Happy Easter or Happy Passover! Or just celebrate the arrival of spring! Whatever your faith, just celebrate. Have a party this weekend, why do you need a reason?
The Easter holiday is quickly approaching here and that mean's I'm cooking for the family. Cooing for the family brings the usual dilemmas about what to cook. Should I just do a standard barbecue meal? Or should I do something more traditional and keep the family happy? But how do I keep the family happy when there are so many disparities in tastes and dislikes? Lamb - certainly traditional, but my father and brother won't touch it. Ham - again traditional, but my wife and daughter won't eat it. Prime rib - expensive and my cousin won't eat beef. What's a cook to do?
I propose turkey - easy traditional holiday fare. "BUT NOT FOR EASTER," my daughter tells me. OK. Duck! "Yuck." say the wife and daughter. "ENOUGH!" say I!
So this year for Easter we are having smoked turkey and duck. I'm in the mood for duck, which due to my wife's dislike of the critter, I haven't cooked in the 18 plus years we've been married. To go with the meats, we're also having fattie stuffed mushrooms, steamed green and white asparagus with hollandaise sauce, corn with butter sauce, mashed potatoes and some local bread called rockies.
Even as I type, I’m brining the turkey using a brine recipe from the Virtual Weber Bullet Forum which I’m posting below. For the duck, I’m marinating it as suggested by my Brother in Smoke, Trout Man from the BBQ Brethren. I’m posting his recipe as well.
Apple Brine for Turkey
2 quarts apple juice
1 pound brown sugar (light or dark)
1 cup Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt
3 quarts cold water
3 oranges, quartered
4 ounces fresh ginger, unpeeled and thinly sliced
15 whole cloves
6 bay leaves
6 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
Substitute 3/4 cup Morton Kosher Salt or 1/2 cup table salt for Diamond Crystal.
Combine apple juice, brown sugar, and salt in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve. Boil for one minute, remove from heat, let mixture come to room temperature, then refrigerate to 40°F.
In a large non-reactive container, combine the apple juice mixture with the remaining ingredients. When adding the oranges, squeeze each piece to release the juice into the container, and then drop in the peel.
Trout’s Duck recipe
For smoking a goose duck or pheasant this is good and simple:
2 cups of red wine
2 cloves of garlic
1 onion sliced
2 bay leaves, crumbled
1/4 cup olived oil
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 tsp crushed marjoram leaves
half an apple
rap of celery
half an onion
Place the bird(s) in a non metal container. Add wine with enough cold water to cover, add onion, garlic and bay leaves. Cover and refrigerate 18 to 24 hours. Remove bird(s) pat dry. Rub with Olive oil and sprinkle with salt pepper and marjoram. Stuff cavity with the apple celery and the half onion. Pour the marinade into the water pan or not. Smoke for 3 hours.
I’m getting to cook over wood and charcoal again. It’s been way too long. I can’t wait to play with the fire. Nothing smells like summer like a wood fire!