I have a question about the recipe "Slow Roast Duck" from Merrill Stubbs. Do you think it's possible to do this in two parts? As in, half the cooking the in the morning, stick it in the fridge, and then finish it that night?
Hopefully Merrill will chime in, but I think she would say it's not a good idea for two reasons that I can think of. First is safety. The uncooked, but slightly warm portion of the duck could allow bacteria to thrive. Having said that, I think it's Art Smith cooks his fried chicken in two steps (maybe it's Tyler Florence), but those are pieces, so the uncooked portion of the pieces would chill down faster. I think a 5lb duck would take too long. The other reason is that you may not end up with crispy skin because of the heat up, cool down and heat up method.
I hope Merrill has better news for you.
Restaurants do this all the time. It's known as "par cooking." And yes, you can split the cooking times. Restaurants, though, rarely work with whole birds. If you can, ask your butcher to split the duck in half for you. Another is to raise the initial roasting time to probably 375 degrees for about 45 minutes once it has been split in half. Beforehand, be sure to remove it to room temperature for a good hour. Remove it from the oven, and again pierce it generously all over, and refrigerate it immediately. When you are ready to finish roasting it, remove it from the refrigerator an hour beforehand, and finish roasting it at 350 degrees. Given that it is poultry, it should register 165 degrees at the thickest point. Great idea, by the way.
Cynthia, thank you! Learned a lot from this dialogue.
It's always good to hear from you, SKK, and thank you kindly. Duck is one of my favorite meats to work with.
I think I'll have to try and split the bird myself since I'm ordering it...any chance you have advice on that front too? Or do you think I could just try raising the initial roasting time?
MarenM, it's quite easy to do as long as you have a good, sharp knife. We halve chickens at work regularly via the same method. Turn your duck with the back side up. Split down each side of the spine, removing it. Lay your duck out flat, with the breast facing up, and split it in half along the breastbone, creating two halves. Please let us know how this turns out for you.
Restaurants manage these types of par-cooking with rigorous attention to quick cool-downs, and commercial refrigeration to effectuate it. The board of health inspections at restaurants always key in on these types of techniques/infractions and temperatures of food items in production. Its a very dangerous technique-and shouldnt be attempted unless you understand and adhere to the Danger Zone temperature rules. Poultry is especially dangerous to approach in this manner. Just because a restaurant does this, doesnt mean you should at home.