Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Duck Meets the Grill

I was trying to remember if I'd ever grilled a whole duck on the barbecue before.   My first thought was too much fat, resulting in too many flare ups, resulting in a charred black duck.  But I'm sure my master griller, Chris, will be up to the challenge.  To help us along, I decided to debone the duck so that it can lay flat and cook evenly.  It is pretty much exactly like deboning a whole chicken.  The one tool that will make your life much easier is a good filet knife.  It is indispensable in all deboning and filleting work.  Once you use one, you will discover it is life changing.  


My garden potatoes are ready to harvest, but I wonder what I will find given my consistent periodic digging for a few to cook up.  Today I hunted for a variety of yukon gold, pontiac red, and yellow fin.  I made whipped potatoes which were absolutely divine.  To confess, I must say the added ingredients could make any potato heavenly.  I boiled them in chicken stock with a couple of smashed garlic cloves.  When the potatoes were tender and the stock almost evaporated, I added cream, butter and whipped with a hand mixer.  Then I stirred in grated gruyere and finished with sauteed scallions.  Pure satisfaction in a single bite.


I marinated the duck in the following for about 2 hours:
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup port
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp sweet hot mustard
1 shallot, minced
1 tsp canola oil
1 tsp salt


Grill slowly over low heat to avoid flare ups.  This is not an item to put on the grill and walk away.  Care and attention needed.  The duck was quite fabulous as well.  Maggie said the skin was her favorite.  She's an Emerton.  I loved the sweetness, the cooked perfection, and the ducky flavor.  


You will have to excuse the perhaps explicit photos, but I thought I'd share a few of the deboning process.
Start at the back by making a slit straight down the middle.
Work your knife using the tip only and slide it gently along the bone of the duck.  With a sharp filet knife, you will not need to exert much strength and it will be easy to slide the blade just along side the bone.  When you get to the joint of the leg or wing, find the soft spot in between the bone and socket and split it apart with the knife tip.  I take the bone of the leg with the leg first and then remove the bone after separating the whole duck from its skeleton.
If you've ever watched 'Alien', you will recognize the duck's skeleton on the left.  This may be enough to put you off meat, but I must say, you get used to it.  I remember my mom going through a no meat phase when my parents owned their restaurant.  After working with so much meat on a daily basis, it was enough to turn her off for a while.

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