Duck goes really well with citrus fruits and this rotisserie spit roasted duck and apricot jam recipe will tickle your taste buds. I did this one on one of my trips to Le Mans and it really went down with the lads so much so that there was absolutely nothing left.
Duck is a fatty bird so it’s ideal for the rotisserie, especially the way I have it set up with the fire to the side and the drip tray underneath - no chance of a flare up and you get to catch all the fat.
Note:- Duck fat is tasty and has a high smoke point making it wonderful for roast potatoes and the best bit is that you can freeze it and re-use it.
If you can't set up with your coals to the side and you have a barbecue grill (charcoal or gas) with a lid then there is an alternative way and this involves an indirect cooking approach. I'll give the method below for a four burner gas set up and then adapt it for charcoal.
In addition to being a fatty bird there's also not as much meat on there as you would think so don’t skimp. You might look at the bird and think it big enough but with such a big fat layer protecting the breast, the amount of meat underneath isn't that great. I work on one duck for 2 or 3 people as a main course and you will need to reduce that ratio still if you’ve got some guys with big appetites.
Serves:- 2 people
Preparation Time:- 30 mins
Cooking Time:- 1hr 20 mins (2hrs for direct charcoal grilling)
Total Time:- 2hrs 30 mins
Place a roasting tray (to capture the rendered fat) over the two central burners, turn all the burners on and close the grill lid until you've reached 200°C (395°F).
Note:- It's best to capture all the rendered fat not only because you can do the roast potatoes in duck fat but it prevents all that fat from mucking up your grill.
Thread the duck onto the rotisserie, pat dry with some kitchen towel and sprinkle with salt.
Place the rotisserie rod into its motor bracket, close the lid on your grill and turn off the two central burners (under the roasting tray) leaving the outer burners on full.
Set the rotisserie turning and your spit roasted duck will take approximately 40 minutes per kilo (15 minutes per pound) to cook.
During this time, put the mix of apricot jam and vermouth in a saucepan and warm gently until it's well mixed. Once done, remove from the heat.
During the last 20 minutes or so of the cooking, baste the spit roasted duck with apricot glaze but save some to pour directly over the carved meat.
You can tell when your spit roasted duck is done by inserting an instant read barbecue thermometer into the breast and look for a temperature of 60°C (135°F). When you hit this temperature, remove your duck from the grill and allow it to rest for 20 minutes.
The steps are pretty much the same as above, the point about using a charcoal grill is that you need set up for indirect cooking so the charcoal to one side and the roasting tray with the duck over it to the other.
The only other thing to think about is when loading your duck onto the spit roast rod you need to mount it to one side rather than centrally.
The remainder of the method is the same as with gas above.
If you have the set up that I do where you have the charcoal loaded to the side of the spit roaster then in this set up you are cooking directly. The beauty of this set up is that you aren't confined to one duck over the centre of your grill, you can do as many birds as your spit rod will allow.
The negative is that because you are direct grilling it's important to get the balance right on the rotisserie spit roast. If it’s too heavy one side then the rotisserie will spin at a variable speed cooking one side quicker than the other, get it right and you’ll have one constant speed and an even cooking process. It’s not impossible, just take a little time to perfect it.
Roast the ducks for an hour and then start to mop the apricot jam mix over the bird(s). Keep going with the mop every 15 minutes for a further hour or until the core temperature of your duck breast reads the necessary 60°C (135°F).
When up to temperature, remove the spit rod from the grill and allow the duck to rest for 20 minutes before carving.
Note:- If you want to do the roast potatoes at the same time then par boil your potatoes for about 15 minutes. Strain the water from the pan and the give the pan a good shake (with the lid on!). This will gently break the outside of the potatoes and make them fluffy, perfect for absorbing the duck fat and turning crispy. As soon as you've got enough fat rendered in your drip tray you can throw the potatoes in. Give them a stir every now and then to ensure that all sides get a coating of fat and should you need it, you've got extra time to crisp up the potatoes when you've take the spit roasted duck out of the grill and set it to rest.