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Grilling: Spice-Rubbed Duck Breast Recipe

The flavor wasn't as much of a triumph. Not that the duck wasn't good—when the rub and glaze were well concentrated, the juicy meat had a nice mix of spice and fruitiness. It just fell a little short of my high expectations after reading the recipe. Maybe I'm being too critical, but after perfecting a technique for well-grilled duck breasts, I hope to take them in more exciting directions. This recipe is just the beginning.

Prep Time

    •    Prep time: 10 minutes
    •    Cook time: 35 minutes
    •    Yield: Serves 4


    •   2 cups orange juice
    •   1 pint blackberries
    •   1 tablespoon dry mustard
    •   1 tablespoon sweet paprika
    •   1 teaspoon ground chile de arbol
    •   1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    •   1/2 teaspoons five-spice powder
    •   1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
    •   4 duck breasts
    •   Kosher salt
    •   Freshly ground black pepper
    •   Olive oil


  1. Bring orange juice to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook until juice is reduced by half, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add in blackberries and cook for 2 minutes more. Place a fine mesh strainer on top of a bowl and strain juice mixture into bowl. Discard solids.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together mustard, paprika, chile de arbol, cinnamon, five-spice powder, and coriander. Set aside.
  3. Score duck skin diagonally every 1/2-inch. Brush duck breasts all over with oil and season with salt and pepper. Rub spice mixture onto skin side of each breast.
  4. Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over entire surface of coal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Place duck breasts on grill, skin side down, until browned and crisp, about 5 to 7 minutes. Flip and continue to cook, brushing duck every minute with orange-blackberry glaze, until an instant read thermometer registers 130 degrees when inserted into middle of breasts. Remove duck from grill and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Slice and serve.

This great family recipe is thanks to Serious-Eats Recipes at


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