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 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.
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.
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.
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.