Slow roasting is the key to cooking duck perfectly and you can do this on the grill or in the smoker. But, before you begin cooking duck, you need to keep in mind some important things. Duck does not cook and taste like chicken. This is true even if you cook duck breast and other individual parts. It is entirely dark meat and has a thick layer of fat that you may want to get rid of. Ideally, a cooked duck has little or no fat left in it. Also, it needs to have crispy and thin skin.
How to Get Rid of Duck Fat
When cooking a duck, you need to focus first on removing the fat. You can do this in many ways such as steaming the meat over boiling water for around 20-30 minutes. This method cooks the meat and blocks the absorption of smoke flavor when you cook the duck. But, you cannot use this method if you wish to grill or smoke the duck.
Moreover, you can also pierce the duck’s skin at regular intervals, about every inch over the entire duck surface. But, make sure you just cut through the skin and fat without cutting into the meat. You can do this perfectly by using a knife to gently push into the skin. You can more easily cut the fat than the meat itself so after cutting through the skin, push carefully until you feel resistance. Such vents will let the fat drain from the bird.
Traditionally, a duck is cooked over a live fire. This lets the fat drain away and burns off in the fire. When cooking the duck on a gas grill, the fat will catch fire and you get the bird nice and crispy in just around ten minutes, which is something you don’t’ want. Whether you prefer to use a charcoal or gas grill, you need a drip pan for catching the greasy fat when it drips off.
How to Grill the Duck
When grilling, set the roasting temperature around 325 F and hold it there for around 2-3 hours. Since duck tends to cook longer than chicken, there is enough time for the fat to melt away. To know when your duck is done, check if the temperature hits 165 F. Then, ensure the skin is crisp and thin. Also, the surface of the duck should be nice, even brown in color.