Good Eats Duck Episode Question

Good Eats just showed their “What’s up Duck?” episode again. I have it on tape, because if there’s anything I love, it’s a good duck dinner.

I tried out this recipe they portray and everything went swimmingly…(snerk, ahem)…until I got to the iron skillet in the 475 degree oven. I thought I followed the directions exactly as directed in the program, but the skin burnt clean off, leaving me with skinless duck, which is not just ducky, but sucky.

So what went wrong? I didn’t have any butter or oil in the skillet because Alton didn’t mention greasing the skillet, and it certainly seemed like a dry skillet in the show. Plus, if you did that whole testing the heat of the skillet with some water drops like Alton does, wouldn’t the grease fly around rather unnervingly? I know I didn’t mis-time the length in the oven because I use a stop watch to count off the minutes when I cook. Are you supposed to turn off the oven after it reaches 475? Because Alton doesn’t mention anything of the sort.

I’d like to try again, but I don’t want another skinless duck. Have any of you out there tried the duck recipe on this show? It was on Food Network an hour ago, so you’d know which one I’m talking about if you saw it.

Or perhaps does anyone know how to crisp the skin on a steamed duck without completely vaporizing it?

Well, looking at what I think is the recipe in question, the only things I can think might have been an issue is resting time or the ACTUAL temperature of your oven. Is your thermometer calibrated?

Your skillet is probably not be seasoned well enough. That’d be my first instinct. Also, the duck might not be fatty enough, the cross hatches on the skin ought to allow plenty of fat to come off the duck to make greasing the pan needless.

Interesting. It was a new skillet. How seasoned should it be? I don’t use the skillet terribly often. Can you season a skillet artificially?

Then this is 100% definitely the problem. New skillets are utter shit as far as sticking, even ones that are “pre-seasoned”. There’s simply no way to effectively season a pan in a short period of time. They are easily the best cooking tool you can have, but they take time to get right. And in my experience the instructions for seasoning a pan you’ll find everywhere are mediocre at best. Did you coat it with Crisco and bake it for a couple hours like instructed?

There’s a lot of threads on the Dope discussing cast iron and seasoning and there’s a lot of good advice. Really the best thing you can do is just force yourself to use the pan as often as possible with greasy foods. Personally I’ve found that using it to cook large amounts of bacon is the best way to get it seasoned. Cook up an entire pound once a week, for breakfast and save the leftover bacon in the fridge for sandwiches and burgers. Hamburgers are also pretty effective ways to build up the seasoning. Remember, when you’re done cooking just wipe out the pan under hot water with a wash cloth, no scouring and no soap. If there’s a stubborn chunk don’t scrub it, use a grill scraper to knock it off instead.

Once your pan is well seasoned the duck will be a crispy bit of deliciousness.

Many thanks!

Actually Alton’s advice on caring for cast iron involves no water at all. Nope, pour some kosher salt in the pan onto the fat or grease that is left, and scrub with a paper towel. This is what I do and it works great. I’ve never washed my cast iron pan and it’s slicker than anything.

I believe this was mentioned on his very first show, Steak Your Claim.

Yeah, that method is oft mentioned and frankly I think it’s just impractical. It’s a waste of salt and it’s not always that effective depending on what you cook and how long it sits after cooking. Water won’t hurt it and it keeps the smoking to a minimum.

We watched that episode last night… and now my fiance is craving duck… but we won’t have a chance to eat any until way after Christmas… hmm…

And he’s got a wonderfully seasoned cast iron skillet.

Not being familiar with the show Good Eats, to me the title of this thread looked like a group of random words thrown together. Or possibly a thread about a show called Good Eats Duck, which is only slightly less confusing. I was wondering who Good was, and how they could possibly get a whole series out of it.

I like duck, but learned to chew it very carefully. In my world, duck generally came with size 6 to 7.5 shot included. Don’t think I’ve ever had any duck that wasn’t shot, often by me…

Just wanted to reiterate this; the issue is probably the seasoning on your skillet, but it’s definitely worth checking your oven. Of the two ovens I owned before the new one I just bought, one ran 75-100 degrees over the dial* and one ran 50 degrees under. A good oven thermometer is standard kitchen equipment, IMO.

  • Once I figured this out, it was the best oven ever, despite its lovely Harvest Gold exterior. Lined with quarry tile and with the dial pegged for an hour it made pizza you wouldn’t believe.