The German Smoked Duck Recipe That Made Me A Duck Fan

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Like I have mentioned in my Instagram posts promoting this duck recipe by Schuhbeck, I don’t actually like duck (or so I thought). There is something about duck that has just always kind of freaked me out, and I am having a hard time understanding what my personal issues are with that experience or concept even. The most recent time I tried duck was when a server at a Greenville restaurant talked me into trying it about a year ago. Hesitantly I gave in and tried it, but only because I felt the pressure and had a hard time making a decision. After taking my first bite, I just really didn’t care for it and had it sent back in exchange for the steak.

And Suddenly I Was Intrigued To Try Duck

When I was first flipping through “The German Cookbook,” a brand new recipe book by Schuhbeck, I was mainly admiring all the clean, beautiful food shots and couldn’t help but notice an irresistible looking photograph of what turned out to be duck. If there wasn’t a photo of it in the book, I most definitely wouldn’t have picked it to cook for my blog and highlight in this post. Suddenly my fears of trying duck again turned into excitement and once I read through the cooking process of pan-searing, smoking and baking it, I felt intrigued. We haven’t used out Traeger smoker grill much this Winter, so this was a perfect excuse to fire it up. The other intriguing part about this recipe was the use of pearl barley, another newbie to me. I had only been familiar with it in beer (duh), but have never cooked with it.

Duck Looking For A Fun, German Spätburgunder

And duck found one. Hex Vom Dasenstein, named after an old legend of a witch living in the vineyard, is a German Pinot Noir with a really fun label on the outside, but so much fruity depth and balanced flavor on the inside. It’s the kind of Spätburgunder (just German for Pinot Noir) that you would want to order a second bottle of. And believe me, you will feel like you’re in a restaurant if you prepare this duck recipe and pair it with this wine.

Click here to find out where you can purchase this wine in your area of the United States.

A Simple German Bundt Cake Up Next!

Subscribe now to receive weekly emails with new recipes, so you’re always up to date on what’s cooking in my German kitchen!   Next week I will share a really easy recipe for one of my favorite cake and coffee time desserts: Eierlikörkuchen – a German bundt cake using egg liqueur!


Smoked Duck Breast with Pearl Barley Recipe

as originally appeared in Schuhbeck’s “The German Cookbook”

serves: 4

prep time: 30 minutes

cooking time: 1 hour

  • 4 x 6 oz (4 x 180 g) duck breasts, skin on
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 7 oz (200 g) pearl barley
  • 4.5 c (1 liter) chicken stock
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • 1 leek
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 parsnip
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 Tbsp (40 g) butter
  • 3-4 Tbsp cream
  • 1 bunch chives for garnish (if desired)
Note: To make this recipe, you will need a smoker oven or stovetop smoker, and wood chips, ideally beech.
  1. Carefully score the skin sides of the duck breasts. Rub with salt and pepper.
  2. Put the barley in a sieve and wash under cold running water. Let drain thoroughly, then combine with the stock in a pan and bring to a boil. Cover with a lid and let swell for 45-55 minutes over low heat.
  3. Heat the oil in a frying pan or skillet over medium heat and sear the breasts well on their skin sides, about 2 minutes, then turn over and sear on the other side for 1 minute. Transfer to a rack over a dish to drain.
  4. Heat the wood chips (or pellets) in a smoker oven or a stovetop smoker. Put the duck breasts on a rack in the smoker and hot-smoke slowly for 5-6 minutes. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (160 degrees Celsius/ Gas Mark 3).
  5. Cut off the roots and green leaves from the leek, cut the white part in half lengthwise and wash thoroughly.
  6. Peel the carrot and parsnip. Cut the leek, carrot, parsnip and celery stalks into small dice.
  7. Heat the butter in a casserole (dutch oven if you have one, or use a deep skillet with a lid) and sauté the vegetables. Deglaze the pan with the cream, cover with the lid and cook for a few minutes until the vegetables are tender, but firm to the bite. Stir in the barley and season with salt and pepper.
  8. Take the breasts out of the smoker and rest in the oven for about 5 minutes. Wash, shake dry and finely chop the chives.
  9. Cut the breasts into thin slices. Arrange the vegetables and pearl barley on warmed plates, sprinkle with chives and cover with the duck breast slices.

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Turn Today’s Meal Into A 4-Course Dinner

  • First Course: Baked Camembert – a warm, creamy cheese with fig-orange-rosemary preserves
  • Second Course: Rieslingsuppe – a delicate Riesling soup from Burg Rheinstein
  • Third Course: Smoked Duck Breast with Pearl Barley
  • Fourth Course: Bratäpfel: Baked apples with marzipan filling

Needed Items For Schuhbeck’s Smoked Duck Recipe


Sponsored Content and Affiliate Links Disclosure

I received compensation from Niche Import Co. in exchange for writing this post. I also received the mentioned cookbook “The German Cookbook” for free. Although this post is sponsored, all opinions, thoughts and recipes are my own. This post contains affiliate links, which means that I may be compensated if you click certain links.