Perfecting the Crispy Roast Duck

Looking to channel your inner chef? Are you bored with your go-to recipes? We’re here to help and provide inspiration for new meals you can make at home with Vinous in the Kitchen. Led by Eric Guido, Vinous’ resident Italian wine critic and also a professionally trained chef, Vinous in the Kitchen is a series of delicious recipes you can easily prepare at home. Through his video tutorial and accompanying article, Eric will guide you through each recipe step-by-step, offering useful tips and techniques, as well as ideas on wine pairings. Find the bottles on Delectable, and make sure to share your own favorite pairings. A perfectly crispy, roast duck is on the menu today. Buon appetito! ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Roasting a duck while properly rendering the fat and getting that perfect crispy skin can be quite intimidating. However, with just a few simple tricks and the right preparation, you’ll be hitting your family or holiday table with a platter of perfectly moist, seasoned meat and the crispiest skin you can possibly imagine. It’s so good that you won’t even need the stereotypical citrus glaze to go with it, but we’ll cover that as well. So, get your roasting pan ready, and don’t forget your glass because we also have some wine pairings that will complement all that crispy goodness. So, what’s all the fuss about roasting duck? Why do we fear it so much? I was right there with you; every time I tried my hand at roasted duck, I ended up with either burned skin with rendered fat (full of burnt pieces) or crispy skin with too little fat rendered, which created both a messy and an unenjoyable meal at the table. Before long, I gave up, instead choosing to order duck whenever I’d see it at restaurants. The problem here was that most establishments would pile on the potatoes, provide far too little meat, drown the bird in a sweet gravy, and often overcook it (because they also had problems rendering the fat). Then one day it all came together when I was researching, of all things, how to dry-age beef in a home refrigerator. While the process for dry-aging beef, versus what I now do to prepare my duck, is vastly different, the inspiration itself came from the same science. The fact is that cold air holds less moisture than warm air Your refrigerator is constantly circulating this dry, cold air, while the compressor also works as water collects on the coils and evaporates. What you have is a sealed chamber, at safe temperatures, that is constantly pulling the water out of anything left uncovered. Suddenly it all made sense. I found the perfect way to dry the skin so that it would crisp at a lower temperature, over a longer period of time, which would allow the fat to render completely. While this is just one of a few tricks that we’ll talk about here, it was the moment that I realized that I’d never have to eat duck outside of my home ever again. WATCH THE FULL VIDEO TUTORIAL HERE THE INGREDIENTS YOU’LL NEED: For the roast duck (serves four): 5-6-pound duck – If frozen, defrost 2-3 days in your refrigerator 1 tbls Kosher salt 1 lemon (quartered) 3-4 sprigs thyme 1 bunch sage The orange gravy: 1 tbls flour 1 tbls butter 1 cup chicken stock ½ cup white wine 2 tsp white sugar 1 bunch sage Juice of one whole orange Salt and pepper for seasoning SUGGESTED WINE PAIRINGS: Bordeaux Blend - Featured Wine: 2005 Andrew Will Sorella Bordeaux (Saint-Émilion styled, Merlot dominant) - Featured Wine: 2017 Maculan Brentino Châteauneuf-du-Pape - Grenache Côtes du Rhône - 2017 Domaine Giraud Côtes du Rhône Vieilles Vignes Les Sables d'Arène Champagne - 2014 Laherte Frères Champagne Premier Cru Extra Brut Les Longues Voyes THE PROCESS: 1. If using a frozen duck, allow two to three days for it to defrost in your refrigerator. 2. 24 hours prior to roasting your duck, make a space in your refrigerator, and prepare a small sheet pan, lined with a paper towel and rack. 3. Take the duck out and remove it from its packaging, allowing any liquid from the duck and inside of its cavity to drain out. 4. Remove any contents from the cavity. (The neck and heart are perfect for stock, while the liver can be sautéed in butter with just a bit of salt and pepper for an amazing, healthy snack.) 5. Place the duck on the rack; you can pat it dry if desired, and place the rack in the refrigerator, uncovered until the following day. 6. The next day, remove your duck from the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature for about one hour. 7. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. 8. When ready to roast, use a very sharp knife to score the skin in a crisscross pattern, but be careful not to cut through to the flesh. Also, use the knife to poke through the skin in the fattier parts of the bird, such as around the thighs. 9. Clip off the wing tips. 10. Season the duck liberally with salt, inside and out, and then stuff the cavity with a quartered lemon, thyme and sage. 11. With a butcher’s twine, truss the legs together to form a partial seal around the cavity. 12. Place the duck, breast-side up, into a heavy gauge stainless steel roasting pan, and then into the oven. 13. Set your timer for one hour. 14. Remove your duck from the oven and set the oven temperature to 350 degrees. 15. Flip the duck over to be breast-side down and place back into the oven, also setting the timer for another hour. 16. At the two-hour mark, remove the duck from the oven again, and flip the bird back to being breast-side up. 17. Place back into the oven for one final hour. 18. Once done, pull the duck from the oven and set it aside for a ½ hour to rest. (This is a good time to finish your gravy) 19. When ready, plate your duck on a serving platter with roasted vegetables, sprigs of thyme and slices of orange, with gravy on the side. THE ORANGE GRAVY: (It’s important to make your roux early enough for it to cool entirely before completing the gravy.) 1. To make a roux, use a small sauté pan over medium heat. 2. With a whisk in hand, add the butter to the pan and allow the water to cook out. 3. Next add the flour and begin whisking the mixture together. You’re looking to whisk out any chunks of flour. 4. This is a quick process; you’re looking for a toasty smell and tan color. 5. Immediately remove the roux from the pan into a cool bowl and set aside. 6. In a clean sauté pan over a medium-high flame, add white wine and reduce. 7. Next add the sugar and whisk to combine. 8. Now add chicken stock and the juice of one whole orange. Bring the heat to high and allow the sauce to reduce by half. 9. Reduce heat to low and add your sage; allow it to simmer in the sauce for a minute or two, then remove the sage and turn off the heat. 10. Whisk in the roux to form a consistent sauce. --Eric Guido, Perfecting the Crispy Roast Duck , May 2020 Check out previous Vinous in the Kitchen Recipes: The Pride of Piedmont: Brasato al Barolo Secret to the Perfect Seared Salmon Mastering Cast Iron Chicken Jump Start Spring with Asparagus Risotto

Château Larrivet Haut-Brion

Le Blason de Larrivet-Haut-Brion Red Bordeaux Blend 2009

Opened the 2009 vintage in May 2020. Definitely showing it’s age. Deep purple with a little orange (my wife says brown) around the rim. Regardless it ages nicely.
Smell: leather, old wood (not oak just like an old barn) earth, has a bit of a mineral tinge.
Taste: dark to black fruit. Plum. Earth notes as well. Truffle. Bold and tannic. Highish acid. Dry.

Overall very classic right bank. Very good wine but too bold to drink more than a bottle. Will blow out the pallet for the next flavor. Eat something hardy. Steak or game. Duck might be nice. Save it for the last bottle of the night or the only bottle.

Save it for your friends don’t waste it on the in-laws.
— 4 years ago

Mike liked this

Wind Gap Wines

Sceales Vineyard Old Vine Grenache 2015

Nice Grenache from Pax. Should pair well with my Peking Duck which appears to have gone terribly wrong. — 4 years ago

Sharon, Ely and 38 others liked this
Jason Brater

Jason Brater

Love the wind gap offerings from Pax but have trouble finding them

Eric Premium Badge

Got this on Last Bottle if you can believe it.
Jason Brater

Jason Brater

@Eric S that is the only place I've ever found it too!


Bin 407 Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Soft blue fruit, dried flowers and leather. Medium assertive tannins. Hope to try again with something like duck. — 4 years ago

Terre da Vino

La Casa in Collina Barbaresco Nebbiolo 2015

Slow to open, improved after an hour. Next time I’ll decant. Wonderful fruit, tannins softened but enjoyable Nebbiolo with smoked duck and Gouda cheese and mushroom focaccia. — 4 years ago

LM, Alex and 1 other liked this

Presqu'ile Winery

Presqu'ile Vineyard Syrah 2015

Cured meats, wild berry, pepper spice, underbrush, dried herbs, oak spice. Nice balance between cool climate and warm. Worked well with duck. — 4 years ago

Ira, MICHAEL and 2 others liked this
Jae Cho

Jae Cho Influencer Badge

Love this vintage

Domaine Juliette Avril

Mailys Cairanne Red Rhone Blend 2016

Violet leaf and dark red fruit notes. Would be great with duck — 4 years ago

Frank Farrell
with Frank


Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir 2009

McArthur $32 for 2009 on 5/1/20 with duck and lentils. Past peak. Bitter finish gets better with air. — 4 years ago


Côte-Rôtie Syrah 2012

Medium rubywith pronounced aromas of black cherry, plum, blackberry, licorice, smoke, cooked plum, earth, meat. Lovely, complex wine just beginning to show some age. Good acidity - would be a great match for lamb or duck Biodynamic. — 4 years ago

Robert and Josh liked this

Château de Beaucastel

Châteauneuf-du-Pape Red Rhône Blend 2009

Very typical warm vintage Rhone, slightly lower acidity than usual. Despite the half bottle, it got better as the lunch with duck went along — 4 years ago

Domaine André Mathieu

Châteauneuf-du-Pape Red Rhone Blend 2015

Incense, baking spice, wild fruit, crushed rocks, smoke and great acid to hold it all together. Duck night. — 4 years ago

Douglas liked this