By Richard Thomas
My wife adores duck, so I’ve been on the lookout for and inventing useful marinades for that particular brand of foul for a few years now. As I cook with whiskey in the same way some people cook with sherry or wine, coming up with an effective whiskey marinade for duck was a priority. After a handful of recipes that produced either failure or decidedly mixed results, I think I have finally hit upon a tasty, whiskey-based concoction.
Since the other main ingredient for this marinade is honey, I think it is important to use a sweet whiskey, like Bourbon or Tennessee whiskey. You could get by with one of the lighter, more floral Scotches, but avoid a substitution with anything overtly earthy or woody.
Ingredients (enough for two half-pound duck breasts)
1/4 cup Bourbon or Tennessee whiskey
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp minced onion
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp thyme
1 1/2 tsp rosemary
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
Put the whiskey and honey together in a bowl, and stir them until they are thoroughly mixed. If you fail to blend these two ingredients from the very beginning of making the marinade, it won’t happen later on when the honey is almost solid in the refrigerator.
Add the other ingredients and stir them in. Place the duck breasts in the marinade with the skins facing up, cover the bowl, and place the bowl in the refrigerator. Allow the duck to soak in the marinade overnight, and then grill them the next day.
Turn the grill or burner up to medium heat, and cook the duck breasts with the skins up for eight to ten minutes. Turn the breasts over, and grill the other side for three or four minutes. Duck skins are thick, tough, and fatty, so most of your actual cooking of the meat is done on the meaty side of the breast. Pull the breasts off the grill, and cut them into thick, chunky slices to serve.