Roasting duck without a roasting pan/rack

I'm planning on roasting a whole duck (2.4 kg/5.3 lb) but I don't have a roasting pan/rack. I was thinking of placing the bird on a bed of root vegetables to keep the underside from stewing/burning in it's own fat. I only have a small and shallow baking dish (perhaps 2 inch deep). I have two questions:

1.) will the fat overflow my baking dish? I know ducks have quite a bit of fat and I'm planning on piercing the skin to allow the fat to escape.

2.) will the root vegetables be edible? Or will they just be fat-sodden mush?

Thanks in advance for your input!




CarlaCooks October 16, 2010
Thank you again for all of your advice. You helped me successfully cook my first duck! As I mentioned above, I placed the duck directly on a rack in my oven with a pan underneath. The apartment didn't catch on fire, the duck cooked perfectly, and the birthday husband was happy. However, the oven was a real mess! There was fat everywhere and it took a lot of time and elbow grease to clean. I think I'll stick to duck breasts cooked on the stove-top.
nutcakes October 8, 2010
Don't forget to chill the water so you can remove and save the precious duck fat!
CarlaCooks October 8, 2010
Thank you for all of the wonderful advice! After reading all of your suggestions, I've decided to go with mrslarkin's technique of placing the duck directly on a rack in my oven with a pan underneath to catch the drippings. I live in Denmark, so I have a small European oven. I don't think there would be room for the duck to sit upright with the Sitting Duck cooking method! I'm cooking the duck tomorrow, so I'll report on the results Sunday or Monday. Thanks again for all of the wonderful advice!
AntoniaJames October 7, 2010
What I like about monkeymom's "Wishbone Chicken" method is that the tube pan is very stable, so once the bird is cooked, and has rested, you can very easily remove the meat from the bones, while it's still on the tube. So easy!! No mess!! I have quite a few photos of the method (including one of my son's finger scraping the brown bits off the tube pan when the carcass was finally removed) in my "Beg Borrow and Steal" roast chicken recipe, posted here on food52.
mrslarkin October 7, 2010
betteirene, I wanna eat at your house. :)
betteirene October 6, 2010
Wow, Gale, thanks for the tip. I'm going to try it this way when I make my New Year's Day Cassoulet. I roast a duck on New Year's Eve morning and refrigerate it for the next day's cassoulet because I've always had a hard time finding confit.
anyone October 6, 2010
That's great. Love it!
betteirene October 6, 2010
Yes, DonnyG. I changed it to Sitting Duck, which I think sounds a lot more amusing and very much less dangerous than Beer Can Duck, which sounds like a dreadful party game.
Gale October 6, 2010
I always used to roast duck at a high temp, but hated to clean the oven (what a mess), to say nothing of all the smoke from the burning fat. Then some years ago, I read a recipe for duck cooked at 275-300 for five (5!) hours. The fat renders out really well, skin is very crisp and meat is perfect. And far less mess. The recipe was in one of those Fran McDonough Best Recipe books that were done every year.
anyone October 6, 2010
So then, beer can duck?
betteirene October 6, 2010
Do you have an oven-safe Dutch oven or skillet? Here's my how-to for

Sitting Duck

Buy a 16-ounce can or larger of any flavor Arizona Tea, Foster's Lager or anything else that comes in a tall can. Drink it. Have a beverage in a short can (12 ounces) at the ready in case your first can is too tall or your duck is too short.

Put eight ounces of water (plain is fine, seasoned--ginger, garlic, lemon, orange--might make your kitchen smell nicer but it won't flavor the duck meat, so I don't bother) into the can for ballast.

Set the can in the center of an oven-proof Dutch oven, deep casserole dish or heavy roasting pan.

Position a rack on the bottom rung of the oven. Turn the heat to 325 degrees. (This low temperature allows the fat to melt away without burning.)

Clean a five-pound (or so) duck. Prick the skin all over with a paring knife or a serving fork, making sure to pierce only the skin and not the meat. Season it or dry-rub it as desired.

Place the duck bottom-side down on the can as far down as it will go. Use its legs to balance its body on the can so that it stays upright, crossing or uncrossing the legs as need be. If the first can is too tall, substitute the second, shorter can.

Place it in the oven. Let it slow-roast for one-and-a-half hours, periodically removing accumulated fat with a turkey baster or shallow ladle.

Turn the heat up to 400 degrees and allow the duck to crisp up and brown, removing fat as needed, for about another hour. Check its breast temperature. If you want it cooked to the medium stage, remove when the reading is 135 degrees. I usually let the duck roast for close to three hours total for well-done.

All that fat is the reason even dead ducks float. Save it and use it to make confit (Ha! As if that's something I'll ever get around to doing.) or, better yet, frites canardes (You'll discover why restaurants charge $8 for these french fries).
mrslarkin October 6, 2010
I agree with Donny, it's going to stew. I've never roasted a duck, but I've seen Peking Duck recipes where the bird is roasted directly on a greased oven rack, with a pan with water underneath to catch the drippings. I use this technique when I roast porchetta and it ensures a crispy skin all around. You'll have to scrub your oven rack when you're done though. Well worth the extra elbow grease.
AntoniaJames October 6, 2010
Great advice, DonnyG!! Couldn't have said it better (or more thoroughly) myself. Like the idea of sitting the duck on the ramekins. I am wondering if monkeymom's contest-winning Wishbone Chicken method would work. I've used the method many times since she posted it and am totally hooked. Am interested in hearing how this turns out!! ;o)
anyone October 6, 2010
This is only one man's opinion but I think that the bottom of the duck will eventually "stew". Your right that ducks have alot of fat. My only suggestion is to make sure your roasting temp is a high heat. The first step is to make sure that you render the fat at high heat or your duck will be un-eatable. Roast on high heat making sure that the skin goes crisp. Keep an Eye on your pan or dish if shallow to make sure it is not going to overflow. You might want to try a turkey baister that you can suck up the fat with if eat reaches the point of over flow or the bottom of your duck. If you have some oven proof ramikens maybe you can prop up your duck with those instead of veggies so that the pan may have more room for the fat and hopefully letting some air swirl underneath to prevent the bottom from stewing.
Recommended by Food52