You have two options when cooking ducks. Fast and hot will produce a crispy, juicy and, hopefully, medium-rare bird. Slow and not-so-hot will result in more of a smoky flavor. Whichever method you choose, you should get the treble hooks out of your pocket and invest five bucks in a meat thermometer next time you are at the grocery store. Go ahead, put it on the list on the refrigerator. Your duck is medium-rare when the thermometer reads 120 degrees at the breast. Take the meat off the flame and let it rest for a few minutes before serving
I strongly recommend that you remove the legs before cooking. Put them in a baking dish with some kind of liquid – wine, barbecue sauce, sweet and sour, etc. – cover and bake in a 400 degree oven for a couple of hours before you start the barbecue. The legs need a good head start. Once the ‘cue is hot, toss the legs on and baste with some of your favorite sauce. Then start cooking the rest of the duck, either as filleted breasts or on the bone.
Barbecued Duck with Honey, Mustard and Sage
- 4 ducks split
- 1 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt
- 1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2/3 cup Dijon or coarse grain mustard
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup yellow onion minced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 lemons juice only
- 2 limes juice only
- 3 tablespoons fresh sage minced (or substitute) 1 tablespoon dried sage leaves
- Rub ducks with salt and pepper. Combine honey with remaining ingredients in a saucepan. Heat to blend, then cool. Pour half of mixture over ducks, cover and refrigerate for 8 – 12 hours, turning occasionally. Grill ducks over medium-hot barbecue until just cooked, about 120 degrees at the breast. Just before ducks are done, baste with remaining sauce.