Ducks, ducks ducks

Well, two duck questions.

First, I have a couple of quarts of dock broth. The ducks were seasoned with star anise, ginger, and other stuff, (see below) so the broth is, too. What should I do with it?

Second, I made roast duck for Lunar New Year. I liked the flavor, which reminded me of the fabulous roast duck I buy in China town. But the recipe completely failed with respect to getting crispy skin. And crispy skin is one of the great joys of roast duck. I think think it failed because I put marinade on the skin, and the marinade browned long before the skin was done, and I had to cover it with foil to keep it from burning. I will certainly not put sweet marinade on the skin again.

But the recipe also called for pouring boiling water over the skin. It probably also called for separating the skin from the bird by poking around inside, but instead of doing that, I did what I usually do for goose (and unseasoned duck) and poked hundreds of holes in the skin with a sharp fork. I wonder if the boiling water “closed up” those holes and prevented the fat from seeping out as it cooked?

Anyway, advice requested.

Here’s the recipe I followed:

Marinade: (per duck – I made two)
3 tablespoons Hoisin
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon salt
Lots of ground black pepper (perhaps half a teaspoon)
About three star anise, ground to powder with a mortar and pestle
About half a teaspoon of cinnamon
Maybe a quarter teaspoon of ground clove
Ginger root, peeled and finally sliced, about 1 inch around and 3 inches long
Skin of two clementines, cut and pressed in marinade to release oil
Three or four cloves of garlic, crushed

Boiled a large pot of water

Stirred marinade well and left to sit in a warm place while I prepared the ducks.
Removed innards and neck, rinsed and patted dry.
Stabbed skin all over with sharp fork
Put on roasting tray in deep pan.
Poured boiling water over ducks to contract the skin. Used ladle. Turned ducks to pour water all over.

Then sewed the loose neck skin over the up neck hole using poultry lacers.

Spread marinade all over exterior of duck. Used fingers and orange peel to spread it. Then put remaining marinade in cavity, with two scallions that were folded and bruised. Sewed up vent with poultry lacers.

Put on rack in roasting pan (water removed), covered with plastic wrap, and refrigerated over night, resting on one side.

First thing in morning, flipped to other side.

Early afternoon, removed from fridge, and left out for a couple of hours to warm a bit. I inserted a thermometer, and it took that long for the temp to increase from 35F to 45F, and I gave up and put it in the oven.

I started it at 425F (convection) on one side for about 20 minutes. Then I flipped the birds to the other side, and continued cooking on high for another 10 minutes, until it started to burn a bit.

Then I put the birds on their back, covered loosely with foil, and turned down the oven to 325F, and cooked another 40 minutes until the interior temp of the breast was 160F. (It rose to 165F as it rested.) At this point, I was going to be late to the party by the time I could cut and package the duck, so I declared it done.

The meat was tasty, although less cooked than perhaps people usually cook duck. The skin was tasty enough, but soggy and flaccid, not crispy and inviting.

No duck advice?


This recipe is from Cook’s Illustrated. They use a unique technique to achieve crispy skin – pump air into the bird with a basketball pump to separate the skin. They also hang the duck in front of a fan to dry it for 4-8 hours before cooking. I’ve never tried this recipe.

holy crap that’s a lot of work…ill leave it to the experts………

Never turn your back on them. They are horrible rapists!

Yeah, I’m not going to use a basketball pump. Nor hang them for hours. I get lovely crisp goose and chicken skin just by roasting…

Want to know about ducks? Alan Moore knows the score.

actually ducks have tried to take me out before … more than once ……
It happens when I feed the monsters , we have a park with a rather large duck population that’s well fed by park goers

Im standing there happily feeding the ducks theres only a few and all of a sudden one honks and a few more show up well they kept honking and more kept coming a few at a time … all of a sudden I have a horde of ducks and im out of bread …… I just think im going to stroll off ……
they follow me … every duck in the pond is following me irritated that im out of bread …. I start walking faster and I get surrounded and they get aggressive …. and im running and there chasing me …… and there getting snappy well park ranger whos there to check for fishing licenses sees me and fires a starter pistol … saving me …… … apparently it was laying season and the females were overly hungry …

Is it too much to hope that you might still have the skin? if not, do you think you could boil up some oil and fry strips of the skin in that, chicharrone-style?

If that was directed at my, those ducks have been entirely consumed. (Except for the broth, which I froze.) But I’ll probably roast another duck the weekend after next.