Duck Hunting photo

I recently spent a few days at South Carolina’s Buck Ridge Plantation, where Chef Sindy Cary kept us well fed. Among the delicious dinners she served was what might possibly be the best duck I’ve ever eaten. And that’s saying something. Chef Cary was a bit reluctant to share her recipe, which was originally sized to serve about 40, but with a little work she broke it down for me.

Even if you’re the type of person that breasts your ducks, this recipe is worth the couple extra minutes it takes to pluck them.

Sindy’s Maple Leaf Duck**

– 4 duck breasts, plucked Lawry’s Cinnamon-Chipotle Rub

– 1/3 cup Jack Daniels

– ¼ cup brown sugar

– ¼ cup maple syrup

– ¼ cup cherry or apricot preserves (or a combination of both)


Score the fat side of the breasts. Generously sprinkle with rub and chill for 2 hours. Thirty minutes before cooking, remove the ducks from the refrigerator and let them come to room temperature.

Over a medium-hot grill or skillet, sear the duck breasts, fat side down for approximately 10 minutes. Flip the breasts and cook another minute or so. Remove from heat and let rest 5 minutes.

Add remaining ingredients, along with ½ Tablespoon of Cinnamon-Chipotle rub to a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower heat slightly and simmer for approximately 5 minutes until the sauce is reduced and alcohol is burned off.

Slice the duck breasts on the diagonal, dress with sauce, and serve.