Smoked Duck with Sorghum-Glazed Alliums

Sorghum is one of the oldest known grains in the world. Researchers believe it originated in northeast Africa and moved along trade routes to many countries. As part of the import econ­omy that accompanied enslaving Africans, traders brought many foods to the Americas, including sorghum. Sorghum syrup was once a popular, low-cost sweetener used in the deep South. Like honey or molasses, sorghum syrup has an earthy sweet­ness, though it tends to be thinner in viscosity and a little more sour.

Smoked Duck with Sorghum-Glazed Alliums, from THE RISE
Photo: Angie Mosier
Prep Time:
1 hrs
Total Time:
6 hrs


  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds, toasted and crushed, divided

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

  • 4 duck legs

  • Hickory chips, for smoking

  • 2 whole garlic bulbs, halved crosswise

  • 1 bunch (about 10 sprigs) fresh thyme, tied together with butcher's twine

  • 1 cup duck or chicken stock

  • 2 tablespoon sorghum syrup (or maple syrup or honey)

  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice, plus 1 tablespoon grated orange zest (from 1 orange)

  • 30 white pearl onions, peeled

  • 10 scallions (about 1 bunch), root ends trimmed

  • 10 stalks green garlic (about 1 bunch), root ends trimmed

  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Combine 1 tablespoon crushed coriander seeds and salt in a small bowl. Using a sharp knife, puncture skin of duck legs through fat layer on both sides of each leg; season with coriander mixture. Place legs in a freezer bag, seal, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 12 hours.

  2. Remove duck legs from freezer bag and transfer to a shallow baking dish; wrap entire baking dish tightly with plastic wrap. Using a sharp knife, poke two holes in plastic wrap at opposite ends of each other. Insert hose of smoking gun into one hole. Fill smoking gun with hickory chips and smoke for 2 to 3 minutes or until duck legs are thoroughly covered in smoke; remove smoking gun hose and cover both holes with tape or plastic wrap; allow duck legs to infuse for 20 minutes. (If using a backyard smoker, smoke over hickory chips at 400°F for 20 minutes. Allow to infuse for 20 minutes.)

  3. Preheat the oven to 300°F. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Remove duck legs from baking dish and brush off any excess seasoning from legs. Working in batches, place each leg in Dutch oven and cook, skin side down, until fat has rendered out of legs and skin is golden brown and crispy, about 10 minutes. Flip legs, add garlic bulbs, cut side down, and brown for 1 min¬ute; add thyme bundle and stock. Transfer Dutch oven to preheated oven, and cook, covered, until meat is tender and leg bones move freely in their joints, about 3 hours.

  4. While duck is cooking, combine sorghum, orange juice, orange zest, and remaining 1 tablespoon crushed coriander seeds in a small saucepan, and cook over low heat, until just beginning to simmer, about 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from the heat; set aside.

  5. Once duck is cooked and completely tender, let cool slightly, about 10 minutes. Carefully remove duck from braising liquid and transfer to a sheet pan fitted with a wire rack, allowing excess juices to drain. Increase oven to 400°F. Place duck legs in oven and roast until the skin is deep golden brown and crispy, about 15 to 20 minutes.

  6. Meanwhile, remove thyme and garlic from Dutch oven and drain off all but 2 tablespoons of the rendered fat. (Reserve the rendered fat, it will keep refrigerated for up to a month.) Add pearl onions to Dutch oven, and cook, over medium heat, stirring frequently, un¬til deep golden brown on all sides and tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Add scallions and green garlic, and cook, until just beginning to wilt, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to low, pour in sorghum glaze, and cook, until slightly reduced and the alliums are coated, about 5 minutes. Remove pot from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve this family style in Dutch oven.


Excerpted from The Rise by Marcus Samuelsson with Osayi Endolyn and recipes with Yewande Komolafe and Tamie Cook. Copyright (c) 2020 by Marcus Samuelsson. Photographs by Angie Mosier. Used with permission of Voracious, an imprint of Little, Brown and Company. New York, NY. All rights reserved.

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