Pastrami-Spiced Duck Breast Reuben


I first tasted pastrami-spiced, smoked duck breast about 15 years ago, and ever since I've wondered how it would be used in a classic Reuben sandwich. I never got around to actually trying it, but this is close, and I'm going to say, way, way better.

Prep Time:
25 mins
Cook Time:
15 mins
Additional Time:
8 hrs
Total Time:
8 hrs 40 mins
2 servings


  • 2 skin-on, boneless duck breast halves


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper

  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, or more to taste

  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard

  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper

Mustard Dressing:

  • ½ cup olive oil

  • ¼ cup sherry vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

  • salt and ground black pepper to taste


  • 2 cups chopped green cabbage

  • 2 tablespoons Russian salad dressing, or more to taste

  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil, or as needed

  • 2 slices rye bread

  • ¼ cup shredded Swiss cheese


  1. Cut shallow slashes diagonally across the fat-side of each duck breast to create cross-hatch marks.

  2. Whisk 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon black pepper, coriander, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, paprika, dry mustard, and cayenne pepper together in a large bowl until a wet-rub consistency. Rub spice mixture onto all sides of duck breasts. Set duck into bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate, 8 hours to overnight.

  3. Pat excess rub off of duck with paper towels. Season on all sides with kosher salt.

  4. Whisk 1/2 cup olive oil, sherry vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt, and black pepper together in a bowl until creamy and smooth. Toss cabbage and Russian dressing together in a separate bowl.

  5. Heat vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook duck, skin-side down, in hot skillet until skin is crispy and caramelized, 5 to 6 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, flip ducks breasts, and cook until pink in the middle and meat springs back when touched, about 5 minutes more. Remove to a plate to rest. Pour rendered duck fat from the skillet through a strainer into a bowl.

  6. Heat 1 tablespoon reserved duck fat in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Place bread in skillet and cook until lightly toasted, about 1 minute. Flip bread slices and cook until toasted on the other side, about 1 minute more. Sprinkle cheese on each piece of bread, flip slices, and cook until cheese is melted and crisped, about 30 seconds.

  7. Slice each duck breasts into 5 pieces. Place each piece of toast on a plate and top with sliced duck breasts. Drizzle Dijon mustard mixture over the top and serve with cabbage.

Cook's Note:

You can substitute Thousand Island dressing for the Russian dressing, if desired.


The nutrition data for this recipe includes the full amount of the mustard dressing and the rub ingredients. The actual amount of the mustard dressing and rub consumed will vary.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

1036 Calories
86g Fat
34g Carbs
32g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 2
Calories 1036
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 86g 110%
Saturated Fat 17g 87%
Cholesterol 134mg 45%
Sodium 2873mg 125%
Total Carbohydrate 34g 13%
Dietary Fiber 7g 24%
Total Sugars 8g
Protein 32g
Vitamin C 37mg 186%
Calcium 344mg 26%
Iron 6mg 32%
Potassium 345mg 7%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.