Spruce-smoked breast of duck in festive syrup with orange salad


2 duck breasts, each weighing approx. 380 g, 1 tbsp oil, Salt & Pepper, 5 oranges, 150 ml water, 250 g cane sugar, 2 cinnamon sticks, 2 star anise, 2 bay leaves, 10 cloves, 1 fennel bulb, 50 g pine kernels, Lettuce leaves to garnish, Olive oil, Apple cider vinegar and 6 small sprigs of spruce (optional)

In the kitchen

  • Trim the meat, score the skin, and season with salt and pepper.
  • Wash and dry the oranges. Take one of the oranges and zest half of it, then squeeze all the juice from it.
  • Bring the orange juice and zest, cane sugar, water, cinnamon sticks, star anise, bay leaves and cloves to the boil in a saucepan to make a festive syrup. Remove from the heat when the syrup starts to boil.
  • Wash and dry the fennel, then cut into quarters.
Toast the pine nuts in a dry pan until golden, and season with salt.
Cut the peel off the the rest of the oranges and slice.
  • Wash and spin the lettuce leaves, then arrange with slices of orange and strips of barbecued fennel with a sprinkling of toasted pine nuts. Finally, drizzle the orange salad with a little olive oil and apple cider vinegar. Serve the orange salad with the spruce-smoked breast of duck.

On the grill

  • Prepare the grill for direct heat, approx. 240-250°C.
  • Cook the fennel quarters over direct heat for approx. 3-4 minutes on each side until the cut sides have sear marks. Then leave to cool.

  • Cook the duck breasts lightly over direct heat for approx. 30 seconds on each side.
  • Then prepare the grill for indirect heat.
  • Place the duck breasts in the middle of the cooking grate, insert the iGrill probe (or use other grill thermometer) in the meat and set the core temperature to 58°C.
  • Spread the sprigs of spruce directly on the lit briquettes, and grill the duck breasts for approx. 20 minutes, or until the core temperature is reached.
  • Brush continuously with the Festive syrup.
  • Allow the duck breasts to cool for approx. 5 minutes before slicing.


Recommended equipment:  iGrill or other grill thermometer, basting brush and small saucepan