Yet another way to rid a duck of fat is to pierce the skin around its fatty parts (the sides of the breast and the undersides of the thighs), making holes through which the fat can drain, and then pouring boiling water over the fatty areas to warm the fat and give it a head start. This method works better with a Muscovy duck, which is less fatty than the Long Island variety. The skin will not be as crisp as with the bicycle pump method (see the introduction to the recipe on the facing page), but the technique is much simpler and takes far less time. The flavors of orange and rosemary are classic with duck.
Prep: 30 minutes (plus 5 minutes for brine)
Brine: 2 to 8 hours
Grill: About 1½ hours.
BBQ TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT
– Roasting rack
– Disposable aluminum foil roasting pan
– Long-handled basting brush.
Indirect heat, medium (325° to 350°F)
3- or 4-burner grill – middle burner(s) off
2-burner grill – 1 side off
Clean, oiled grate
Indirect heat, medium ash
Split charcoal bed (about 2 dozen coals per side)
20 replacement coals
Heavy-duty drip pan set between banks of charcoal
Clean, oiled grate on medium setting.
INGREDIENTS (MAKES 4 SERVINGS)
1 duck, about 5 pounds, preferably Muscovy
2 cups Orange-Fennel Brine
2 tablespoons crushed dried rosemary
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
3 tablespoons maple syrup
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 orange, quartered
1 small onion, peeled and quartered.
1. Wash the duck inside and out and poke the skin with a fork, especially where there are noticeable fat deposits under the skin, around the legs and along the sides of the breast.
2. Heat a kettle of water to boiling. Put the duck, breast-side up, in a strainer set in a sink. Pour the boiling water over the duck. Dry the duck and put it in a large (gallon-size) zipper-lock bag. Add the brine, 1 tablespoon of the rosemary, and 1 tablespoon of the sherry vinegar. Seal the zipper, leaving about an inch open; push on the bag to release any trapped air through the opening, and close the zipper completely. Massage the liquid gently into the duck and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 8 hours. 3. Mix the maple syrup and remaining 1 tablespoon vinegar in a small bowl; set aside.
4. Heat the grill as directed.
5. Remove the duck from the marinade and discard the marinade. Pat dry. Rub the interior cavity of the duck with the remaining 1 tablespoon dried rosemary and the pepper. Put the orange and onion quarters in the interior cavity, and put the duck, breast-side up, on a rack set in the disposable roasting pan. Put the pan on the grill away from the heat, cover the grill, and cook until an instantread thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 165°F, about 1½ hours. Baste the duck with the maple mixture 3 times during the last half hour. If your grill has an external thermometer, it should stay at around 375°F. If you are using charcoal, you will probably have to replenish the coals after the first hour.
6. Remove the duck to a large serving platter. Let rest for 8 to 10 minutes; carve as you would a chicken and serve. Do not serve the orange and onion that were stuffed into the duck.