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.
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.