Eat this: Half-Smoked Maple Leaf Farms Duck at Truffles Restaurant

Is it wrong to lick your fingers at a fine-dining restaurant? Consider it a tribute to all the work executive chef Brandon Benack puts into Truffles’ smoked duck. To begin the three-day process, Benack brines the Maple Leaf Farms bird in a vat of salt, brown sugar, oranges, bay leaves, black peppercorns and cloves for 24 hours followed by a 30-second dunk in boiling water. After a day to dry out, the duck is then slow-smoked for six to eight hours over hickory and applewood. Just before serving, Benack halves the bird, slides the tender meat from the bones and crisps the skin to melting perfection. For the final flourish, he gilds his masterpiece with a sticky glaze made with smoked duck stock, red wine and dried cranberries. Decadent? Of course, but we’re too busy lapping up that sweet-tart sauce to care.

9202 Clayton Road, St. Louis, 314.567.9100,