How to Slow-Roast Duck

Updated February 21, 2017

Duck meat has a rich flavour, similar to a pungent dark meat chicken, with an oily consistency. However, if you prepare it incorrectly, the resulting meat will be chewy, with an unpleasant taste. While you can cook individual cuts, a whole duck will best retain its flavour and moisture. Slow-roasted duck will have succulent meat and requires minimal preparatory effort. To slow-roast duck, allow for approximately four hours of baking time. This recipe is for two whole, slow-roasted ducks.

Preheat an oven to 260 degrees Celsius.

Combine the salt and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the exterior and interior of each duck with a thin coating of the mixture.

Puncture the skin of each duck 30 times with a thin knife. Take care not to puncture the flesh beneath the skin.

Place one neck, one sprig fresh thyme, five cloves garlic, eight shallot halves and 2 tbsp fennel seeds within the cavity of each duck. Tie the legs of each duck together loosely with a length of kitchen twine.

Place the ducks into a large roasting pan, breast side up, and cover loosely with a sheet of aluminium foil. Roast for 15 minutes and reduce heat to 149 degrees Celsius. Continue to roast for an additional 15 minutes.

Baste each duck with the juices and fat from the pan, and continue to bake for three hours. Repeat the basting process every 30 minutes.

Add the olives to the pan and continue to roast for 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and place the ducks on a cutting board.

Pour the juices and olives from the pan into a blender. Add the lemon zest and juice. Pulse the blender on high until the ingredients form a smooth sauce.

Remove the vegetables and necks from the cavities of the ducks. Place the ducks on a serving platter and arrange the vegetables around each one. Slice and serve with assorted veggies. Drizzle the sauce from the blender over each plate before serving.


Allow duck to come to room temperature before refrigerating leftovers.

Things You'll Need

  • Two 1.81kg. whole ducks (cleaned, with all feathers and quills removed, necks reserved)
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp ground black pepper
  • Small bowl
  • Thin knife
  • Two sprigs fresh thyme
  • 10 cloves garlic, skin on
  • Eight halved and peeled shallots
  • 4 tbsp fennel seeds
  • Kitchen twine
  • Large baking pan
  • Aluminium foil
  • Baster
  • 1 cup pitted black olives
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • Blender
  • Serving platter
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