Hot Smoked Duck, Pickled Walnut & Vincotto Salad Recipe

This might be the only duck recipe you'll ever need! Hot smoked duck is one of the finest things you can do in a food smoker. If you cook it for the right time, the duck stays perfectly tender and a little pink in the centre, yet the skin develops a rich orange smoky hue. The initial curing stage helps keep the duck moist, and gives it extra flavour. And it takes almost no effort using a Cameron Stovetop Smoker. 

To accompany your smoked duck breasts, you’ll want a salad with a pleasing balance of sweet, sharp and bitter. These flavours complement and contrast with the richness of the duck.

A great combination is bitter radicchio leaves, sweet vincotto, and the sharpness of pickled walnuts.

Two large duck breasts will just fit side-by-side in the Camerons Gourmet Mini Smoker (see picture below). If you're cooking duck for four, you should use its bigger brother - which is twice the size - the Camerons Stovetop Smoker. Just place the hot smoker on your stovetop (electric, gas, or induction!), close the lid, and leave to smoke for 20 minutes.

I like the sweetness of maple woodchips with duck. But of course you can try any other wood. Just watch out with hickory as it is extremely strong, and can become quite bitter. I'd save that for stronger hot smoked flavours like BBQ ribs, or steaks. You can see that the duck breasts shrink slightly when cooked, and the skin develops a beautiful chestnut hue from the woodsmoke.

When ready to serve, the smoked duck needs no extra sauce or seasoning. Just serve with a beautiful salad, ideally with some pickled walnuts - or at least lightly pickled onions, to cut through the duck's richness.

Ingredients Serves: 2

  • 2 x 170g duck breasts
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 50g fine sea salt

To smoke

  • Extra fine maple wood chips
  • For the salad
  • 1 tbsp vincotto
  • 1 tbsp good extra virgin olive oil
  • Handful of radicchio
  • Handful of green salad leaves
  • 4 pickled walnuts, drained and sliced


  1. Mix together the salt and sugar. Lay half in the bottom of a dish, and place the duck breasts on top. Cover with remaining sugar-salt mixture and place in the fridge to cure for 1 hour. Rinse off the salt-sugar mixture and pat dry with kitchen roll.
  2. Add a couple of tablespoons of extra fine maple wood chips to the base of the smoker, and place the cooking rack on top. Lay the duck breasts side by side and smoke over a medium to high heat for 20 minutes. After 15 minutes check the temperature of the breasts. We like them at around 60-65C, but if you can’t eat rare meat, cook to 73C.
  3. Remove from smoker and leave to rest for 5 minutes. Then finely slice the smoked duck breasts.
  4. For the salad, stir together the vincotto and olive oil. Toss with the radicchio and green leaves. Top with sliced pickled walnuts, and serve alongside the duck.
© Speciality Cooking Supplies Limited 2024


  • Hi Alma, the fat will not render alone in the smoker. So you could slightly under cook the breast in the smoker then finish it in a hot pan to render the fat down. Or if you follow the recipe above, remove the fat before eating.

    Holly, Sous Chef on

  • What about the duck fat which is rendered down in conventional cooking. Is it edible when smoked or should it be cut off

    Alma Winder on

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