So guess what we had for dinner last night…..
We’d long talked about whether it was possible to grill a duck, but shied away fearing that all the fat would cause massive flare ups, burnt skin and much sadness.
Our fears were completely unfounded. Cooked over a low heat (about 20 or so coals on either side of the bird), we had the most amazingly flavorful, non-fatty, crispy skinned duck ever. Even better, this technique means that the house wasn’t smoky and the oven didn’t need cleaning afterward.
Here’s the scoop – note: you want to start this about 5 hours (or more) before serving.
1 duck (about 4-5 pounds)
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp fresh rosemary
2 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
1 tsp salt
Mince the garlic and rosemary. Crush the fennel seeds in a mortar and pestle if you have one, or otherwise bash them up as much as you can. Mix the herbs, fennel and salt, then rub inside and outside the duck – it will coat the bird fairly thinly. (I tried to rub the herbs under the skin, like I do with roast chicken, but couldn’t manage to separate the skin from the meat in any reasonable way – therefore settled for some on the inside as well as outside).
Let the duck marinate in the rub for at least 2 hours, preferably more.
Light about 40-50 coals in your grill, then when they’re hot, separate to piles on each side of the grill, parallel to the way your rotisserie runs. Place a drip pan in the center (this is required in order to avoid sadness and also gives you the opportunity to make awesome roasted potatoes in duckfat a little later on).
Impale your duck on the rotisserie and cook. Cooking time will be 2 1/2 hours total. Check the duck periodically – you might want to drain some of the fat out of the drip pan. About halfway through, prick the skin all over so that the fat runs out even more readily (it’s easier after the skin’s crisped up a bit). Add more coals at this point too.
Keep cooking, siphoning off the surplus fat until the meat is tender and the skin’s lacquered, about 2 1/2 hours total.
If you want to take this over the top, after 1 1/2 hours, drain the drip pan so that there’s only a minimal amount of fat in it. Toss in a handful of quartered yukon gold potatoes. Then keep cooking as above.
no more pictures, because we were too busy eating!