View Full Version : Any advice for roasted duck?

12-21-2012, 01:28 PM
Hey guys, my mom called me the other day and asked if I had any suggestions for Christmas dinner. For whatever reason, I said we should cook a duck. I don't know why, it's never been a part of our Christmas tradition, I've only ever eaten it a couple times and I've certainly never tried to cook one. Is there any mystery to it or is it fairly straight forward? Should I brine like a turkey? Do I roast at 350* the whole time until done or should start high/low and switch the temp around in the cook? Am I overthinking this? I just want a good, juicy duck with crisp skin. I'm really interested in hearing about any special techniques, but if you have a good recipe I'm interested as well.


El Pescador
12-21-2012, 01:38 PM
Duck has a lot of fat in it so it's fairly forgiving. Easiest way to cook it is to spatchcock it. Duck is one of my favorite things to eat as long as I don't have to pluck the damn thing. Even if you buy one you'll propably still need a set of tweezers for the pin feathers.

12-21-2012, 02:13 PM

That is why I like shooting late season duck up here in the north. Little to no pin feathers they all turn downy and are super easy to pluck.

I usually go low and slow and then broil or crank up the heat to crisp up the skin.

12-21-2012, 03:02 PM
I cooked a whole duck a few weeks ago for the first time. Interesting to say the least... in my experience it's been one of the more difficult birds to cook whole, just 'cuz it's a bit different that chicken or turkey.

I split it in half and cut out the spine. Salted each half and left uncovered in the fridge for a few hours. Heated up two big steel pans on medium - not too hot - and laid each half skin side down in the pan to render some fat and crisp the skin. When the skin was crisp-ish and a good amount of fat was in the pan, I flipped the bird and added onion, carrot and sweet potato. Put the bird on top of the veg. In the oven at 300 for a while, until all was gently cooked through.

The results was good but not stellar. Sweet potato wasn't a good choice, but it's all I had on hand atm, and they turned soft and mushy. Carrot and onion were fine. Everything absorbed a lot of duck fat, so they tasted awesome. The breast meat was a bit dry, not like shoe leather, but drier than I prefer. The leg meat cooked well, but still a bit dry. And there's a lot of bin in duck compared to what we're used to in a chicken - not nearly as much meat as a similarly sized chicken. But that's how chickens have b

I think the best approach may be to quarter the bird and treat the legs and breasts separately. Duck breast is best medium rare, and leg needs a good low and slow, hence the confit.

I'm sure some other guys have more experience with whole duck, but I found it a tricky one. Definitely need to play more with it.


(I also did a couple of turkey wings that were left over from Thanksgiving).

12-22-2012, 10:12 AM
Brush all over with honey before baking.
Rest well.
When rested, cut in two lengthwise, take out ribcage and any other bones and dirt apart from the legbone. Dont tear the skin. When you have the half cleaned, just put the meat side together, breast underneath and leg with bone on the top. When done proberly it looks fabolous.

From the roasting tray pick the fat, can store for frying or confit, and deglazewith somethng - might be madeira, orange juice, apple juice, chicken stock or whathavya. That way you have jus.

Can stuff with orange and cinnamon, apple marjoram and garlic or just onion and thyme. Sky really is the limit but please dont stuff it with lobster mousse :)

NO ChoP!
12-22-2012, 10:57 AM
It takes time to render all the fat, so slow and low is the way to go. I usually glaze it and crank up the heat the last fifteen.

Orange marmalade cut with soy....

12-22-2012, 12:05 PM
Try beer can duck. Prick and s 'n p skin, put herbs inside and set on a can of beer or one of those vertical chicken stands. Use a roasting pan lined with parchment paper. You'll have a crispy tender duck with most of the fat in the pan.

Be prepared for a bit of smoke.