Smoked Duck Recipe For Confit Of Duck Leg

This smoked duck recipe might be different to what you are expecting in that we're going to make confit of duck legs. This is a very simple and traditional French way to preserve duck (you can also use goose) where the meat is effectively stored in a jar with it's own fat.

What we're going to do is cure duck legs, smoke them for a couple of hours and catch all the fat that drips off and then pot up the duck in jars. (If it doesn't get eaten first!)

Smoked Duck Shredding

To make perfect confit of duck, the low and slow smoking temperature is absolutely ideal and passing a hint of smoke (preferably apple wood) over it at the same time works wonders.

What can you make with my confit smoked duck recipe?

  • Cassoulet – a wonderful French warming winter stew with loads of smoked meats.
  • Smoked Duck Rillettes – basically a pâté, naughty and really moorish (see below).
  • Smoked Duck Salad – this one was done with duck breast but I'm sure that you'll get the point. It certainly it makes something of a boring lettuce leaf!
  • Soup – Just make a vegetable soup and throw in a few pieces of smoked duck confit, you won't be disappointed.

Serves:- 4 people

Preparation Time:- 12 hours
Cooking Time:- 3 hours

Total Time:- 15 hours


  • 4 duck legs
  • 1lb of 500g duck fat
  • Sea salt and pepper.


Prick the duck legs with a fork taking care not to stab yourself in the process. Cover them lightly in sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and refrigerate for 12 hours.

This in essence is a light cure and you'll see that the salt becomes damp and water leeches out of the duck flesh.

When the 12 hours are up, dab the skin dry using kitchen towel.

The cooking method here is indirect.

Place the duck legs and the fat in an oven tray and smoke at 290°F or 140°C for three hours over apple wood allowing the duck to effectively simmer in the fat.

That's it, done. You can now eat the duck directly (traditionally done with beans) or pot it up for another day. If you are going to pot it up, you may want to break up the thigh and drumstick, place as much meat as you can into and airtight jar and pour over the warm duck fat or do as I've done and shred it with a couple of forks.

This a pot of smoked duck rillettes

This technique of shredding and potting the duck is called "rillettes" (pictured above) and is a speciality of La Sarthe department in France which includes the wonderful city of Le Mans. Rillettes make for hearty picnic food.

The traditional way to eat rillettes is simply to scoop it out of the pot and spread it generously of a baguette. I like to add some cornichons to balance the flavour and the health conscious among you might want to add a token lettuce leaf but sometimes when you're going to be naughty you might just as well be really naughty!

Use this link for more on the origins and history of rillettes.

See Also:-

Smoked Duck Peking Style
Smoked Duck Breast
Grilled Duck Breast
More Great BBQ Duck Recipes
Smoked Goose Recipes

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