Smoked Duck

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by mike5051, May 7, 2015.

  1. mike5051

    mike5051 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I bought a frozen duck a few days ago with the intention of smoking it.  It will be thawed by Saturday and I will get it on the WSM.  I've never eaten duck much less cooked it.  I'm seeking some help. I would like crispy skin, I achieve this on the Weber grill with chicken.  Can I get some smoke flavor in the duck as well as get crispy skin on the 18.5 WSM?  I've done turkeys at 325 on the WSM with great results.  I'm just trying to avoid the fatty confit style of duck.  


  2. bluewhisper

    bluewhisper Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Sounds like you're shooting for something like Peking duck, as far as texture goes. You might want to look up some of that method.

    If you've never worked with duck, be advised that it's tough to carve, you'll hit bone very quickly.

    Edited to add, expect a lot of fat drippings - and duck fat is the Nectar of the Gods.
    Last edited: May 7, 2015
    pauladelaine likes this.
  3. mike5051

    mike5051 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I think Peking also, I read a lot about scoring the skin and pouring boiling water to render the fat.  I know that duck fat is well known for its flavor, but texture is important to me.  Thanks for the input, I'm going to give it a whirl this weekend and I'll post some pics.

  4. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Don't do Duck . Tried it s a kid , never went back .
  5. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Definitely go with the Peking method of you want anything nearing crispy skin. Separate, score, scald and dry. Basically you get your fingers under the skin to detach it from the meat. Then you score it in the thigh and breast, you'll see where the fat pockets are. Then hit with about 2 quarts of boiling water. Just slowly pour it over. Then leave it in the fridge uncovered for at least 24 hours. Then smoke at 350° until (and JUST until) it hits 165°. Then if you want REALLY crispy skin, ladle 350° oil over it. Or if you have a big enough deep fryer dunk it for 45-60 seconds.
    Then be prepared for it to not taste like chicken. Even domestic ducks are gamier and fattier than even dark meat chicken or turkey. Really good, just different.
    A fruit based sauce goes really, really well with duck. Orange is traditional, but blackberry or blueberry are really good.
  6. mike5051

    mike5051 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Thanks for the info. Does separate mean cut it into pieces?  I didn't want to do that.  If whole, where do I stick my temp probe, breast or thigh.  They say it's all dark meat so it might not matter.  I believe I will be the only eating this duck, not a big deal if I'm disappointed in the results.  I may be one and done too oldschool!  I appreciate the help, really feel like a newbie with this one.

  7. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I find that the texture of the duck meat makes it better hot smoked roasted rather than cooked low and slow. 

    Roughly chop 1 garlic clove and about an inch of ginger and place in the duck cavity. Score the duck skin into a diamond pattern with a sharp knife and rub in a tsp of Chinese 5-Spice powder. Set up the smoker for indirect roasting and put the duck on the cooking grate with a drip pan underneath. Smoke at about 190-200 C (375-400 F) for about 2 hours until the skin is crisp and the duck reaches at least 74 C (165 F).

    Finely slice spring onions (scallions) and cucumber and serve with tortillas and Hoisin sauce.
    Last edited: May 9, 2015
  8. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    No, I just meant slide your fingers under the skin and separate it from the meat. It allows it to contract more and get crispier. Check the temp anywhere, the thickest part of the breast should be fine.
  9. mike5051

    mike5051 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Ok,  Kinda mutilated the skin, but it's separated, scored, scalded and dried.  I'm going to put it in the fridge uncovered for 24 hours. When should I season it?  I was thinking salt, pepper, onion, garlic.  


  10. mike5051

    mike5051 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Thanks Wade,

    I tried to score in a diamond pattern, really thought that there would be more fat beneath the skin.  I didn't mean to cut into the flesh, but once I was too late.  I'm not a fan of ginger or 5-Spice.  I'm going to cook it between 350 -375, hopefully it turns out well.

  11. mike5051

    mike5051 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I don't know about this bird....Here it is with SPOG prior to getting it in the smoker.

    Had the smoker at 350, temp dropped with the 6lb duck in it.  Trying to get it back up to temp.

  12. mike5051

    mike5051 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Pulled it off at 165 IT, juices are definitely not clear! Loosely tented and resting.  Smells good, just not used to partially cooked poultry.

  13. bluewhisper

    bluewhisper Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Looks like it's good but it needs more heating. Wrap it and bake it for maybe one more hour. Drive yourselves crazy with the aroma in the house.
  14. mike5051

    mike5051 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Thanks Blue,  I got it in the oven for a bit more cooking, the breast was at 150, I had my maverick in the thigh and it hit 165.  I thermapened both thighs and they were 165, both breasts at 150.  Glad I didn't serve it up yet!  

  15. mike5051

    mike5051 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Duck done.  Overcooked, soggy skin, not a favorite.  I put a whole chicken on after I removed the duck "hate to waste charcoal"  cooked it to 175 and it's awesome!  I did make some tasty garlic mashed taters with the duck drippings!  I do agree that duck fat is the nectar of the gods.

  16. eh1bbq

    eh1bbq Fire Starter

    I feel like most people don't realize you can eat duck rare. Personally, I would have separated this duck into the standard 8 pieces and cooked them separately. There's nothing in the world like a medium rare duck breast with the skin rendered properly. I wonder if you did it reverse sear with some smoke if you could achieve the same effect as properly cooked duck breast but with the smokiness that bbq brings with it. Duck thighs would be unbelievable....same with the legs.  Please don't get discouraged. Duck is a wonderful meat and has incredible flavour and texture if done properly.

    All of this being said, if you absolutely want to do it whole for presentation or meal size or what have you,  you could try doing it beer can style. This way it will cook more evenly and hopefully not overcook the breast meat.  Cheers.
    Last edited: May 11, 2015
  17. mike5051

    mike5051 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member


    I'm not discouraged, more disappointed.  I hate screwing up things that I cook.  I'm very glad that i wasn't serving it to anyone but myself.  I've heard so many wonderful reviews of properly cooked duck, I will achieve this!  Smoking is a journey, lots of triumphs and pitfalls.  I still enjoy every moment involved in the process.

  18. Mike,
    A co worker asked me this morning if I'd smoke some duck. Have you smoked any duck since?
  19. mike5051

    mike5051 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Sorry,  I haven't tried anymore duck.  I am the only one that will eat it in my family, so it's gotta fit in with cooking other stuff for the others.

  20. papichulo

    papichulo Newbie

    Killed a few mallards last week.  Picked feathers off two ducks and have them soaking in salt water over night.  I plan on scoring the skin and loading the cavity with apples and orange peals.  Put those patos in the smoker till IT is 165.  I'll take pictures if I can remember to do that.


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