Spent the last few days in GA visiting my wife’s family for the holidays – we had a great time and as usual had our fair share of food and wine. My sister in law has developed a taste for duck recently, and being the adventurous amateur cook that I am, I decided to roast one even though I had only ever cooked duck breasts before – it’s just like a chicken, right?
Wrong. Now, while my duck did turn out OK in the end, It could have been better. Here’s what I did: I know that ducks have a thick layer of delicious fat under their skin, and I wanted to render it into the roasting pan. When you cook a duck breast, you just put it in the pan with no additional fat over a low heat – the fat renders nicely and crisps the skin. I thought I would try something similar with the whole duck, so I scored the skin over the breast, stuffed the duck with orange and rosemary, patted dry, seasoned, and roasted at 300 until it hit 150 degrees, basting it 2x with melted butter spiked with garlic, rosemary, and orange.
Meanwhile, I reduced some honey, soy sauce, and orange juice by about 50% – when the duck reached 150, I painted the glaze on and cranked the oven to 425 until the bird reached 160 at which point I removed it and let it rest. Upon carving, I found that while the meat did taste good, the fat was not rendered and the skin was not crispy. What did I do wrong?