How To Cook Perfect BBQ Duck

The Easy Step-by-Step Guide To Cooking Mouth-Watering BBQ Roast Whole Duck

Like quail and pigeon, duck has some dark meat however, like those birds, it tastes beautiful, so don't let the colour bother you.

The two big points to remember about duck are;

  1. There is a lot of fat - a lot
  2. much of that fat will cook out - and you absolutely have to keep it for cooking with later

Now, let's get into it ...

  • 1 whole farmed duck
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 50 g butter
  • 2 teasp Chinese five spice powder
  • 1 large orange, quartered
  • 2 tablesp olive oil
  • salt & pepper for seasoning

  1. Make sure the duck and the butter are at room temperature. If you've just taken the bird out of the fridge, you'll need to extend the cooking times significantly to compensate.
  2. Put the garlic in the gut cavity, sprinkle some salt and pepper into the cavity and then push in the orange quarters. Drizzle in the olive oil as well.
  3. Use a small skewer to hold the opening of the stomach cavity closed.
  4. Rub some olive oil all over the duck and then rub the five spice powder all over the duck
  5. Now, grab some of the duck skin between your thumb and fore-finger and lift it from the meat and, using a skewer or something similar, pierce the skin right through. Do this in a 10-12 spots all over the bird as this will allow much of the fat to drain down into the pan. Remember, do not throw this away.
  6. Use your hands to rub the butter into the skin of the bird, making sure to get it all over. Then liberally sprinkle salt all over the bird and rub that in as well. Wash your hands.
  7. Pre-heat your hooded BBQ to 220°C (428°F) and when it reaches temperature, put the bird on a baking rack in an oven tray, breast down and put it in the BBQ.
  8. After 20 minutes check that the bird is cooking evenly and adjust it's position if required. Add the 6 tablsp of stock or water to the tray. You also need to lower the BBQ temperature to 180°C (356°F).
  9. After another 60 minutes, check that the bird is cooking evenly and adjust if required. Put in another 3 tablsp of stock or water. Close the BBQ hood.
  10. Now from here, the cooking time is going to depend upon the size of your bird. It will range from another 10 minutes (small bird) to 20 minutes (v. large bird). 
  11. Whatever the size, keep checking it every 10 minutes to make sure it is cooking evenly. If the level of fat in the bottom of the tray is getting high, remove some using a bulb-baster (turkey-baster) or a spoon. Remember, don't throw it away.
  12. The target temperature in the thickest part of the breast is 80°C (176°F) - check it using a thermometer probe. Put the probe in approximately 3/4 of the way into the breast meat, making sure you don't go too far and hit bone.
  13. Once the internal temperature is achieved, turn off the BBQ, but leave the hood closed. Leave the bird there for 15 minutes to allow the proteins to relax a little (i.e. the meat loosens up).
  14. It's important to note here that salmonella bacteria die at 74°C (165°F)so do not turn off the heat if the bird's internal temperature is much less than 80°C (176°F).

You've now cooked the perfect BBQ roast duck - serve and enjoy.

Perfect Basics - Whole BBQ Roast Duck - Advanced

Exactly the same process as above, but blanche the bird in boiling, heavily-salted water for 2 minutes the day before and then pat dry and store in the fridge.

Take the bird out of the fridge 2-3 hours before you intend to start cooking to make sure it is at room temperature before proceeding with the above recipe.

The above requires a significant amount of planning and effort but if you have the time and the inclination, the end result is stunning - you will be amazed at the difference it makes.

Other Perfect Basics

Perfect Steak - for steaks from beef, kangaroo, lamb, mutton, venison and goat.

Perfect BBQ Roast Beef - for large cuts of beef, kangaroo, lamb, mutton, venison and goat.

Perfect Chops - for pork chops and fillet (tenderloin).

Perfect BBQ Roast Pork - for large cuts of pork.

Perfect BBQ Roast Chicken - for roasting whole chicken.

Perfect BBQ Roast Turkey - for roasting whole turkey.

Perfect BBQ Roast Goose - for roasting whole goose.

Perfect BBQ Roast Pheasant - for roasting whole pheasant.

Perfect BBQ Roast Quail - for roasting whole quail.