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Aug 19, 2008 07:51 AM

Best way to cook duck

Hey guys. I thought I'd share this with you as it seems to work quite well:

take 2 duck breasts, perforate the skin/fat about 20 places with a sharp knife.
rub with cracked rocksalt. Not loads, but you should know your own taste.
Preheat an oven to about gas mark 7/230 degrees, but here's the trick; Get your (clean) grill pan and fill it with about half an inch of hot water and pop into the oven.
The aim is to get the oven as steamy as possible to keep the duck moist and the skin crispy.

Now, heat a pan (I use the technique where if it's slightly uncomfortable to hold your hand about 2 inches above, it's good to go), and lay your duck skin side down. It should start to sizzle immediately.

I'll warn you here, there's a lot of fat, and it can cause a mess when is spits everywhere. Now's the time to use a splashguard! :)

Now you want to heat it one side for about 4 minutes until the skin is quite brown (I got it a little black first try, but as long as it's quite hard and crsipy, it's cool), then turn it over (only turn once!) and do the other side for about 4 minutes. I'f you check now, you'll still see a layer of fat underneath, and a little will end up rendered in the pan.

Now take your duck out, and put them in the oven, on the grill, skin side up for about 18 minutes. Try to resist getting them out early, but keep an eye out.

When they're done, all of the fat should have been released, infusing the meat (and unfortunately for those who value duck fat, into the water), and leaving the skin crispy.

I found mine to be perfectly pink (like a medium rare lamb steak) and a little rare in the middle with some blood (but still piping hot).

I believe duck is also classed as game meat rather than poultry, and doesn't need to be cooked in the same way as chicken, as they're often kept in better conditions, and their muscle fibers are packed too closely to let bacteria get inside the meat. However, I'm not qualified as a nutritionist or anything else, so use your own judgement, and enjoy wonderful low-fat duck :)

Oh and BTW, I've heard of similar techniques, but this is partly based on the way my friend told me he cooks peking duck.

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  1. I'm going to give that try - thanks.

    3 Replies
    1. re: MMRuth

      You're welcome :) More people should eat duck. Actually, wait, if everyone did, there would be less for me!

      1. re: Soop

        Do you ever roast a whole duck? I've paraphrased a Simon Hopkinson recipe here for duck soup, using the roast duck carcass. It's terrific.

        1. re: MMRuth

          I love roasting duck, searing the breast, confit, etc. When I roast duck I rub the inside with brandy and let it sit in the fridge for 24 hours prior to roasting as per whatever recipe I choose. Lovely flavour.

    2. Just to clarify, you are speaking of 230 Celcius, correct? (That would be 450 Fahrenheit.) Sounds like an interesting method.

      2 Replies
      1. re: GretchenS

        MMRuth, No I haven't yet. Duck soup sounds souper :) It's one of my favorites when I eat chinese (noodles in soup stock)

        And GretchenS, yeah 230C.

        I wrote this up after as an actual recipe too fyi.

        1. re: Soop

          Here's the soup recipe:

 (direct link to ingredient list, "how to" is in the first post, more or less


          Roast Duck - loved this method when I used it this winter:

          Duck Confit - the duck (usually just legs?) is cooked at a very low temperature in duck fat - becomes incredibly tender and succulent. Lasts for ages, and can be sauteed etc. to get a nice crispy outsided. Also makes wonderful duck rillettes.

          Some posts on duck confit:

      2. So 8 minutes on the stove, over medium-high, then almost 20 minutes in the oven at 450? That sounds way too long -- I usually do duck med-low 8 minutes skin side down (to release all the fat) then flip and another 4-6 minutes on the non-skin side, beatiful still just pink interior.

        I agree though, more people should eat a lot more duck -- but where are the leg recipes, there's more to a duck besides the breasts. And I'll have to check out that muscle fiber thing... doesn't make any sense to me... the main culprit with poultry is Salmonella, which lives in the digestive tract -- not in the muscle fibers. I'll check that out though.

        1. I just score the duck breasts, season and put it fat-side-down in a COLD pan and turn the heat on low for 12-15 minutes, to render out the fat, then blast it, on high to crisp, turn over and brown the other side on medium-ish for a minute or two. They came out medium rare. ( I cheat and monitor with thermometer). Then i let them rest while making a pan-sauce.

          you can see my whole process and pictures the link below....posting pictures on here stinks.

          I agree more people should eat duck. I made a duck ragu (if you poke around you'll find pictures of it) recently too that was damn good. Using legs (I like legs/thighs better than breast)

          but....let us not dispute, confit of duck leg is THE best way to cook duck ;)

          1 Reply
          1. re: RPMcMurphy

            I don't know what a confit is :/

            With Chicken, I definitely like the leg meat more, but duck I tlike the breast more.

            Does your recipe make the skin crispy? I could try it, but the duck was on offer at our local supermarket, and it's just gone up T___T
            So, lamb tonight d ^__^ b

          2. That sounds criminally overcooked for duck breast. In general you want to serve duck breast a step more rare than you would a beef steak. So if you like your steak medium-rare, try your duck rare. Prepared properly, they're rather bloody and sooooo good and full of flavor.

            1 Reply
            1. re: tmso

              The OP did post "I found mine to be perfectly pink (like a medium rare lamb steak) and a little rare in the middle with some blood (but still piping hot).", which sounds good to me - plan to give it a try next time I make duck breasts.