We absolutely adore roast duck, and if you’ve ever enjoyed duck, we’re guessing you do too. Many people have enjoyed the combination of crispy skin and red-meat flavor at restaurants and are intimidated to try it at home. Don’t be scared to cook a duck – you can do it! Cooking a roast duck does take a few more steps than roasting a chicken, but it’s easy, and we are here to walk you through the process.
Since ducks are waterfowl, they have a prominent layer of fat underneath their skin. This fat is incredibly flavorful, but you need to make sure to cook it completely (or render it) while you roast the duck. By pricking the duck skin and then pouring boiling hot water over the skin, you’ll be able to enjoy perfectly crispy skin and rendered fat.
While ducks are often hunted, we do not sell wild ducks. We sell farm raised White Pekin ducks from Maple Leaf Farms. These ducks have a less “gamey” flavor than the Mallard ducks that are commonly hunted, and are also more tender than their wild cousins. We love working with this family-owned Midwestern company that values quality and humanely raised ducks!
Speaking of that fat, it is valuable! People (like us) pay good money for duck fat because it is so flavorful and has a high smoke point. You can make incredible roasted potatoes with duck fat or use it in place of any other cooking oil. We recommend roasting your duck in a rack over a roasting pan to help in collecting the fat that cooks out of your roast duck. Trust us, you’ll be grateful you saved it!
We are seasoning our roast duck super simply with just salt and pepper. There are so many different ways you can season your duck and plenty of recipes that feature more complex seasonings. Here are a few suggestions for alternative seasoning combinations:
- Many ducks come with an orange sauce seasoning package. Orange + duck = delicious. You can use a orange seasoning packet, or rub orange zest on the duck to add this classic flavor combination.
- Various Chinese cuisines often feature duck as a prominent ingredient. I like to occasionally season my duck with a Chinese Five Spice rub to bring aromatic complexity and savoriness to the duck.
- You can add to the salt and pepper base by using a simple dried herb blend, or a little bit of garlic powder – whatever tastes good to you!
Once cooked, ducks can be carved and served like other poultry. If you think taking on cooking a whole duck may be too much for you, you can always purchase just a duck breast and follow this recipe to have a delicious meal of duck for 2.
Enough said – on to the roast duck recipe!
- 1 whole Duck (whole)
- 1 Tbsp Sea Salt (paper removed and top trimmed)
- 2 tsp Pepper
Defrost the Duck, either in cold water or over 2 days in the refrigerator, and remove giblets from the interior cavity. Trim any excess fat that may be around the neck and the body cavity, then rinse the duck inside and out. Take a sharp knife and prick the skin all over, making small holes through the skin into the layer of fat. Place the duck, breast side up, on a rack over a roasting pan, and then pour 2 cups of boiling water on top of the duck. This will help tighten the skin so it crisps while it cooks.
Let the duck cool slightly, then dump any water that may be in the cavity into the pan and pat the duck dry. Dump the water from the pan. Season the duck liberally (inside and outside) with salt and pepper.
Place the duck in an oven preheated to 425ºF and cook for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350ºF and cook for 30 additional minutes. After 15 minutes more, remove the duck from the oven and carefully turn the duck over so it is now breast side down. Return to oven and cook for an additional 20 minutes and flip duck once more. Cook for a final 20 – 30 minutes until the duck thighs reach and check temperature. The duck should be at least 165ºF in the thighs when it is cooked, although you can cook up to 180ºF for a more well done duck. Cook to temperature, not time as all ovens are different.
Once the duck is cooked, remove from oven and let rest for 15 minutes before carving. Drain the accumulated fat from the roasting pan and save for use in cooking. Enjoy!