Here is a Letter From Our Chef on How to Prepare Roast Duck With an Orange Balsamic Glaze!
I kind of guesstimated 5-6ish pounds for the size. Based on that, the instructions below should work well. I also included a recipe for an orange balsamic glaze which works really well with duck!
You'll want thaw the duck for a day or 2 in the fridge. The night before you plan on cooking you’ll want to leave it uncovered in the fridge so the skin gets nice and dry, with no moisture.
Just before cooking, take the duck out and score the skin down to the fat. We like a diagonal crisscross pattern as it looks really nice! Make sure to use a really sharp knife and don't go all the way down to the meat (not the end of the world if you do, but try to avoid). You'll want to preheat the oven to 300.
Next, season really well with salt, pepper and a little onion powder inside the cavity and all over the skin. Then, fold the wings under the duck, similar to cooking a turkey or roast chicken. It helps them from drying out. Then you can either tie the legs together or make a couple of slits where the tail used to be and then tuck the tips of the legs into the slits. It'll allow for more uniform cooking.
For cooking, I like to put a wire rack inside of a roasting pan. Place the duck on the rack inside the roasting pan breast up. Take the knife and poke the skin with tip, similar to scoring, try to avoid going all the way into the meat. Place the duck in the oven.
After an hour, take the duck out, poke the skin with a knife again and then flip it so that the breast is facing down. Cook for another hour and then poke and flip again so that breast is up.
I highly recommend a meat thermometer. Insert it into the breast on the last flip, the 2 hour mark. We like our duck medium, so we cook till its about 135 or 140. If you like it cooked so there is no pink, cook till 150 or 155. Personally, I don't recommend going beyond medium but it's technically poultry and some people still have mixed feelings about it.
Once it hits the temp you want, pull it from the oven. Crank it up to 400 brush the duck with the glaze and put it back in for about 15mins. This helps crisp the skin. Pull it, brush with glaze again, and then let sit for about 10-15 mins before slicing.
For the glaze, I use 1/2 cup of balsamic, 1/3 cup of brown sugar, and the juice from 1 orange. Put it all together in a pan and simmer until its the consistency of like a thick syrup.
All together with prep and cook time, I'd say you'll be looking at about 3.5hrs, give or take a few. If the duck is smaller it'll go quicker, larger will take a bit more time. The meat thermometer will help out tremendously as oven temps fluctuate a bit!
- Jonathon Leonard