BBQ Duck Recipes

BBQ Duck Recipes

The idea of barbecuing on the grill and whole ducks may seem like two disparate dishes on the menu. Usually, ducks are roasted in the oven or deep fried as in Peking duck. But BBQ duck recipes can be done. Cooked properly on the grill, you will be rewarded with a whole barbecued duck with succulent meat and a mahogany brown, crisp skin for your dinner table.

Barbecuing is define as “to roast or broil on a rack or revolving spit over or before a source of heat (as hot coals)” in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. But when barbecuing a whole duck, pay special attention on the fat that will rendered during the cooking process since ducks have a layer of fat underneath its skin.

roast meat 1

To render the fat first, some BBQ duck recipes suggest steaming the bird before placing it on the grill. Otherwise, you can just prick the skin of the duck all over or hang it during the cooking process. Arrange a drip tray (any large, aluminium baking pan would do) underneath the grill but away from the coals. This will catch all the fat that will be rendered as the duck is slow cooked on the barbecue grill.

After preparing the whole duck, mix together a special spice rub or marinade of your choosing. The dry spice rub may include sugar, garlic salt, black pepper, paprika and cayenne pepper to mimic that sweet, smoky barbecue flavor of other meats. Your marinade, on the other hand, may be comprised of Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, garlic, and black pepper. The rub may be applied just a few minutes before you fire up the grill while the marinade can be applied overnight.

Pre-heat the barbecue grill to 200°F. Slow cook the duck for about one hour for every pound. The internal temperature must be about 165°F when you measure it with a meat thermometer. To get the crisp skin, raise the heat about 10 minutes before the total number of cooking time is done. Avoid overcooking or burning the duck at this point by watching it closely until your desired texture is achieved.

The more ideal way for BBQ duck recipes is to just barbecue the duck in parts—particularly the breast, legs and thighs. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends grilling the breast at 6 minutes (grill skin side down), turning it and then grilling the other side for 7 to 8 minutes. The legs or thighs must be grilled at 30 minutes each side, turning every 5 minutes. Observe the same internal temperature as in the whole BBQ duck recipe.


Crock Pot Duck Recipes

Crock Pot Duck Recipes

Just as in any dish prepared in a slow cooker, crock pot duck recipes are convenient for the home cook and a family who appreciates a beautifully prepared whole duck or duck breast. Crock pot, which originated from a brand name of slow cookers in the United States, is now synonymous to the process of cooking food in low temperature for a very long period. The slow cooker is a great way to cook duck recipes. While the common way is to parboil and then roast the duck to get that shiny, dark brown crisp skin, a slow cooker can make things even simpler.

Duck with Turnips and Peas Stewed Recipe

Use a 6 quart crock pot for whole ducks weighing 4 to 5 pounds.  In crock pot duck recipes, cooking time may vary according to your crock pot design. But the most common step here would be the preparation of the duck. For whole ducks, remove the giblets as well as the fat hanging from the cavity opening. You can remove the skin entirely before cooking but if you want to serve it with crisp skin, prick the duck all over to render the fat first. Rub the duck with salt and pepper all over. If you have citrus, garlic and onions, you can insert it into the cavity for flavor.

To get the beautiful burnished brown skin, brown the whole duck in a sauté pan for 15 minutes on each side. You can also broil the duck later after removing from the crock pot.  Into the slow cooker, put in the other ingredients such as onions, shallots, celery and other herbs and spices. You could also put in chopped apples and potatoes so that it makes a raised bed at the bottom with which you can settle the duck. If you have a little round rack that will fit into the crock pot, that will be helpful too. With its raised position, the fat will melt down the body and drip into the vegetables below. That means more flavor is soaked up by the duck and the vegetables.

You can also just cook the duck half, thighs, legs or breast in the crock pot so it fits the pot nicely. Crock pot duck recipes of this sort suggest mixing fruits like peaches, apricots and orange peel along with the honey, soy sauce, and stock to give the duck a sweet, tangy flavor and balance it with the richness of the duck.


Fried Duck Recipes

Fried Duck Recipes

Fried duck could mean a whole range of frying methods, from the simplest pan-frying to the moderately time consuming deep frying. These methods bring out the duck’s versatility, crispness, and overall flavors. Of course everything deep fried will render crisp skin, as in a whole fried duck. But pan-fried duck breast nevertheless offers it’s own charm and beautiful brown surface.


When pan-frying duck, it’s best to use the breast fillets, which are more tender and easy to manage on the pan than say a whole duck carcass. It cooks uniformly as well, compared with the latter. Pan-fried duck breast taste better medium rare, like cooking a steak. This tip is from Sally Schneider’s The Improvisational Cook as mentioned in the Washington Post.

Pan-fried duck breast can be served with a side dish like braised endive, sautéed garlic potatoes, braised leeks, blanched asparagus, or lentils. For sauces, douse it with a reduction of red wine and orange juice, honey soy sauce, or cranberry sauce.

An interesting take on fried duck recipes is the duck confit, a specialty in the French region of Gascony that calls for curing the duck in salt, garlic, and herbs then slowly cooked in its own fat. The Wikipedia states that frying the duck confit legs until browned and crisp is a classic way of cooking. It is served with roasted potatoes, slow braised cabbages, and lentils cooked in duck fat. A rich fried duck recipe indeed.

While whole ducks are not recommended to be grilled or braised under the USDA guidelines, it can be safely deep fried. Deep fried ducks are a specialty in Asia. American food writer, author and cooking teacher Andrea Nguyen in her website Viet World Kitchen offers some tips in choosing the right duck for frying—it must be of the “Pekin” variety, procured at the Chinese or Vietnamese market.

She also suggests cutting the duck in half so when it goes into the deep fryer, either a wok or an actual fryer, it doesn’t crowd the pan and is easier to turn. It is best to fry the duck at a moderately low temperature, to help it cook through and produce that beautiful crisp skin that will make you love fried duck even more. As always, leftover fried duck pieces shouldn’t be a problem. Store it in the refrigerator for a late evening feasting or chop it and sprinkle over Asian-style fried rice.