Whole Roast Duck

8 Oct

OK guys. I made my first duck.

It was a tough decision to go French or Chinese, but I went with Chinese style and it was DELISH. Next time I’ll try a French recipe.  I served it up for a small dinner party with friends, and it was a hit.  In order to get the most fat out of it as possible, and to get the crispiest skin, I placed it on a rack inside of a roasting dish and slashed a diamond pattern through the skin and fat layers all over. I rotated it every hour. When I was done, I had about 1 1/2 cups of duck fat, which I used to fry potatoes in for brunch the next weekend. Another thing you can do with it: slather it all over a whole chicken and roast it.  Chicken roasted in duck fat? Does it get any better than that?

Whole Roast Duck


1 Whole Pekin (Long Island) Duck 4-5 lbs (I used a Bell and Evans Young Duckling from Whole Foods, but you can also get one in Chinatown!)

2 tablespoons fragrant honey

2 tablespoons molasses

6 tablespoons oyster sauce

2 tablespoons orange juice

4 scallions, roughly chopped

6 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced

4 bay leaves

1 handful basil and cilantro, torn

1 medium fresh red chili, thinly sliced

salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 300°. Remove all the innards from the duck.  They might be in a bag, they might not be.  Mine were not.  If you want, you can keep the liver and make Pâté or sauté it with some butter, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper and spread it on a rustic bread. I didn’t do that this time, but it’s a project I hope to take on soon.

Wash the duck inside and out and pat it dry with paper towels. Grab a pair of pliers or tweezers and remove any quills that you see (if there are any). Trim off any extra skin, which there most likely will be. Throw it away or render it if you want some extra duck fat.

Next, score the skin.  Using a very sharp knife, cut a diamond pattern across the whole top of the duck. Then prick it all over with the tip of the knife. Make sure you are only pricking and cutting the skin and layer of fat, not the meat! Tie the legs together with some kitchen twine.

Sprinkle the duck generously with salt, then put it in the oven. After 1 hour, remove the duck and prick it all over again.  When you do this, rich melted duck fat will seep out. Make sure you get the area around the legs where the most fat is. Turn the duck over, breast side down, and roast for another hour at 300°.

After the second hour, remove the bird, prick it all over again, and turn it breast side up. Roast for another hour at 300°.  After the third hour, pull out the duck again.  It should be starting to look pretty crispy.  Prick it all over and turn it breast side down. Roast at 300° for a final hour.

Meanwhile, mix the ingredients for you glaze in a small saucepan over Low-Medium heat for about 4 minutes.  The sauce should start to thicken.  When it does, remove it from the heat.

After the fourth hour, take the bird out of the oven. Raise the temperature to 400°. Pour the duck fat from the roasted pan into a heat-safe container.  Once the oven hits 400°, turn the bird breast side up back on the rack and stick it back in the oven.  Roast for ten minutes.  This helps the skin get a bit crispier. Brush the duck all over with your glaze, then stick it back in the oven for 5-7 minutes. Keep a close eye on it so that the glaze doesn’t burn.

Let the duck sit for a few minutes until it is cool enough to cut, then carve it as you would a chicken and serve! And eat fast, because it will be gone before you know it.


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