Tips on slow roasting large duck

I want to make Merrill’s slow roast duck for dinner on Christmas. The only ducks available are six pounds. Wondering how to adjust the cooking time for the bigger bird. Thanks!

Jocelyn Grayson


Lori T. December 22, 2020
I don't think there is a lot of adaption necessary, to be honest. A lot of the Long Island ducks will run between 5-6 pounds. The cooking method is quite similar to that to make a confit duck, and the meat is actually technically cooked to doneness long before the time is up. The long cooking time is to allow more fat to be rendered, and for the breakdown of the collagens which would otherwise make it tough and stringy. The best advice I can give is to be sure to poke that ducky generously and regularly during the process, and not get nervous about the amount of it ends up bathing in. If you'd feel better giving it a bit of additional time to get to the slightly browned and crispy phase, that is okay too. And for goodness sake, save that duck fat for future use. Roast potatoes are the classic use, but to be honest- nearly everything is better cooked in duck fat. Veggies especially, but also your garden variety chicken.
Jocelyn G. December 22, 2020
Thanks. I’ve made this before and definitely keep the fat! I think I’ve poured it off during the cooking, though. I wonder if that’s wrong?
Lori T. December 22, 2020
That's a good question, really. She didn't say to remove the accumulated fat, and the old versions of slow roasted duck will often tell you not to. Like I said, it's really just a slightly faster version of a confit duck or goose. The low temperature poaches the duck (or goose) in it's own fat and juices, while the collagen and melts and all the goodness coats the meat so it won't dry out. Basting with the fat also helps render more fat as well and gives you an more even coloration. I don't think your way is wrong, by any means. But I think you might be pleasantly surprised if you are willing to let it poach-roast in the accumulated fats. And at least you don't have to risk burning yourself to remove it! So long as you keep that fat in the end, it's all good. I can't swear to it, but I think wasting good duck or goose fat is actually a little known cardinal sin:)
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