My friends Henry and Lorna (from The Cookbook Chronicles) were kind enough to buy me a roaster duckling from Dog Mountain Farm at the Queen Anne Farmer’s Market a couple weeks ago. I fretted for several days about how to cook this duck. I read article after article with conflicting advice—brine, or maybe don’t brine, dunk in boiling water first, steam the duck first, flip the duck every hour, and one chef even wrote that attempting a whole duck at home would always result in disappointment.
The very first time I cooked duck at home, I followed Alton Brown’s guidelines (butcher, steam, finish in oven) and ended up with a dry, very sad result. Since then, I have been successful with duck rillette, but have never tried to cook a whole duck. Until today, that is.
I settled on an easy technique of salting the duck, then roasting it at 300°, flipping it every 45 minutes. The duck was done in a little over two hours, after which I poured on a glaze made up of honey, molasses, gochujang, and a splash of orange juice. A few more minutes in a 400° oven to crisp the skin and it was ready to eat.
The duck was a little over done for my taste, possibly because it was smaller (3.75lb) than most ducks you find in the store. It was light years better than the failed Alton Brown duck. (Alton, I still love you!) The glaze added a delicious sweet earthiness but resulted in a slightly less crispy skin.
While the duck was roasting, one of my dogs spent the entire time guarding the oven. After it was done, they stared at me like I was torturing them. Actually, I should say that Oscar stared at me, while Zoey stared at the duck.
Two benefits to roasting a duck: the cup of delicious golden duck fat that was rendered, and the bones to make duck stock!