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The Christmas Duck

December 25, 2015
By

I bought a duck for Christmas, it was oven prepared, and looked great. The instructions were to roast it at 180℃ (350℉) for an hour and forty-five minutes. I decided to cook it in my pellet grill at a lower initial temperature – 82℃ (180℉) – to give it some smoke, before turning up the heat for about an hour and a half, in order to crisp it. Then I realised that the bird was ready stuffed. This changed my plans a little – I gave it a blast at high heat, to penetrate the bird and take the stuffing out of the danger zone, then reduced heat to generate a bit of smoke, then finished it off on high

The packaging instructions said to cook the duck in its foil tray. I wanted to do this, but I was concerned that this would have the duck sitting in its own fat for too long. So I improvised.

The duck came in a foil tray, which I wanted to use, but I didn't want the duck swimming in fat.

The duck came in a foil tray, which I wanted to use, but I didn’t want the duck swimming in fat.


So I inserted a smaller foil tray, upturned, topped with the fat/moisture strip that was under the duck.

So I inserted a smaller foil tray, upturned, topped with the fat/moisture strip that was under the duck.

Duck is now sitting higher, and will not be soaking in fat.

Duck now sitting higher, and will not be soaking in fat.

The duck went in at 11am. By midday, I figured it had got enough smoke, and cranked the temperature up to 180℃(350℉).

At about 1:20, the duck is done.

Duck cooked to 165℉

Duck cooked to 165℉

About to be covered, to rest.

About to be covered, to rest.

However, the potatoes aren’t brown yet, so the duck can rest, while they finish off. Meanwhile, I did my best to strain the juices in the tray from the fat, and got to work on a gravy.

And so to carving. The duck tasted great, although it didn’t actually take on much smoke. I could have probably cooked it on high throughout without much change to the taste. However, there did seem to be a smokiness to the gravy, which I made with the meat juices. Perhaps I am imagining it, but it may be due to fat being a good absorber of smoke.

Carving the duck

Carving the duck

The finished article. A mix of stuffed duck breast and a leg, a venison sausage, potatoes, carrots, parsnips, brussels and cauliflower. Plus a yorshire pudding – Malme family tradition virtually insists on yorkshire with roasts, no matter what the meat being served.

2015-12-25 14.15.47

With the meal, a glass of Hazelnut Brownie, a wonderful beer from Lincolnshire brewery Batemans. Chocolate, fudge and hazelnut, and a beautifully smooth taste. A little overpowering for the duck, so I left it and had it for pudding.

One Response to The Christmas Duck

  1. Chris Malme on December 26, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    Just stripped the duck, for my dinner later today. I had a massive lunch yesterday, and yet I reckon I have enough for two more decent meals – a whole breast, a third of a breast and a leg. Deceptive little bird – if I had wanted to, I could have easily fed 4 adults with this, together with the usual Christmas trimmings.

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