Grilling, Sunday dinner
comments 12

Beer Can Duck

Beer Can Duck

Beer Can Duck

This post is indirectly sponsored by my friends at Maple Leaf Farms. They commissioned me to take pictures of duck on the grill for their website; the beer can duck was so good that I had to share the recipe.

Or, as my inner 13 year old likes to call it, Beer Butt Duck. [Heh. Heheh. Heh.]
The trick to beer can duck is a 16 ounce can.3 Thanks to pint cans of Irish beer, they’re easy to find nowadays. 4 Once you have a big can, dispose of 2/3rds of the beer – gotta keep the cook lubricated – then proceed with the recipe.

As I’ve mentioned before, roasted whole duck is not for people who want medium-rare duck breast. The legs have to be cooked long, to make them tender and shreddable. The breast meat will be well done by that point. Now, don’t get me wrong, the breast will still be tender and juicy thanks to all the melting duck fat. But, in the end, the legs make the (whole) duck.

Recipe: Beer Can Duck


  • Grill (I love my massive Weber Summit)
  • Drip pan (9 by 13 aluminum foil pan)


clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon

Beer Can Duck

  • Author: Mike Vrobel
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 2-4 1x


Beer can duck recipe – which my inner 13 year old insists on thinking of as beer butt duck. Heh. Heh. Heh.


  • 1 whole duck, giblets discarded, skin around the neck trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt (or 2 teaspoons fine sea salt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 (16) ounce “tall boy” beer can, 1/3 full of beer, a couple extra holes opened in the top with a can opener.


  1. Season the duck: Unwrap the duck, remove everything from the cavity, and pat dry with paper towels. Trim the neck skin just below the nub of the neck left on the duck. Poke the duck skin all over with a paring knife, so the fat can escape. Poke through the skin, but not into the meat – I poke with a very flat angle so I stay away from the meat. Sprinkle the duck with the salt and pepper, inside and out. (If you have the time, refrigerate uncovered, overnight to 48 hours, for a dry brining effect.)
  2. Sit the duck on the beer can: Spray the beer can with a fine coat of cooking spray. (This will make it easier to pull the can out of the duck when it is done cooking.) Set the partially full can of beer on a cutting board, and lower the cavity of the duck onto the can. The duck should sit all the way down on the can, with good posture – spine pointing straight up, and the tail and the knobs of the drumsticks touching the cutting board. (If the duck isn’t sitting all the way down, grab the can and the duck and wiggle them around – the edge of the can is probably caught on the spine of the bird.)
  3. Set the grill up for indirect medium heat Set the grill up for indirect medium heat (350°F), with a drip pan under the duck. For my Weber Summit, I remove the grate and a couple of burner covers in the middle of the grill, and put the drip pan so it rests on the burner and is wedged between the remaining burner covers. I put the grill grate back, preheat the grill with all the other burners on high for 15 minutes, then turn off all the burners except for the two next to the drip pan, which I leave on high. This gives me an internal temperature of about 350°F. (Summary: Burner 1 on high, drip pan replacing burner covers over burner 2, burner 3 on high, other burners in the grill off.) Finally, I brush the grill grate clean with my grill brush.
  4. Cook the duck: Carefully transfer the duck to the indirect heat part of the grill grate. (If you have help, ask them to walk with you to the grill, carrying the sheet pan while you hold on to the duck. Then have them hold the pan while you lift the duck and can on to the grill.) Close the lid and cook until the duck reaches 185°F in the thickest part of the thigh and leg, about 2 hours for a five pound duck.
  5. Carve and serve: Transfer the duck and can to a clean cutting board, then lift the duck off of the can and set the duck on the cutting board. (I grab the can with one set of tongs, the backbone on the top of the bird with another, and lift the bird while pulling down and twisting the can.) Discard the warm beer and can. Let the duck rest for fifteen minutes, then carve and serve.
  • Category: Grilling
  • Cuisine: American



Punch a few holes in the can


Sit the duck on the can


On the grill…




  • Duck and wood smoke are a great combination. If you have smoking wood, use it.
  • If your pint sized beer can has a carbonation cartridge in it, leave it in the can and don’t worry about it. The beer won’t get above boiling temperature.

What do you think?

Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.

Related Posts

Rotisserie Duck with Honey Glaze and Drip Pan Potatoes
Smoked Duck on a Kettle grill
Pan Grilled Duck Breast with Duck Fat Paprika Potatoes


Enjoyed this post? Want to help out DadCooksDinner? Subscribe to DadCooksDinner via eMail or RSS reader, recommend DadCooksDinner to your friends, and buy something from through the links on this site. Thank you.

Sharing is caring!

Filed under: Grilling, Sunday dinner


Hi! I’m Mike Vrobel. I’m a dad and an enthusiastic home cook; an indie cookbook author and food blogger with a day job, a patient spouse, and three kids who would rather have hamburgers for dinner.


  1. Looks great. I can’t find the orange sauce recipe people are mentioning. Can you reply with a link to it please?

    • They’re talking about the packet of orange sauce that comes with some frozen ducks you buy at the grocery store. I don’t have a recipe, so give Google a try?

  2. Ron Burry says

    Can you cook the duck this way, using the rotisserie feature (a rear burner on a Napoleon barbecue).?

  3. Good recipe, thanks. I mixed some Gochu Jang with the packaged orange sauce. WOW! Outstanding.

  4. Gillian tursi says

    It came out really good but my grill cooks fast I have a Ducane 4 burner my duck was done faster than 2 hours so I will have to adjust the time my duck was almost 6 lbs I followed the recipe and glazed the duck with the included orange sauce at the end yummy tasted great just a little overdone I cooked it at 350 so like I said for my grill I will have to cook it for less time I also lightly seasoned the duck with garlic powder salt and pepper also grilled with potatoes and onions and fresh grilled asparagus

  5. Can I season the duck with season salt and pepper and garlic and onion powder as I would chicken

  6. Elaine says

    Absolutly exquisite! The duck was succulent and delicious, skin was crispy. So yummy!

  7. Tom Husband says

    Looks delicious. Will the duck fit under the hood of a Weber 22″ kettle BBQ?

    • It fits…barely. It’s a tight fit, but I’ve done it before. Make sure you don’t buy a tall duck. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.