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The Demise of “Daffy”

There are so many different things that one can grill and this past Saturday night was one of those exceptional nights to try something new.  On our weekly rounds at the local grocery store, Heather hollered over a crowd of shoppers whilst holding up a rather large duck.  Mouthing to me “BIG GREEN EGG?” I replied with a nod and a wink.  We were having a $13 duck tonight… decision made. (yes $13…talk about stretching your budget!)

As we normally do with new recipes, we needed a pair of guinea pigs… in this case, Barbara & Brett we our experiment for the evening.  Brett’s reply to the invitation seemed positive – “…will bring red wine and a hankering for daffy…” The pressure was on.

The recipe was a simple as they come.  Believe it or not, the only seasoning the duck required was salt and pepper.  The rendered fat and port glaze in the last 10 minutes produced nothing short of a brilliant taste.

Here’s how I prepped “Daffy” for the roast:

Duck with Port Wine Glaze (Serves 4)

  1. One $13 Singapore Duck – about 5 pounds

  2. Kosher salt

  3. Black pepper

  4. Hickory wood chips for smoking

For the glaze:

  1. 1 ¼ cups port wine

  2. 2 cloves of garlic, minced

  3. 4 sprigs of fresh thyme

1) Prepare the duck – one trick that my dear friend Mayeth taught me was to clean out the duck’s oil glands (just above the tail) – I wouldn’t have known that if it hadn’t been for her.

2) Using a knife, cross hatch across the entire bird and then liberally poke holes through the skin of the duck and into the fatty layer. Try to avoid poking all the way through the meat. This allows a path for the fat to drip out as the bird cooks. Also looks very fancy once the grilling is done.

3) Sprinkle each side of the duck with salt and black pepper.

4) Set up your Big Green Egg for for indirect cooking, putting in the plate setter legs up, with a drip pan sitting on the plate setter. I used hickory chips to add smoke flavor, and brought the temperature up to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. This was the tough part – took me about 45 minutes to get the temperature down to 225 – with a little patience and a few cold beers, anything is possible.

5) Put the duck on a v rack and place it on the grid. Make sure that the duck is completely over the drip pan, or you will make a huge mess. Also, remember to cook it breast side down, to allow more of the fat to drip off.

6) While the duck is smoking happily, prepare the glaze by combining the ingredients in a saucepan, and reducing over low heat until about 25% is remaining. Set aside.

7) Smoke the meat at 225 degrees for at least 4 hours, or until the internal temperature comes up to about 155 degrees. The drip pan should be full of duck fat – which we used to make the most delicious roasted potatoes.

8 ) After the four hour mark open the vents on The Egg and raise the temperature up to about 450 degrees – takes no more than 10 minutes.

9) Using a grill-safe basting brush, brush the glaze onto the side of the duck that is facing up.

10) Cook for about 5 minutes at the higher temperature. Flip over, glaze the other side, and cook for 5 minutes more.

11) Remove from the Egg, and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before carving. The internal temperature should be around 165 degrees.

Accompanying the duck were roasted potatoes (done in the duck fat with thyme and rosemary), roasted beetroot salad with orange and pistachio nuts and a chocolate torte that was simply incredible! Heather and I figured that the entire meal for 4 of us cost less than $30.  I dare you to beat that with a spread this good!

Thanks for the ultimate sacrifice “Daffy!” Rest easy friend!

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