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jamaster14
02-17-2014, 03:48 PM
i have long struggled to achieve this. i like to think of myself as a good chef, have worked in several high end restaraunts and have been cooking since i could stand up.

but the one thing that has always aluded me is the perfect seared duck breast. i can just never seem to achieve perfect crispy skin with the fat rendered out. i get crispy skin and a slightly gummy center.

i've tried several methods. closest ive come is room temperature duck with scored and seasoned skin in a stainless pan on medium-low flame for 10-15 minutes, periodically dumping the fat, then turning the heat up, giving it a good sear on both sides before going into a 400 degree over for a few minutes.

decent, edible, far from perfect.

can anyone here give me a fool proof method, with exact and price times and temps and materials used?

CoqaVin
02-17-2014, 04:37 PM
I honestly don't know my own method too well just scored and render the fat really GOOD

JDA_NC
02-17-2014, 05:15 PM
The essential thing that a lot of people don't do is to start with a cold pan. Preferably dry too - let it rock low & slow for a while and render out as much fat as you can before touching it.

CoqaVin
02-17-2014, 05:16 PM
Exactly Low and slow render the heck out of that fat

Inedible Hulk
02-17-2014, 05:20 PM
Remove the skin from the breast and cook sous vide. Cook skin in a low oven between to silpats until rendered and crispy.

jamaster14
02-17-2014, 05:34 PM
how long are you rendering the fat and on how low a flame? 25 mins? 30? 40?

CoqaVin
02-17-2014, 05:37 PM
never really timed it to tell you the truth but I would say about 30 as low of a flame as possible

You know what works good for this since it is an indirect flame the plancha or the flat-top

JDA_NC
02-17-2014, 05:51 PM
how long are you rendering the fat and on how low a flame? 25 mins? 30? 40?

Sort of depends on your time constraints, range, oven, pan, and duck.

If it's at home and you have all the time in the world, you can slowly render it out in a pan for as long as you'd like.

If it's a work you have to speed things up a little. I love cooking duck and here's how I get the best results:

- Start with a cold, dry french/cast iron pan
- Over low to medium low heat begin to render the fat. If it's extremely fatty and there's a lot of liquid, drain off a little. It's important at this point to not move the duck around... leave it where you first originally placed it.
- When you feel that you're around 70% there, turn up the heat a little and let it ride for a minute or two. Around here I'll usually check and see how the skin is looking. If you need to drain off more fat, do so.
- If the skin is still not as crispy as you'd like, put it in the pan skin-side down again and place the pan in the oven with whatever aromatics you're using.
- After a few minutes, pull it out of the oven, put back on medium heat, and sear the back of the breast and finish cooking to whatever temp is needed. If you want to crisp the skin further you can baste the breast in the pan fat with a spoon

jamaster14
02-17-2014, 06:00 PM
Sort of depends on your time constraints, range, oven, pan, and duck.

If it's at home and you have all the time in the world, you can slowly render it out in a pan for as long as you'd like.

If it's a work you have to speed things up a little. I love cooking duck and here's how I get the best results:

- Start with a cold, dry french/cast iron pan
- Over low to medium low heat begin to render the fat. If it's extremely fatty and there's a lot of liquid, drain off a little. It's important at this point to not move the duck around... leave it where you first originally placed it.
- When you feel that you're around 70% there, turn up the heat a little and let it ride for a minute or two. Around here I'll usually check and see how the skin is looking. If you need to drain off more fat, do so.
- If the skin is still not as crispy as you'd like, put it in the pan skin-side down again and place the pan in the oven with whatever aromatics you're using.
- After a few minutes, pull it out of the oven, put back on medium heat, and sear the back of the breast and finish cooking to whatever temp is needed. If you want to crisp the skin further you can baste the breast in the pan fat with a spoon

this is kind of the method i use, only i dont use cast iron.... the fat just never seems to render enough. ive gone for 30 minutes or so and still its gummy and not fully rendered. maybe i need to go with another pan choice?

i dont mind rendering it longer either. i really just want achieve proper results. hundreds of breasts have come out unsatisfactory with 0 being passable by my standards and its been frustrating.

do you do anything to prep the breast before going into the pan? i've read a ton on this and watched tons of video and just cant render it out the same

CoqaVin
02-17-2014, 06:01 PM
Basting is great for crispy skin in my experiences

JDA_NC
02-17-2014, 06:11 PM
Are you trimming the skin on the breasts? I'd assume so but maybe play with how much you're trimming & how you're scoring the breast?

In Heston Blumenthal's 'Total Perfection' book he mentions pricking the duck skin all over with a fine needle (but not puncturing through the skin) which helps allow moisture and fat to escape. But he also removes the duck skin, uses a needle & butchers twine to stretch it out over a resting rack, roasts in the oven on low temp for hours, brushes with maltose & rice wine vin., roasts further at a higher temp with wood chips and then finishes by basting with 375F oil... sooooooo.... :biggrin:

jamaster14
02-17-2014, 06:13 PM
Basting is great for crispy skin in my experiences

its not so much the crispy skin thats the issue, its rendering out enough of the layer of fat so that it isnt gummy

CoqaVin
02-17-2014, 06:16 PM
I guess you are just not rendering out the fat enough?

NO ChoP!
02-17-2014, 07:43 PM
Domestic duck, usually Pekin, has a tremendous amount of fat under the skin. If you can find mallard, the skin is yellow, the meat is red, and they are much leaner. The legs can get tough, though....

jamaster14
02-17-2014, 08:14 PM
Domestic duck, usually Pekin, has a tremendous amount of fat under the skin. If you can find mallard, the skin is yellow, the meat is red, and they are much leaner. The legs can get tough, though....

thanks, do you agree with the above technique? maybe i just need to be more patient with it.

NO ChoP!
02-17-2014, 11:29 PM
My method may be a bit unorthodox...

I like to score the skin.

I use the flat side of a cast iron grill plate. Pretty low and stable heat.

Here is where I differ. I use a weight. A few pans or a brick will work. I also continually drain the fat.

Also, the weight keeps the meat from pulling up into a ball, making for a very even doneness inside.

Sabong1
02-17-2014, 11:34 PM
My method may be a bit unorthodox...

I like to score the skin.

I use the flat side of a cast iron grill plate. Pretty low and stable heat.

Here is where I differ. I use a weight. A few pans or a brick will work. I also continually drain the fat.

Also, the weight keeps the meat from pulling up into a ball, making for a very even doneness inside.

Doesn't sound unorthodox to me. Sounds like solid technique to me. 👍


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

jai
02-18-2014, 03:03 AM
Ive done it basicly the same way as no chop its just about pressure and heat control

marc4pt0
02-18-2014, 08:33 AM
I brine mine over night, pat dry and place skin side down in cold pan. Set flame to as low as it will go and render for as long as it takes. This usually happens in the morning as there are a lot of breasts being rendered and takes up a ton of burner space. Now in my new digs I have a large flat top to play with so I set that pretty low and place the pans on top of that.
I believe the trick is to watch for steam and listen for any bubbling/sizzling noises. These are all bad signs of too high of heat which means you are now cooking the meat.
And for the meat side,I Never cook over direct heat. Pre sous vide days I would baste the crap out of the flesh side and then flip it over once I pull the pan OFF the heat, allowing it to finish in the pan for 10-20 seconds. I usually serve my duck breast at medium and this method achieves a well rendered perfectly juicy medium.
Now with sous vide it's pretty much the same way but with less time in the pan to finish. I still won't allow the flesh side to touch direct heat and only flip the breast once OFF the heat source. Duck, with skin and subcutaneous fat removed, is actually more lean than a chicken breast which means it will dry out much faster through muscle tension (result of direct heat contact).
One of these days I'm going to go buy one of those sharp needley dog brushes and use it to "perforate" the skin to see if this helps render the fat out faster.
I certainly don't think my method is the end all be all way across the board, but I won't allow any other way in my kitchens. At least just not until I see another way execute same or better results. I'm always up for learning something new!

perneto
02-18-2014, 01:11 PM
Has anyone tried the cryosearing method from Modernist Cuisine?

It uses a block of dry ice to half freeze the skin side, ensuring fat can be rendered for a long time without cooking the meat.

jgraeff
02-18-2014, 03:38 PM
crofrying would be ideal however most people would not do that.

i have always used room temp or in a kitchen place it on a warm shelf to raise temp before cooking. Then in a cold pan on very low flam skin side down until skin is very crispy then and only then flip and raise heat, use fat int he pan to baste the skin side and it will continue to crisp. i have gotten perfect medium rare to medium that way.

Although i have done it different ways to, once i worked for a chef, he made us blanch whole ducks 6 times before roasting in the oven low and slow. he said it helped release some fat under the skin and helped with getting perfect crispy skin.

you could try that. blanch for 15-30 seconds, then into ice water and repeat, therefore not cooking really and try to do the method above, not sure if ti will work for just a breast but i can attest the whole ducks came out very nice. Also a brine wouldn't hurt before.

jamaster14
02-18-2014, 04:41 PM
crofrying would be ideal however most people would not do that.

i have always used room temp or in a kitchen place it on a warm shelf to raise temp before cooking. Then in a cold pan on very low flam skin side down until skin is very crispy then and only then flip and raise heat, use fat int he pan to baste the skin side and it will continue to crisp. i have gotten perfect medium rare to medium that way.

Although i have done it different ways to, once i worked for a chef, he made us blanch whole ducks 6 times before roasting in the oven low and slow. he said it helped release some fat under the skin and helped with getting perfect crispy skin.

you could try that. blanch for 15-30 seconds, then into ice water and repeat, therefore not cooking really and try to do the method above, not sure if ti will work for just a breast but i can attest the whole ducks came out very nice. Also a brine wouldn't hurt before.

im not really having problems with crispy skin or getting the duck medium. the duck is quite good and the skin is crispy - just not fully rendered so its a bit gummy between the crispy top and the meat.

Stumblinman
02-19-2014, 01:25 AM
Basically sounds like you may be just cooking too fast. I like mine scored. Render in dry pan flip and baste with fat.

jgraeff
02-19-2014, 09:44 PM
im not really having problems with crispy skin or getting the duck medium. the duck is quite good and the skin is crispy - just not fully rendered so its a bit gummy between the crispy top and the meat.

Well as you render all the fat it becomes more crispy..

jai
02-19-2014, 10:47 PM
Best way possible is to actually take the skin off scrap all the fat away and use meat glue or transglucimate or something to reattach skin then you have no fat perfect crisp skin and beautiful duck breast. They do that over here in some of the 3 hat places.

Stumblinman
02-20-2014, 03:05 AM
Yeah that's how they did it on Star Trek.

jai
02-20-2014, 03:37 AM
Sounds like that haha some of the **** they do these days is ridiculous.

apathetic
02-20-2014, 05:51 AM
What is the best way to crisp the skin if you separate it?
And is it that important to keep the skin attached anyway? Never tried that so wondering about it

jamaster14
02-20-2014, 10:27 AM
Yeah that's how they did it on Star Trek.

lol

ncedge
03-01-2014, 10:19 PM
What is the best way to crisp the skin if you separate it?
And is it that important to keep the skin attached anyway? Never tried that so wondering about it

imho. keep the bird in as natural form as possible, it's nature. There is no need for surgery here.

Render your scored breast low and slow; a thin layer of fat under the crispy skin is not unpleasant.

Render longer, slower, and if you're still chewy, it is probably due to over or under cooking the breast meat. Perhaps try a better purveyor. Get a fresh kill, if possible.

apathetic
03-02-2014, 05:48 AM
Good point, actually making duck breast some time next week. Will try it again

ChefCosta
03-05-2014, 10:56 PM
The duck that you start out with is the most important factor. If you are using Moulard Duck breast, aka Magret (a hybrid breed used for Foie Gras), don't bother. They have super thick skin because they get so fat. In my experience this skin never gets totally crispy (like you can hear it when you eat it crispy). I would recommend using this kind of duck breast for a salt cured Duck Ham and not much else. The legs of Moulard, on the other hand, are a different story. If you can get past the idea of the occasional broken leg from the weight of the duck they make the best confit. When you salt cure Magret the skin melts in your mouth like lardo. If you want crispy skin, use Muscovy. It is way more expensive and the meat is thinner but the skin gets crispy much faster. Start with a cold duck breast (cryo freezing is effective but but not really worth the trouble) Score it with the knife at a 15 degree angle to the skin (so you don't pierce it too deeply) and control your heat. D'artagnan has a new breed called Rohan that is excellent as well, but I really like Muscovy.

zoze
03-06-2014, 05:45 AM
In germany you would find Barbarie-Duck more often then Muscovy. Though it seems Barbarie is just the domesticated variety of Muscovy I'm wondering if you got some experience with those, too?
Are they different in terms of quality?



The duck that you start out with is the most important factor. If you are using Moulard Duck breast, aka Magret (a hybrid breed used for Foie Gras), don't bother. They have super thick skin because they get so fat. In my experience this skin never gets totally crispy (like you can hear it when you eat it crispy). I would recommend using this kind of duck breast for a salt cured Duck Ham and not much else. The legs of Moulard, on the other hand, are a different story. If you can get past the idea of the occasional broken leg from the weight of the duck they make the best confit. When you salt cure Magret the skin melts in your mouth like lardo. If you want crispy skin, use Muscovy. It is way more expensive and the meat is thinner but the skin gets crispy much faster. Start with a cold duck breast (cryo freezing is effective but but not really worth the trouble) Score it with the knife at a 15 degree angle to the skin (so you don't pierce it too deeply) and control your heat. D'artagnan has a new breed called Rohan that is excellent as well, but I really like Muscovy.

apathetic
03-06-2014, 09:07 AM
The duck that you start out with is the most important factor. If you are using Moulard Duck breast, aka Magret (a hybrid breed used for Foie Gras), don't bother. They have super thick skin because they get so fat. In my experience this skin never gets totally crispy (like you can hear it when you eat it crispy). I would recommend using this kind of duck breast for a salt cured Duck Ham and not much else. The legs of Moulard, on the other hand, are a different story. If you can get past the idea of the occasional broken leg from the weight of the duck they make the best confit. When you salt cure Magret the skin melts in your mouth like lardo. If you want crispy skin, use Muscovy. It is way more expensive and the meat is thinner but the skin gets crispy much faster. Start with a cold duck breast (cryo freezing is effective but but not really worth the trouble) Score it with the knife at a 15 degree angle to the skin (so you don't pierce it too deeply) and control your heat. D'artagnan has a new breed called Rohan that is excellent as well, but I really like Muscovy.

That's great info, thanks!

ChefCosta
03-06-2014, 11:04 AM
I haven't been to Germany in years and have never cooked duck there. My understanding is that Barbary and Muscovy are different names for the same breed. What makes the skin crisp nicely is that it is relatively thin, at least on the American birds. That being said I am sure that there are variances in feed, age at slaughter, aging process, etc in Germany vs. what we do in the US. Only way to find out is to try it out.

kpeddie2010
03-20-2014, 12:45 PM
What i normally do is like most of you but i like to prep my duck before cooking it. i usually lightly salt the skin of the duck and let the duck rest naked on a resting rack in the refer.. this draws out moisture in the fat before u cook and it drains. also i like stainless steel pan starting from cold and i render fat for about 10 mins on lowest heat possible. take it out of the pan and allow it to come to room temp. reserve fat for later use. next i dust skin with baking soda . when i need to pick up i start from cold pan and bring to low heat when fat begins to render roughly 8 - 10 mins i bring to medium heat and then i begin to baste every 30 seconds or so. and baste roughly 5 times or 2.30 mins and then i put into a 420 degree oven to bring up to desired temp . while duck rest i let it hang upside down (skin side down) vertical using the side of the hotel pan and then serve after it has rested to temp.. usually a few mins in the oven bring it to mid rare and a 3 min rest not under any lamp does the trick.

CoqaVin
03-20-2014, 12:51 PM
never heard of the baking soda trick or the hang up side down trick what is the point of them

I assume the baking soda gives it a nice crisp skin

NotSwedishChef
03-20-2014, 01:14 PM
I use Crescent's...thin skin, the right size for us. The Rohan was cool, we got a few samples in this past winter but they were big....way too large for our needs.

Cold pan, super low flame, don't crowd the pan. Dump the fat (save it) as it renders out.....its more about looking for the correct end-result as opposed to time for rendering. Finish in a low-oven and than allow to rest to your final target temp.

We use well-seasoned black steel pans....but you can get the same result in stainless or cast iron.

The other thing that people miss, is the prep of the breast itself. Often you have an uneven fat cap, go back and trim and even the thickness out so the end result is much more consistent.

I've never found the need to use baking soda to help achieve crispness. I know many people do......

kpeddie2010
03-22-2014, 04:02 PM
Like when resting a steak it is proper to rest it on both sides as heat and steam travel upward. u want to have the steam rst toward the meat side of the duck since it cooked on the skin side much longer. So u get even heat distribution when cooking. Sinced u crisp up the skin with baking soda the skin will stay crisp while resting even tho some of the juice of the meat will run down since resting skin side down. The purpose of baking soda is so the skin stays crisp during the resting time and time it takes to get to the table. Not to acheive a real crisp skin but the skin will stay crisp longer through out the eating time giving the guest a crisp skin throughout the entire meal.

jamaster14
03-22-2014, 06:56 PM
Like when resting a steak it is proper to rest it on both sides as heat and steam travel upward. u want to have the steam rst toward the meat side of the duck since it cooked on the skin side much longer. So u get even heat distribution when cooking. Sinced u crisp up the skin with baking soda the skin will stay crisp while resting even tho some of the juice of the meat will run down since resting skin side down. The purpose of baking soda is so the skin stays crisp during the resting time and time it takes to get to the table. Not to acheive a real crisp skin but the skin will stay crisp longer through out the eating time giving the guest a crisp skin throughout the entire meal.

i dont think the baking soda will help the original issue, as getting a crispy skin isnt the problem, rendering all the fat is. i get very crispy skin and a perfectly well done piece of meat. unfortunately what i also get is a thin layer of unrendered fat which ruins everything :(

I had a restaraunt for over 8 years. duck being a favorite of mine i tried ot put it on the menu several times, and never got a seared breast on the menu cause i couldnt execute it... it always ended up with confit dark meat and then removing the skin of the breasts i didnt cook right chilling and slicing the breast meat and serving it on a sandwich.

maybe it was the product itself, but i hate to blame the product for such a poor result.