I’m just going to cut straight to the chase because this is mainly for my own reference.
– Brine duck thighs 7% Brine, consisting of orange juice, orange zest, a lot of dried thyme, some dried rosemary, garlic, a splash of liquid smoke, for a total of about 6 hours
– Remove and pat dry, vacuum seal with a tablespoon of fat
– One batch was cooked in a waterbath at 80C for 9 hours (Baldwin tables)
– Other batch was cooked in a waterbath at 75C for 20 hours (Source)
– Both ducks were crisped up in a searing hot pan with a little oil
– Duck confit was served with an apple sauce (Microwave chopped apples on high heat for 90 seconds, covered. Then blend with a little ham ju)
80C for 9 hours
Pros: The skin crisped up nicely. This was closer to the texture of a duck confit that I am familiar with
Cons: The meat was tough, I could tell the meat was tough just by touching it when I took it out of the bag. I wouldn’t say the meat was dry, but it was stringy. Also, meat was under seasoned.
Thoughts: Will probably salt liberally before sealing in the vacuum bag the next time, should also use more duck fat because the meat cooks vertically with my setup, 1 tablespoon of fat is not enough to fully submerge the entire leg while it is cooking. A sprig of fresh thyme should also be used, the dried thyme in the brine did not impart sufficient aroma into the meat.
75C for 20 hours
Pros: There was a significant difference in the texture of the meat, while it was still stringy, the meat was a lot more tender and moist. Meat had a nice pinkish center.
Cons: Still, the meat was stringy, I’m trying to think really hard about the last confit I had, which was at Osteria Mozza, it was good, very good, it was stringy but it was so moist and tender at the same time (which is why I said the 80C duck is closer to what a duck confit should be). I may have been expecting too much from the confit but I really thought that it would have that melt in your mouth consistency. The legs lost too much liquid for my liking, but again this could be an issue with the lack of fat in the bag.
Thoughts: More fat. More more more. Also, was 20h really necessary? I felt that a better consistency could be achieved with a shorter time, albeit more rare.