occasionally
10. About 2 hours before you plan to serve the duck, bring 1 1/2 inches to 2 inches of water to a boil in a large pot
11. Meanwhile, use tines of a fork to pierce the skin several times on each piece to allow the fat to easily render
12. line the sides of a colander with the duck quarters. Do not stack the duck quarters on each other. Place the colander in the pot, cover and turn the heat to medium low and steam the duck for 45 minutes
Raw Duck Quarters in Collander
13. 30 minutes into cooking the duck, place a large cast iron skillet into the oven and set the temperature to 475 degrees F
14. When the oven has reached temperature, using a pair of tongs, remove the duck pieces from the steamer and place legs, skin side down, into the hot skillet, and place the skillet into the hot oven immediately;
15. Cook the leg quarters for 10 minutes
16. Add the breasts, skin side down, to the skillet and cook for 7 more minutes or until the duck takes on a deep mahogany color and the skin is very crisp
17. Remove the duck from the skillet and let it rest under foil
18. Prepare side dishes and pan sauce, as desired, and plate the duck to serve immediately

This recipe sounds complicated, but it just appears that way because I have broken it down into very small easy to understand steps for the cook trying this for the first time. It is quite straight forward, and ensures success every time. The demonstration video below makes the whole process easier to understand.