I’ve had a lot of requests for BBQ duck recipes and smoked duck so this page is dedicated to the best flavours that are perfect for the barbecue.
If you're buying a whole duck then look for soft supple skin without blemishes or tears, plump breasts and a flexible beak. There's a lot of fat on a duck, even wild ducks have quite a bit of fat and this can turn rancid very quickly so unlike game where you hang the meat, ducks should be consumed within three days of killing. This is most poignant in the New year at the end of the season (the season for wild duck is September until the end of January).
Duck is a strongly-flavoured meat, so can it can handle being cooked with other strong flavours. A common pairing is orange, sharp and fruity it can beatifully cut through the flavour of duck and I've taken a twist on this with my apricot and vermouth glaze. Duck also goes well with mushrooms so consider using mushrooms as a garnish in my smoked duck breast salad.
Having said that duck contains a lot of fat, it's fair to say that the case is less so with wild duck than farmed duck because the wild duck is more active and therefore doesn't store energy as fat.
Part of the challenge with any recipe is to either cut the fat off or to find ways of letting the fat render during the cooking process. Don't worry, it's not difficult.
In the kebab recipe you’ll simply cut the fat away from the breast, dice the meat and then you’re ready to go. If you want to grill the breast or the whole bird you’ll need to score the skin of the duck as this helps render the fat.
TIP - After scoring you'll then add seasoning and the salt leeches the water out of the fat therefore making the skin crisp up. The trick with scoring the skin is only to lightly cut the surface and into the fat. Don’t go right down into the meat otherwise you’ll end up with a dry bird.
It's very easy to overcook duck so keep a temperature probe to hand and check every so often.
When grilling over coals you're not going to have the ability to capture the rendered fat but in some of my other recipes you can so take the opportunity. Duck fat is full of flavour, in a lot of instances you can replace butter in a recipe with duck fat and unlike butter it has a high smoke point, can be frozen and re-used. Duck fat is fantastic for roast potatoes, you can also use it on the skin of other birds to help crisp the skin or you can use it in my smoked confit duck recipe below.
There may even be health benefits related to consuming duck fat. If you're concerned about your health or want to learn more then I found this article about duck fat and your health interesting.
Duck and Dried Apricot Kebabs Grilled Duck Breast Spit Roasted Duck
Duck and Dried Apricot Kebabs- Duck and fruits were just made for each other.
Grilled Duck Breast- How best to use the skin and fat to get a delicious result.
Spit Roasted Duck- Smothered with an apricot and vermouth glaze.
Smoked Duck Peking Style - Rubbed with five spice and more to give you that Oriental flavor.
Ducks were first bred in China so this is my homage to the "home of the duck".
Smoked Duck Breast - All you need to know to get a great result.
Smoked Duck Breast Salad - Don't just use smoked duck, you can do this one with grilled breast too.
Smoked Duck Recipe For Confit - A traditional French way of preserving duck (or goose) that I've adapted for the smoker.
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