My friends at Maple Leaf Farms sent me a care package of duck, so I set out to shoot a video of my rotisserie duck recipe. Unfortunately, I didn’t really pay attention to the recipe as I was filming. “I know what I’m doing” I thought to myself…hah.1
I grill the duck and the potatoes, serve dinner, and everyone loves it. A few days later I edit the video, and only then do I notice things I missed. Like…the glaze. And the herbs to stuff in the cavity. Turns out, I made a grilling basics video – rotisserie duck with drip pan potatoes.
So…here’s the recipe that actually goes with this video. A few points:
If you only eat duck breast medium-rare, this is not the recipe for you. These duck breasts are well done – if not, the legs are too tough to eat. (If you want medium-rare duck breast, buy them separately, and use this recipe on the grill.)
Make sure you have a sturdy drip pan. Duck renders out a lot of fat – which is good, duck fat potatoes depend on it – but you don’t want a flimsy pan. Um…not that I ever had an aluminum foil pan full of duck fat buckle when I grabbed it one handed. And I certainly didn’t dump duck fat all over the inside of my grill, resulting in a huge grease fire, even after a thorough cleaning. Oh, no, never happened to me…
Don’t skip the drip pan potatoes! Duck fat potatoes are amazing. For my other rotisserie recipes, I suggest drip pan potatoes; for rotisserie duck, they are mandatory.
One duck will feed two big eaters, so I give each diner a half duck. (Yes, that means this is usually a dinner for just myself and my wife. If I want to serve anyone else, I have to add a second duck to the spit.)
Truss and Dry Brine the Duck: Fold the wingtips back underneath the wings, then truss the duck. Slash the skin and fat all over the duck in a 1/2 inch diamond pattern, being careful not to cut into the flesh. Season the duck with the salt and pepper, inside and out, rubbing the salt into the slashes in the skin. Put the duck on a rack over a roasting pan or baking sheet. Store in the refrigerator, uncovered, at least overnight, or up to 48 hours before cooking. This lets the skin dry, and gives the salt time to dry brine the duck.
Stuff, truss, and skewer the duck: Remove the duck from the refrigerator. Skewer the duck on the rotisserie spit, securing it with the spit forks.
Prepare the grill: Set the grill up for rotisserie cooking at medium heat (350°F). For my Weber Summit, I remove the grill grates, the preheat with the two outer burners (burners 1 and 6) on high and the infrared burner on high. Then I put my drip pan in the middle, over the unlit burners, and let the grill preheat for ten to fifteen minutes. After preheating, I turn the lit burners down to medium.
Prep the potatoes: While the grill is pre-heating, halve the new potatoes. Toss with 2 teaspoons kosher salt and 1 teaspoon pepper in a microwave safe bowl. Seal the top of the bowl with plastic wrap and microwave for 5 minutes to par-cook. Set aside for later.
Cook the duck and the potatoes: Put the spit on the grill, start the rotisserie spinning, and make sure everything is spinning freely. Close the lid and cook the duck with the lid closed as much as possible. After 45 minutes, pour the potatoes into the drip pan underneath the duck, and turn off the infrared rotisserie burner if the duck is browning well. The duck is fully cooked when the temperature in the thickest part of the thigh is 180°F; total cooking time is about 90 minutes.
Finish the duck and potatoes: Remove the duck from the spit, and transfer to a platter. Be careful - the spit is blazing hot. Remove the twine from the duck. Scoop the potatoes out of the drip pan with a slotted spoon, leaving as much duck fat behind as possible. Let the duck rest for 10 minutes, then carve and serve.
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This is how I cook, especially when I know the basic technique by heart. Recipes? I’m working here. I don’t have time to look at a recipe!↩
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