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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Guest Recipe from Linda: Mighty Duck!

Another recipe from the redoubtable Linda!

Mighty Duck

Alton Brown (

The original recipe used the pan drippings to make a chard side dish. If you want those instructions, check out the URL. I had plans for a different side dish, so I skipped those instructions.


* 1/2 cup kosher salt

* 1 pint pineapple orange juice

* 15 whole black peppercorns

* 1 bunch fresh thyme

* 4 cloves garlic, smashed

1 (5 1/2 to 6 pound) frozen Long Island Duck, thawed

Prepare the brine: Combine all brine ingredients (*) in a plastic container with a lid. Place the lid on the container and shake to dissolve the salt.

Prepare the duck: Remove the pop-up thermometer, liver, gizzards, and heart. Cut off the wings. Using kitchen shears, locate the spine at the base of the neck. Cut up the line of the backbone towards the neck cavity. Turn the duck and cut straight towards the rear cavity. Remove the backbone. Turn the duck over and cut straight down the middle of the breast bone, leaving 2 equal duck halves. To separate the legs from the breast, flip your halves over so the flesh side is facing up at you. Using a knife, make a crescent shape cut between the leg and the breast. Lay your knife flat against the skin and make 3 marks in one direction and then in the other, making an X. Make sure that you are cutting through the skin and not the meat.

Brine the duck: Line the inside of a plastic lexan or a pot with a zip-top bag. Place the duck quarters inside the bag, and pour the brine over the duck. Seal the bag, ensuring that all air is removed from the bag. Brine the duck for 2 to 2 1/2 hours in the refrigerator.

Steam the duck: Bring 1 1/2 inches to 2 inches of water to a boil in a large pot. Place a colander into the pot and line the sides of the colander with the duck. Do not stack the duck quarters on each other. Cover and turn the heat to medium low. Steam the duck for 45 minutes.

Roast the duck: Set oven to 475 degrees F. Place a large cast iron skillet into the oven. Remove duck pieces from steamer and place legs, skin side down, into the hot skillet. Place the skillet into the hot oven immediately and cook the leg quarters for 10 minutes. Add the breasts, skin side down, and cook for 7 more minutes or until the duck takes on a deep mahogany color and the skin is very crisp.

Oh, yes. There will be a next time! This was delicious! A lot more steps than I usually am willing to put into a dish, but delicious, and worth the effort!

Notes: For the brine, I just put the ingredients in a gallon zip bag and vigorously squished it around to dissolve the salt, then put the duck pieces in the bag with the brine and put it in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours. If you’re careful not to puncture the bag with any sharp duck bones, you don’t really need the additional container. If you’re paranoid, go ahead and put the plastic bag into another, sturdier container.

Instead of roasting the duck in the oven, I took it outside and put a cast iron griddle on the grill, mostly because I was concerned about the amount of smoke I expected this process to generate. Next time, I won’t use the griddle. I think it would be just fine right on the grill, since I don’t want or need the drippings. I might even skip the steaming step and do most of the cooking on the grill, starting with indirect heat to cook it through, then increasing the heat at the end of the grilling time to crisp up the skin. The steaming process seemed to cook out some of the fat, though, and I wonder about how hot the fire/coals will get with all that duck fat dripping into it…

Thank you!

1 comment:

  1. This sounds yummy. I've not yet tried to cook a duck, but this may be a good recipe to start with. Especially as it uses the grill.