One of my highlights at Everything Food 2016 was meeting Jason Logsdon. Like me, he’s a self-published author and blogger. He makes me feel like a slacker – he has published 9 of his own cookbooks, about how to use modernist cooking techniques as a home cook. 1 I picked up a bunch of publishing tips from him – it was weird and wonderful to have someone to talk with about self-published cookbooks. It’s such a niche within a niche…but he’s done it, too.
Talking with Jason was also a reminder – I haven’t posted a sous vide recipe in a while. I use my sous vide all the time, but for me it’s my ace-in-the-hole on a busy weeknight. I vacuum seal and freeze steaks, chicken breasts, and Italian sausage; when I need a dinner that I won’t be around to actually cook, I drop the baggies in the water, turn on my sous vide, and head off for whatever kids event is occupying my evening. When we come home I can have dinner on the table in fifteen minutes; all the protein needs is a quick sear.
Then my friends at Maple Leaf Farms sent me a care package of duck, including a bunch of duck legs. 2 I love sous vide duck legs – I get the benefits of duck leg confit – tender, shreddable duck legs – without all the messy duck fat. (It is delicious, delicious duck fat…but it’s still a lot of work. Sealing it in sous vide bags helps contain the mess.) The long, slow sous vide cooking tenderizes the duck meat and renders out a lot of the fat; I can toss the duck legs on the grill for a quick sear, crisping up the skin, and they’re ready to serve.
Recipe: Sous Vide Grilled Duck Legs
Inspired by Jason Logsdon, Modernist Cooking Made Easy: Sous Vide
- Sous Vide setup (I use a Anova Precision Cooker and a Cambro polycarbonate food storage container)
- Grill (My massive Weber Summit 670 has more than enough power for this recipe)
Sous Vide Grilled Duck Legs recipe – Tender, shreddable duck legs sous vide, crisped up on the grill.
- 4 duck legs
- 4 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt (1 teaspoon per duck leg)
- 2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
- Salt and vacuum seal the duck legs: Sprinkle the duck legs with the kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper. (If you have the time, put them in a single layer in a baking dish and refrigerate overnight, or for up to 2 days.) Put the duck legs in quart vacuum bags, 2 legs per bag, and vacuum seal the bags.
- Sous vide the duck legs: Submerge the duck leg bags in the sous vide water and sous vide at 167°F/75°C for 8 to 10 hours.
- Set up the grill for direct high heat: When the duck legs are almost done cooking sous vide, set the grill up for cooking on direct high heat, and clean the grill grate. I preheat a couple of the burners on my gas grill for 15 minutes, then brush the grill grate clean with my grill brush.
- Grill the duck legs:Remove the duck legs from the vacuum pouches and thoroughly dry with paper towels. Set the duck legs on the grill, skin side up, over direct high heat, and grill with the lid open until the duck legs have good grill marks, about 1 minute. Flip the duck legs and grill the skin side until it is browned – watch out for flareups – about 1 more minute. Flip the legs, rotate them 90 degrees, and grill until there is a good crosshatch of grill marks on the bottom of the legs, about 1 more minute. Flip the legs and grill until the skin is browned and crispy, again watching for flareups, about 2 more minutes. Remove the legs to a platter and serve.
After 10 hours sous vide, the duck legs are going to be fall-apart tender. Be careful when you’re flipping them on the grill – work the tongs under the legs gently to break them away from the grill grate before flipping. (And, even if you’re careful, you may have breakaway shreds of meat. Don’t worry – the legs will still be tender.)
Duck legs are perfect on top of a salad, and I love to serve them with seasonal fresh fruit. Strawberries in June (like the ones in the picture), raspberries in July, peaches in August.
What do you think?
Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
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