Duck Tails (Woo-Hoo)!

I have wanted to cook a duck for a very, very long time. In fact last holiday season I found one in the frozen poultry section of my local supermarket and I bought one. And I stuck it in the freezer and it sat there…under frozen pizzas…and frozen taquitos…and popsicles until this weekend, when I gathered the gumption and nerve to cook that bad mallard.

The first thing that surprised me was the nice thick layer of fat that ducks have under their skin. I knew this caused a problem in duck cookery as said fat tended to melt fall and then burn in the cooking process producing much smoke. The suppliers of my duck had been nice enough however to slice the skin open and cut into the duck fat in certain areas enough to allow for fat drainage.

Now I had read of certain applications where you boiled the duck first to rid it of its fat before crisping it in the oven. I thought of this, but then I thought it increased the amount of pans needed and I would hate to lose flavor form boiling my duck. Sounded like an awfully English/Irish way of cooking my fowl. And I thought I could do better.

Due to the outer layer of fat on the duck I knew there wasn’t going to be much need for lubing or basting it also presented limited options for seasoning. I went with a straight forward liberal sprinkling of kosher salt and pepper all other the thing. I decided to keep it simple as this was my first experience.

After prepping, I then placed the duck on a roasting rack in a roasting pan. Set into a preheated 375 degree oven and cook for 20 minutes per pound, in my case two hours.

I was left with a delicious bird with tasty moist meat, and a pan full of drippings.

The fat of the bird literally melted off into the pan, causing some smells of smoke at first, but eventually a lovely pool of fat formed that sizzled away any drips of juice from the bird.

I served the duck with some basmati rice, keeping it simply. A duck is basically all dark meat so the meat from the leg was as tasty as the meat from the breast. And I tried not to overcook as I always heard overcooking duck is bad. The cooking directions on the bag the duck came in said 22 minutes per pound. I shortened it a little bit and just made sure to check with a thermometer before serving. Juices were clear so I was in the clear. After dinner I got as much meat off as I could so that I can make duck tacos later…..should be yummy.

I plant to cook duck again, and hopefully get a little more creative too. Also my big plans a goose, during Christmas!

    • Lindy
    • November 10th, 2009

    It’s moments like this that make me lament that we live so far apart. Duck tacos sound like the best day of my life.

    Javi and I were just talking about turkey-alternatives for our Thanksgiving dinner this year. I’m totally going to fill him in on your duck success. Maybe we’ll give it a try.

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