Rotisserie Duck with Pomegranate Glaze is a last minute improvisation. I planned to have a different post today, but it fell apart.
I went to my local farmers market, desperately searching for something to put on the rotisserie. Desperation turned into inspiration. I noticed a small sign among the jars of honey on the Schmidt Family Farms table – “Muscovy duck for sale.” Jackpot!
Muscovy has less fat than the typical Long Island duck sold at your local store. It also has more meat on the bones – the breast is much larger in a Muscovy. I was excited to find it; I wanted to try Muscovy on my rotisserie.
I bought some Schmidt Farms honey with the duck (I’m a sucker for local honey in cute little honey bears.) Honey plus pomegranate juice became the base for my sauce. I looked through my copy of The Flavor Bible for ideas, and added lemon, ginger and thyme to round out the sauce. The fruity, citrusy, sweet glaze was perfect with the Muscovy duck meat.
The kind folks at POM Wonderful gave me the pomegranate juice. Phew – now I’m good with the FTC.
I have to say up front – if you are a fan of medium-rare duck breast, you need to look elsewhere. Duck legs need to be well done to be tender; by the time the legs are edible, the breast meat will also be well done. That’s OK – when it is cooked on the rotisserie, slowly basting in its own duck fat, well done meat tastes pretty darn good.
Rotisserie Duck with Pomegranate Glaze. Duck with a sweet-tart glaze and crispy skin from your grill’s rotisserie.
- 1 whole duck, 4-6 pounds (mine was 4.5 pounds)
- 3 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 lemon (squeeze the lemon for the juice used in the sauce, below)
- 8 ounces pomegranate juice
- 2 tablespoons honey
- quarter-sized slice of fresh ginger
- 1 thyme sprig (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
- juice of 1 lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
- pinch of salt
- pinch of fresh ground pepper
- Dry Brine the Duck: 24 to 48 hours before you want to start cooking, salt the duck evenly – about 1/2 tsp on the breast, 1/2 tsp on the legs, 1/2 tsp on the back, 1/2 tsp in the cavity, and 1/2 tsp in the neck. Put the duck on a rack over a roasting pan or baking sheet, and store in the refrigerator, uncovered.
- Prep the duck: One hour before cooking, remove the duck from the refrigerator. Pat the duck dry with paper towels, then poke the skin on the breast and thighs all over with a paring knife, being careful not to pierce the meat. (I do this by coming at the duck from a very low angle, almost parallel to the skin.) Stuff the duck with the lemon halves. Finally, truss the duck, and skewer it on the rotisserie spit. Let it rest at room temperature while you prepare the grill (Trussing instructions (and a video!) are in my rotisserie poultry basic technique.)
- Prepare the grill: Set the grill up for rotisserie cooking over indirect medium-high heat. For my Weber Summit, this means removing the grates, turning the two outer burners (burners 1 and 6) to high, and turning the infrared burner to high. Then I put my drip pan in the middle, over the unlit burners, and let the grill preheat for ten to fifteen minutes. After preheating, I turn all the lit burners down to medium-high, and I’m ready to cook. (See here for more rotisserie setup details.)
- Make the sauce: While the grill is heating (or the duck is cooking), simmer all the sauce ingredients in a small saucepan until reduced by half.
- Cook the duck: Put the spit on the grill, and cook the duck with the lid closed for 1 hour and 15 minutes (about 12 minutes per pound). Check the duck’s temperature with an instant-read thermometer; the duck is fully cooked when the temperature in the thickest part of the thigh is 180°F. Once the duck is cooked through, baste it with the sauce to form a glaze. Brush the duck with the sauce, close the lid, cook for five minutes; brush the duck with the sauce again, then cook for another five minutes. Remove the duck from the spit, remove the trussing twine from the duck, then brush the duck once more with the sauce. Let the duck rest for 15 minutes before carving.
- Carve the duck: Cut off the wings and legs, separate the thighs from the drumsticks, and serve them bone-in. Carve the breasts off the carcass and slice them 1/2″ thick. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the remaining sauce over the duck and serve.
- For an overview about using your rotisserie, see my rotisserie poultry basic technique post.
- I put fingerling potatoes in the pan under the duck, to cook in the dripping fat. Never let duck fat go to waste!
- Don’t have a rotisserie? That’s OK – set your grill up for cooking on indirect medium-high heat, as described in the recipe; then put the grate back on the grill, put the duck over the drip pan, breast side down, and cook for 30 minutes. Flip the duck breast side up and cook until done.
- Category: Sunday Dinner
- Method: Rotisserie
- Cuisine: American
What do you think?
Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
Adapted From: Steven Raichlen’s Rotisserie episode of “Primal Grill”
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