Crispy, juicy, and melt-in-your-mouth tender, there’s nothing better than roasted duck, but some people find the prospect intimidating. The good news is that duck is easier to cook than it seems, and just because it isn’t your traditional dinner bird doesn’t mean you can’t cook a stellar meal. Let’s delve into how to prepare and cook duck, whether you’re looking to serve it on a special occasion or want to indulge on date night.
Preparing Your Duck
You can probably tell by looking at it, but a duck isn’t small, and if you’re working with a frozen bird, you need to let it thaw for about two days. Once it has thawed completely, you’ll have to remove the neck and giblets by cutting the neck off in between the joints and pulling out any undesired organs. Then, you’ll want to wash the inside and outside with cold water and pat it dry with paper towels.
Scoring the Skin
Keep in mind that the main goal when preparing and cooking duck is to keep the skin crisp. Once you’ve prepped the bird, you’ll want to score it. Scoring the skin allows the fat to render, so you get nice, crispy skin when it’s done roasting. Be sure to score the bird in a diamond pattern so that the fat renders evenly. Cut deep enough so that you slice through the skin but not so deep that you end up cutting the meat.
Stuff, Truss, and Season
Now this is the fun part—here is where you get to stuff your bird with your desired blend of stuffing ingredients. You can use a blend of figs, pears, shallots, and thyme, or keep it simple with a mix of onion, garlic, and aromatics. There really isn’t a limit to the flavors you can mix and match here. You can even use a citrusy blend of oranges, apples, and lemons. Once you’ve stuffed your duck, simply tie the legs together—known as trussing—by using butcher’s string. You also really don’t have to go overboard with your seasonings. A blend of salt, pepper, and butter will do the trick, but it’s entirely up to your tastebuds.
Place your duck on the rack of a roasting pan, or put a wire rack over a baking sheet, and set your oven to 425°F when you’re ready to roast. Once your oven has finished preheating, pop the bird in the oven for about 10 to 15 minutes. After the timer goes off, lower the oven’s temperature to 350°F and cook the duck for an hour. You’ll know it’s done when the juice runs a very light pink, and the outside is brown and crispy. Brush some honey on the skin before you pop it in the oven again at 350°F if you really want to up your cooking game.
We sell fresh organic duck at Vincent’s Meat Market, so you don’t have to waste time thawing. Once it arrives at your door, you can prep and season it, throw it in the oven, and enjoy a delicious meal.