Friday, April 20, 2012

The Been There – Done That Duck

I thought you might like a break from Paradise.  We got home Wed. night and I managed to catch a cold before we left and now feeling pretty rough, so I'll be able to lay around in my chair and catch up on my blog reading.

While shopping at our favorite chicken store a few weeks ago, we picked up a frozen young duckling for our first ever try at cooking one.  I wasn’t sure if I wanted to roast, grill, or smoke it, but finally opted for cooking it on a spit in front of the inferred burner on the gas grill.  I looked on line a found a Mario Batalli recipe at Leite's Culinaria which included a delicious sounding baste/sauce. 

1/2 cup orange marmalade
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
One 4-to-4 1/2-pound duck
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Prepare a gas or charcoal grill for rotisserie cooking over indirect medium heat (or according to the instructions for your grill). Set up the drip pan under the center of the spit.
2. In a small saucepan, combine the marmalade, orange juice, balsamic vinegar, garlic, and rosemary and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool, then pour 1/4 cup of the sauce into a small bowl to use for basting the duck, and pour the rest into a small serving bowl.
3. Meanwhile, remove all the excess fat from the duck. Wash the duck and dry it thoroughly both inside and out with paper towels. With a sharp metal skewer, prick the duck skin all over in 50 places, especially the thighs. Season inside and out with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together and brush all over with a light coating of the orange-marmalade mixture.
4. Place the duck on the spit and secure it with the clamps. Attach it to the rotisserie mecha­nism, cover the grill, and cook until the tem­perature in the thickest part of the thigh reaches 160°F (71°C), 1 1/4 to 1 3/4 hours, depending on the heat of your grill. About 15 minutes before the duck is done, brush it all over again with more of the orange sauce.
5. When the duck is done, transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 15 minutes.
6. Carve the duck and serve with the remaining orange sauce.

Bev made the sauce and I did the cooking following Mario’s instructions for prepping and cooking the bird.

I found a wide range of suggested final internal temp to cook to (135* which surprised me to the 160* in Mario’s recipe), I pulled mine at 158* in the thigh and let it rest about 10 minutes.

Everyone wanted breast meat but me, so I cut them off and sliced across the grain and I cut off an entire leg quarter, but tossed it back on the grill for a little direct cooking on the non-skin side.   We served it up with some grilled asparagus and the extra sauce.

The skin on the duck was crispy and delicious from the sauce but the meat was much tougher than I expected so I don’t know if I under or over cooked it.  While we all loved the sauce and will use it for other things, we all agreed that we’d stick with chicken and this would be our last duck cook as the flavor wasn’t anything special.

It didn’t generate as much duck fat as Bev wanted for cooking other things, it was tough, and we got the asparagus over cooked, so except for the delicious sauce, the meal was pretty much a bust.  Oh well, it was just one of those days, but at least the duck is no longer taking up freezer space.

All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.

One year ago: Wilted Lettuce Salad and A Mojito

Two years ago:  April 15 Rerun


4/7/12  meal date


  1. Sorry that your duck meal didn't turn out as you had hoped. I have an inferred burner/spit on my gas grill as well but have never used it. Have you had luck using it with other meats?

  2. I forgot to say that I hope you feel better soon!

  3. I haven't had much luck with duck either Larry. You made the right choice to cook it on the grill. Last time I cooked one in the oven it splattered all over the place. The orange sauce sounds great. Feel better.

  4. Sometimes we just don't get a hit, do we? I bust quite a bit.. I think it's natural. :) I have cooked duck once a long time ago, but I roasted it. It was sort of the same thing, the skin was perfect, the meat not as good as what I've been served at a restaurant. Still looks good :)

  5. That glaze sounds worth eating with a spoon...especially since the duck didn't quite turn out. :/

  6. very nice Larry, on the recipe that is, sorry the duck didn't work - but I know that that recipe is very similar to one I worked on when I grilled quail, I learned that 150 is pretty good temp in the thigh area of game birds, but then, quail and doves are a lot smaller and will reach the temp fairly evenly - too, I think gamey birds produce yellowish natural juices whereas domestic runs clear...

  7. Happy you are home safely but sorry you brought a cold with you. We have never tried to prepare duck; just never had the desire, I guess. Your sauce will make my list but on chicken!

  8. Larry, At least you're adventurous enough to try to cook a duck! I would never have the nerve to give it a shot... Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

  9. Sorry you're not feeling well Larry; at least you are home and can rest now.
    The duck looks so good, but guess looks can be deceiving-too bad. My mother used to cook duck in the oven when I was a kid. It was rather greasy as I remember. I haven't tried it myself yet, and after reading your post, I think I'll stick with chicken too.

  10. But it looks so terrific! Haven't made one myself - so good for you for trying. Have a lovely weekend - hope you feel better soon.

  11. I pan fried duck breast and I was surprised at how tasty it was-very nice, Maybe the meat needs to be slow cooked then put on the grill to crisp...

    Don't give up on the duck just yet.


  12. I'm sorry to hear that you aren't feeling well, and I soon hope you are feeling better.

  13. Well shoot, colds are just plain annoying! Sorry to hear you caught a bug. I've never cooked a whole duck, but did make a fabulous duck breast recipe once. It was delicious. I have no idea what recipe I used. darn it. Maybe I'll try this one on duck breast.

  14. I've never actually eaten duck, doesn't sound appealing to me. I think my reaction would be like yours.

    And I have to laugh at spell check, it changed your infrared burner to an "inferred" burner! How funny is that? I think they need to come out with a spell check with food related terms.

  15. Oh darn, how disappointing! I've been thinking a lot about making a whole duck and was hoping to find a great recipe since the photos looked so good. It sure looks great!


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