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The Perfect Grilled Duck

By David Bowers
Published: November 8, 2010
Photo by John & Tanya Bäck
Don’t use a disposable aluminum pan. A solid metal pan, such as a 9x13-inch baking dish, whether an old one or an inexpensive one that you set aside for grilling, is preferable. Remember that duck is a dish best cooked for two, three at the most. More guests require more ducks. I like duck seasoned simply, but feel free to stuff half an onion and half an orange inside before cooking.

1     4- to 5-pound duckling
Salt and pepper

➊  Preheat a gas grill on medium, with the lid closed, for 10 minutes, until the grill reaches 375 degrees F. Prick the duck all over the skin with a fork. Trim off any visible fat.

➋  Turn off all but one of the burners. Put the duck in a roasting rack and put the rack into a metal 9x13-inch pan. Put the pan on top of the grill rack as far from the heat source as possible, and half fill the pan with water (the water should not touch the duck; if your roasting rack doesn’t hold the duck up high enough, use less water and top it off frequently).

➌  Close the lid and cook for 60 minutes. The fat will drip into the water, spitting and sizzling, but the water will prevent a huge fire.

➍  After an hour, turn the duck (and add more water to the pan if necessary). Close the lid and continue to cook about 30 minutes more, until a leg moves with ease, offering no resistance. The internal temperature should be 165 degrees F. If the skin is not thin and crisp and brown, you may need to cook it as much as 30 minutes longer, for a total cooking time of 2 hours, but check the duck more often, every 10-15 minutes or so, after the first hour.
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