How to Cook a Whole Duck on the Grill

how to cook a whole duck on the grill

Key Takeaways:

  • Preparing the duck properly is essential for grilling success. Make sure to clean and season the duck before placing it on the grill.
  • Setting up the grill for indirect cooking helps to evenly cook the duck. Preheat the grill, place a water pan under the duck, and add coals or heat on one side of the grill.
  • Grilling the duck with a closed lid ensures a flavorful and crispy skin. Brush the duck with hoisin sauce and continue grilling until the skin is dark brown and crispy.

Introduction to Cooking a Whole Duck on the Grill

When it comes to cooking a whole duck on the grill, preparation is key. In this introduction, we’ll explore the essential steps involved in grilling a whole duck, from preparing the duck and seasoning it to tying the legs and pricking the skin. Get ready to transform your grill into a gourmet duck-cooking machine!

Preparing the Duck for Grilling

Ready to grill a duck? Follow these steps to make sure your duck is ready for the cooking process and to enhance its flavors and textures:

  1. Trim off visible fat and pluck off feathers on the skin.
  2. Rinse the duck under cold water.
  3. Dry the skin with paper towels.
  4. Generously season the duck with salt and pepper, inside and out.
  5. Optionally, marinate the duck overnight in herbs, spices, and liquids.
  6. Let the seasoned duck rest at room temp for 30 mins before grilling.

By paying attention to detail in these steps, you’re setting yourself up for a flavorful and delicious result on the grill!

Seasoning the Duck for Grilling

Seasoning the duck for grilling requires flavorful ingredients that will bring out its flavor when cooked. Here are 5 steps for seasoning the duck:

  1. Rinse the duck under cold water and dry with paper towels.
  2. In a bowl, mix spices and herbs like garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt, pepper, and thyme.
  3. Rub this mixture on the duck’s surface.
  4. Stuff the duck cavity with aromatics like lemon wedges, onion slices, or herbs.
  5. Cover the duck in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.

For extra flavor, make small incisions in the skin using a knife before seasoning. This helps the fat to render out during cooking, resulting in crispy skin. Follow these steps to create a delicious grilled whole duck that is perfectly seasoned.

Tying the Legs of the Duck

Tying the duck’s legs is an important step for grilling. This secures the shape and cooks it evenly. Here are the steps:

  1. Cut the kitchen twine or butcher’s string to a suitable length.
  2. Cross one leg over the other, close together.
  3. Wrap the twine around the legs and pull tight.
  4. Tie a knot or bow with the twine.
  5. Trim any excess twine.

Besides the legs, also prick the skin of the duck. This releases fat while grilling, making the skin crispy and meat tender. Handle sharp objects with caution when pricking.

Pro Tip: For an extra flavor, marinate or season the duck before tying its legs and pricking the skin. Enjoy a delicious grilled whole duck!

Pricking the Skin of the Duck


Pricking the duck’s skin is key for grilling. It releases fat under the skin to give it a crispy feel. Make small holes with a knife or skewer, avoiding the flesh. Pat dry the duck with paper towels first.

Benefits of pricking include:

  • Reducing flare-ups
  • Even cooking and crispiness

After pricking, season and tie the legs before grilling. Be cautious not to pierce the meat. This technique adds flavor and prevents greasiness or toughness.

Remember: Be gentle and thorough when pricking the duck’s skin. This will help you get a crispy and tasty result, while still keeping it juicy. Plus, indirect grilling can be a great way to make it delicious.

Setting up the Grill for Indirect Cooking

Setting up the grill for indirect cooking involves crucial steps:

  1. Preheating the grill.
  2. Placing a water pan to create a moist cooking environment.
  3. Adding coals or heat on one side of the grill.

These steps ensure that your whole duck grills to perfection, allowing for even heat distribution and a tender, juicy outcome. Mastering the art of indirect cooking on the grill will take your culinary skills to new heights and make your duck dish a memorable experience for all.

Preheating the Grill for Indirect Cooking

To preheat the grill for indirect cooking, follow these 5 steps:

  1. Clean the grill grates.
  2. Arrange hot coals on one side of a charcoal grill, or turn on only half the burners on a gas grill.
  3. Close the lid and heat for 15-20 min until it reaches 300-325°F (150-163°C).
  4. Soak wood chips or chunks in water if desired.
  5. You are now ready to proceed with grilling.

For consistent results, keep the temperature steady. Adding wood chips or chunks during preheating can enhance the taste of the food.

Once I bought my grill, I didn’t preheat properly for indirect cooking. It resulted in unevenly-cooked meat. But, after doing research and following the correct steps, I achieved perfect duck with moist meat and crispy skin. This proves the importance of preheating the grill correctly.

Placing a Water Pan under the Duck

A water pan? Place it beneath your duck! It adds moisture to stop dryness, and also keeps the temperature even for perfect cooking. Result? A succulent, flavorful grilled duck! Yum!

Adding Coals or Heat on One Side of the Grill

  1. Preheat the Grill: Before adding coals or heat to one side of the grill, preheat the grill for indirect cooking.
  2. Place a Water Pan: Put a water pan underneath the duck on the opposite side of the grill from where the coals or heat will be added. This creates a moist cooking environment.
  3. Adding Coals or Heat: Gently push lit coals or turn on half of your burners to medium heat and place them on one side of the grill directly below the duck. This allows for indirect cooking.
  4. Ensure Even Cooking: Have different zones of heat – a hot zone over where the coals or heat are added, and a cooler zone opposite it with only ambient heat for even cooking and prevent burning.

Follow these steps to make sure your whole duck grilling experience is a success. This will give you tender, moist meat with a charred crispy skin. Impress your guests with this flavorful grilled whole duck recipe!

Grilling the Duck

Grilling the duck is an essential step in mastering the art of cooking a whole duck on the grill. In this section, we will explore the various sub-sections, including:

  1. Placing the duck on the grill
  2. Cooking it with a closed lid
  3. Brushing it with flavorful hoisin sauce
  4. Continuing grilling until the skin achieves a delectably dark brown and crispy texture

Get ready to elevate your grilling skills and create a mouthwatering dish that will impress your guests.

Placing the Duck on the Grill

  1. Step 1: Preparing the Duck for Grilling – Before grilling, clean and pat dry the duck. Then, remove any fat or giblets from the cavity and trim off loose skin.
  2. Step 2: Seasoning the Duck for Grilling – Generously season the inside and outside of the duck with your desired seasonings: salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, thyme, and rosemary.
  3. Step 3: Tying the Legs of the Duck – Securely tie the legs together with kitchen twine or butcher’s string. This keeps the duck intact and helps heat distribute evenly.
  4. Step 4: Pricking the Skin of the Duck – Use a fork or skewer to poke holes into the skin of the duck. This allows fat to render out and gives you crispy skin.
  5. Step 5: Placing the Duck on the Grill – Carefully position the duck on the grill, ensuring it is balanced and secure. This helps you achieve even cooking and prevents accidents.

Extra Tips: For best results, turn off burners directly under the duck, add aromatics to the cavity, and use a drip pan to catch fat.

Cooking the Duck with Closed Lid

To achieve a juicy and tender meat with a crispy and flavorful skin, cook the duck with a closed lid. Here’s how:

  1. Place the seasoned duck on the grill.
  2. Add aromatic ingredients such as herbs or spices inside the cavity of the duck.
  3. Close the lid.
  4. Maintain a consistent temperature throughout the cooking time.
  5. Avoid frequently opening the grill.
  6. For extra flavor, consider giving your duck a smokey sweet smack!

Brushing the Duck with Hoisin Sauce

Brushing the duck with hoisin sauce is a must when grilling a whole duck. It adds sweet and luscious taste to the duck, making it more flavorful and textured. The sauce forms a glossy and caramelized coating on the skin, creating a yummy crispy finish.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Mix the hoisin sauce with other ingredients like vinegar, soy sauce, honey, or ginger for extra flavor.
  2. Use a basting brush or spoon to cover the duck’s surface with the sauce. Don’t forget the exposed areas of fat or skin.
  3. Avoid flipping the duck too much, as it can lead to loss of moisture and heat.
  4. Re-brush every 10-15 minutes during grilling, to build up multiple layers of flavor and caramelization.
  5. Rest the duck for a few minutes before carving.

Brushing the duck with hoisin sauce gives it delicious flavors and great presentation. It also helps you achieve the perfect combination of crispy skin and tender meat. For added variety and creativity, experiment with different variations of sauces or marinades. You can also add spices or herbs like garlic powder, five-spice powder, or cilantro to enhance the overall flavor and aroma. All in all, brushing the duck with hoisin sauce is an essential step in grilling a whole duck.

Continuing to Grill until Skin is Dark Brown and Crispy

Grilling the duck is key for achieving a tasty and aesthetically pleasing dish. Its flavor and texture will be enhanced. Here’s how:

  1. Put the duck on the grill with the skin side up.
  2. Cook with the lid closed to keep the temperature even.
  3. Brush it with hoisin sauce for a savory-sweet glaze.
  4. Grill until the skin is dark brown and crispy.
  5. Keep an eye on the heat, to stop charring.
  6. Cooking time depends on size, temp, and preference; monitor the process.

For extra crispy skin, switch off the burners under the duck. Fill the cavity with herbs or citrus to add flavor. Place a drip pan to catch fat and prevent flare-ups. Following these steps will result in perfectly browned and crispy skin that will wow your guests with its flavor and presentation. Don’t forget to rest and serve the duck afterwards.

Resting and Serving the Duck

Resting and serving the duck is a crucial step in achieving a perfectly cooked and flavorful dish. Learn how to enhance the tenderness and juiciness of the duck by allowing it to rest before carving. And discover the delightful combination of flavors when serving the duck with the tangy and sweet Hoisin sauce.

Allowing the Duck to Rest before Carving

Grill a whole duck and let it rest before carving. This lets the juices spread throughout the meat, making it tender and flavorful. As the duck rests, its temperature rises slightly, further tenderizing it. Cover the cooked duck loosely with foil or a kitchen towel to help retain heat and prevent the skin from becoming soggy. A 15-20 minute resting period is ideal. Use this time to prepare other meal components or set up a serving platter. Resting the duck fully develops its flavors and textures for a delicious dining experience. Cooking a whole duck on the grill is like culinary greatness with feathers and fire!

Serving the Duck with Hoisin Sauce

The duck can be made tastier with hoisin sauce! This sweet and savory sauce is popular in Chinese cuisine. It has ingredients like soybean paste, garlic, vinegar, sugar, and spices.

  1. Cook and rest the duck. Carve it into serving portions – the meat should be tender.
  2. Put a generous amount of hoisin sauce on each plate or dish.
  3. Dip each piece of duck in the sauce before eating. This way you can savor the flavors.

Be careful with the hoisin sauce – it can be strong. If you want a milder taste, use less. Top it off with green onions or cilantro for a freshness boost. Serving the duck with hoisin sauce is a popular way to enjoy it. Yum!

Chef’s Tips for Grilling a Whole Duck

Grilling a whole duck can be a delightful culinary adventure, and in this section, we’ll uncover the chef’s top tips for achieving a perfectly grilled duck.

From strategically turning off burners to enhance flavor, to filling the cavity with tantalizing aromatics, and using a drip pan to catch excess fat, these expert techniques are sure to elevate your grilling game. Get ready to impress your guests with a mouthwatering grilled whole duck that’s bursting with flavor.

Turning off Burners directly under the Duck

Turning the burners off beneath the duck is key to grilling it perfectly. It prevents too much heat and flare-ups which could char or burn the skin.

  1. Switch off the burners directly under the duck to enable indirect cooking. This ensures the duck is cooked evenly without burning.
  2. The indirect heat renders out fat and keeps the meat moist. Plus, it gives time for the skin to crisp up!
  3. Maintain a consistent temperature by keeping other burners on low or medium.
  4. This helps all parts of the duck, such as its wings and legs, cook evenly.

For an extra flavor boost, stuff the duck’s cavity with herbs or citrus fruits. And use a drip pan to catch any fat dripping from the duck. This prevents flare-ups and makes clean-up simpler! But don’t forget, no scented candles in the cavity!

Filling the Cavity with Aromatics

For ‘Filling the Cavity with Aromatics’, the process is simple:

  1. Add aromatic ingredients to the duck cavity.
  2. Prepare the aromatics: fresh herbs, garlic cloves, citrus fruits.
  3. Clean and season the cavity: remove fat, season with salt and pepper.
  4. Stuff the cavity: add herbs, garlic, citrus slices.
  5. Secure the cavity: use kitchen twine to tie the legs.

Aromatics enhance taste & aroma during grilling. Plus, it keeps the duck moist. Impress your guests with an elevated culinary dish!

Plus, a brilliant hack: use a drip pan to avoid greasy messes after dinner!

Using a Drip Pan to Catch Greasy Fat

A drip pan is an ideal way to manage the excess fat that drips off a whole duck when grilling. It prevents flare-ups and keeps your grill clean.

  1. Put the drip pan under the duck on the grill.
  2. Ensure it is large enough and centered.
  3. Check and empty the drip pan to avoid overflow.
  4. When the duck is done cooking, get rid of the collected fat.

The drip pan aids in creating good results. It cuts down on smoke and flare-ups due to dripping fat. Plus, it makes cleaning easier. It also lessens the danger of fires and burns from dripping fat. So, you can concentrate on grilling your duck perfectly.

In conclusion, incorporating a drip pan when grilling a whole duck is a smart move. It’s important for safety, cleanliness, and ultimate culinary delight.

Other Recipes and Techniques with Duck

When it comes to cooking a whole duck on the grill, there’s more to explore beyond just the basic recipe. In this section, we’ll venture into other recipes and techniques that involve duck.

From rendering duck fat for various cooking purposes to making delicious duck fat roast potatoes as a delightful side dish, get ready to elevate your dining experience with these enticing duck variations.

So, grab your apron and let’s explore the world of duck culinary adventures.

Rendering Duck Fat for Various Cooking Purposes

Render duck fat for culinary purposes! It’s a versatile process. These four steps will help:

  1. Begin by collecting fat from the duck – trim visible fat or save leftover fat from roasting.
  2. Cut fat into small pieces for even melting.
  3. Place the fat in a heavy-bottomed pan over low heat. Stir occasionally.
  4. Strain the melted fat through a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth. This is your rendered duck fat!

Rendered duck fat has a high smoke point, and it adds flavor to dishes. Use it instead of butter or oil in sautés, fried potatoes, and roasted meats. Try Duck Fat Roast Potatoes for a mouthwatering side dish.

Rendering duck fat is a simple process with tasty outcomes. Follow these steps to extract this flavorful ingredient and step up your cooking!

Making Duck Fat Roast Potatoes as a Side Dish

Cooking a whole duck on the grill? Make duck fat roast potatoes as a side dish! First, follow steps 1.1 to 1.4 from the article to prepare the duck. Collect the drippings, strain out impurities, and run through a fine-mesh sieve for pure rendered fat.

Wash and peel potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces, and toss with the duck fat. Roast in an oven preheated to 425°F (220°C). Cook until golden brown and crispy. Serve hot alongside the duck. Add herbs like rosemary or garlic for flavor variations. Studies show duck fat enhances flavor due to unique properties and high smoke point temperature.


Cooking a duck on the grill can create an amazing dish! Follow the steps below and watch the temperature for a perfectly crispy-skinned, tender meat.

  1. Start by patting the duck dry, seasoning it, and leaving it at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  2. Then, put it on a preheated grill over indirect heat.
  3. Cook for 2-3 hours, until crispy and tender.
  4. Check the temperature frequently to make sure it reaches 165°F (74°C). A meat thermometer is recommended for accuracy.
  5. Then, rest for 10 minutes before carving. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat for a moist and succulent duck.

Serve with roasted veggies, mashed potatoes, or citrus sauce. These sides complement the rich, savory duck, making a satisfying and flavorful meal. In the end, cooking a duck on the grill is a delicious and memorable dining experience!

Some Facts About How To Cook a Whole Duck on the Grill:

  • ✅ Slow-roasting on the grill is the secret to cooking duck perfectly. (Source: The Spruce Eats)
  • ✅ Piercing the skin of the duck at regular intervals allows the fat to drain, resulting in crispy skin. (Source: The Spruce Eats)
  • ✅ When grilling, a drip pan is necessary to catch the greasy fat as it drips off. (Source: The Spruce Eats)
  • ✅ Duck should be cooked at a roasting temperature of around 325°F for two to three hours when grilling. (Source: The Spruce Eats)
  • ✅ Duck pairs well with sweet and fruity flavors like orange juice, apple cider, and berries. (Source: The Spruce Eats)

FAQs about How To Cook A Whole Duck On The Grill

1. How long does it take to grill a whole duck?

According to the recommended method, you should cook the duck for approximately 40 minutes per kilo on a low heat grill.

2. What is the best way to prepare a whole duck for grilling?

Prior to grilling, you should remove the neck and wings, cut off excess fat, and thoroughly dry the duck’s skin with paper towels. Optional steps include leaving the duck uncovered in the fridge overnight to dry out the skin and filling the cavity with aromatics for added flavor.

3. How can I achieve crispy skin when grilling a whole duck?

To achieve crispy skin, you can prick the skin all over with a knife or scalpel-like tool to allow the fat to drain during cooking. It is also recommended to use a drip pan to catch the greasy fat as it drips off the duck.

4. What tools are recommended for grilling a whole duck?

Recommended tools for grilling a whole duck include a grill brush, barbecue mitt, and apron. These tools can enhance the grilling experience and make handling the duck easier.

5. Can I use a standing chicken roaster to grill a whole duck?

Yes, using a standing chicken roaster can help the duck effectively drain off the fat during grilling. It is an optional but recommended step to create a more streamlined shape.

6. Where can I find a recipe for easy charcoal roasted duck?

You can find a recipe for easy charcoal roasted duck, which involves salting the duck and roasting it on a charcoal grill, in the provided information from the Lifehacker website.