Pig of Sky and Water

augustiner is a huge fan of smoked duck from the Willie Bird store in Santa Rosa. It’s remarkably reminiscent of ham, making one realize that duck is truly the pig of the sky and the waters of the Earth, as augustiner puts it. The flesh is as pink as ham, and it’s just as salty, tender, and rich. The smokiness doesn’t overwhelm the natural flavor of the duck. It’s beautiful on its own (a hot plate of smoked duck tends to disappear in minutes when served to Chowhounds), in sandwiches, or shredded over noodles. The bones make a wonderfully smoky broth or jook, so don’t even think about throwing them away.

Melanie Wong likes the smoked duck breast, an alternative to buying a whole smoked duck. It’s a wonderful thing to have in the fridge or freezer for a spur-of-the-moment appetizer when you have unexpected guests. Slice very thinly and serve cold or at room temperature—think of it as duck prosciutto. “And the best part is to yank off the whole strip of smoked skin (which isn’t good cold anyway) and save it for yourself to make cracklings … these taste like duck bacon!” she says.

Also excellent: the turkey spread, smoky and smooth, without the gloppiness of too much mayonnaise.

Willie Bird Turkeys [Sonoma County]
5350 Sebastopol Road, Santa Rosa
707-545-2832

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