How to Cook a Duck

Written by chantel alise
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How to Cook a Duck
Duck is tricky to cook, but the ultimate reward is worthwhile. (Venison roast with roasted potatos image by Elzbieta Sekowska from

Duck, cooked properly, is amazing. However, duck that isn't cooked properly can taste worse than wallpaper paste. Unfortunately, the bird isn't simple to cook. It takes finesse and proper timing.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Duck
  • Season-all
  • Pepper
  • Paprika
  • Orange zest
  • Other seasonings and herbs of your choice
  • Orange and/or cranberry juice
  • Cranberries
  • Sweet wine or sherry
  • Roasting rack
  • Large rectangular baking pan
  • Aluminium foil
  • Oven
  • String and/or rubberbands

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  1. 1

    Get all of the ingredients together to season and prepare your duck for roasting.

  2. 2

    Take the duck out of its packaging.

  3. 3

    Check the duck's cavities to remove giblets.

  4. 4

    Cut away any excess fat within the duck's cavity, around the neck, or anywhere else on the bird.

  5. 5

    Clean the outside of the duck thoroughly by running it under water to remove bacteria from the bird's surface. Once finished, allow it to dry somewhat before seasoning.

  6. 6

    If the duck did not come secured, use string or rubber bands to hold the legs and wings in place against the body of the bird.

  7. 7

    Season the bird with 1 tbsp of Season-all and 1 tbsp of pepper as well as anything else you desire. Rub over the bird on all sides.

  8. 8

    Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C.

  9. 9

    Score the breast of the duck by cutting small slits into it with a sharp knife or by poking holes into it with a large fork.

  10. 10

    If you want, add additional seasoning into the scored portions of the duck or tuck in some natural herbs. Add a bit of orange zest or even some fresh cranberries.

  11. 11

    Place the duck on a roasting rack that can sit on the top shelf of the oven.

  12. 12

    On the lower shelf of the oven place a large rectangular baking pan half full of hot water. Make certain that it is placed directly underneath the roasting rack on which the duck is resting. The pan must be the same size or larger than the bird's roasting rack.

  13. 13

    Place a tent of aluminium foil on top of the duck, tucking it gently around the bird.

  14. 14

    Cook the duck 10 minutes for each ppund. After the appropriate cooking time has passed, check the duck for to see if it is done. If necessary, return the duck to the oven until it reaches the desired level of wellness.

  15. 15

    If you want the duck breast to be crispy, place the bird underneath the grill for about five to seven minutes to achieve the desired crispiness.

  16. 16

    Make a sauce for the duck while it cooks, if you desire one. Use the giblets to make a broth and then add a bit of orange zest and orange juice, minced onion, a dash of paprika, and additional salt and pepper. To thicken it into a gravy use cornflour and water. To sweeten the sauce a bit more, add cranberry or a sweet wine or sherry to the sauce.

  17. 17

    Once the duck is finished cooking, move it to a serving plate. Remove any string or rubber bands. Garnish and serve.

Tips and warnings

  • Make a list before you go to the grocery store to make certain that you don't forget anything.
  • If you want to stuff the duck, stuff it loosely rather than packing it as that will not allow proper air flow.
  • Duck is sometimes even better the second day around so don't be afraid to use it for leftovers.
  • As with any poultry item, let the duck sit for a few minutes after cooking so that the juices can properly settle.
  • Garnish plates with sauce and then put the sliced duck on top: It will look pretty and taste much better.
  • Don't tuck the foil too tightly around the duck as it is important that air flow freely in order for it to cook properly.
  • Never serve sauce on top of the duck as it will soften the crispy skin.
  • Be careful not to over cook the duck or it will become tough and difficult to eat.
  • Be careful not to under cook the duck since, as with other poultry items, that could be dangerous.

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