As a fan of roast duck, it was definitely one of the first dishes I was anxious to learn how to cook in Convection and in the Convection Steam oven. Like many people, I had avoided cooking duck at home because the recipes usually began with instructions to cook the duck at a high temperature for 20 minutes to render the fat. If the duck was placed directly on a roasting pan the result was fat exploding all over the oven, the process was definitely not user-friendly.
What are the Benefits of Roasting Duck in Convection?
Even though duck has a good layer of fat the duck meat itself is not marbled with fat so it benefits from long slow cooking to tenderize the meat without drying it out. During the cooking process, the fat renders providing you with a very healthy and delicious cooking fat that can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer for about six months. Potatoes and root vegetables roasted in duck fat are outstanding but the fat can also be used for general cooking.
How to Prepare Duck for Roasting
To prepare a duck for roasting, remove it from the wrapping, place it on a rack in a shallow pan that will fit into the refrigerator, and blot it dry with paper towels. Give the duck a good rub inside and out with about a tablespoon of Kosher salt and a dry spice rub if you are using one and place it uncovered or covered loosely with a sheet of wax paper in the refrigerator overnight. Remove the duck at least an hour before roasting to come to room temperature.
Roasting a Whole Duck
Cooking the duck on a rack is important because so much fat will render during the cooking process and you will want to capture the rendered fat easily. Pricking the skin (not the meat) all over with the point of a sharp knife will help release the fat.
Because so much heat escapes the oven each time the door is opened, it’s generally best to leave meats roasting undisturbed. However, with duck, you will need to drain the fat off part way through the cooking process before you increase the oven temperature for the final cooking phase. Ideally, place the duck on a rack that is easy to remove from the roasting pan so you can easily pour off the fat.
Be sure to have another pan handy to rest the duck on while doing this and an 8 - 10oz, stainless, glass, or ceramic container to pour the fat into.
Temperature and Timing for Roasting a Whole Duck
Plan approximately 2 hours for roasting a 4 - 5lb duck. If your oven is equipped with a meat probe insert the probe into the thickest part of the breast, taking care not to touch any bone, and program the probe to an internal temperature of 155F.
For the first hour and a half cook the duck at a low temperature of 325F, then remove the duck and pour off the rendered fat. Now increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees and return the duck to the oven for the remainder of the cooking time. The duck will need approximately another half an hour of cooking time and should rest for 15 minutes before carving.
Now that you have increased the oven temperature you can toss some potatoes in the rendered duck fat and slide that tray into the oven under the duck.
How to Carve a Whole Duck
Duck isn’t carved in the traditional sense, there just isn’t enough meat on the bone. The easiest way to serve the duck is to cut it into four pieces with poultry shears. I apologize I don’t show that step in the video, but this D'Artagnan (website) is an excellent resource for buying ducks, as well as providing cooking and carving tips.
This recipe provides instructions for roasting a duck in either a Convection or Convection Steam oven and if you are looking for an easy way to enjoy duck without having to do any carving, try this recipe for crispy braised duck legs. There are so many delicious duck recipes I hope you will include some in your cooking during the winter months.
Continuing the theme of special occasion foods, my next post will cover cooking lobster tail in Convection and Steam ovens.
Your Convection Enthusiast