Whole ducks are something that you can find a lot around the holidays, so I’m sharing my recipe for smoking a whole duck on the smoker.
For this recipe I am using a whole duck I purchased from the grocery store. You can use a wild duck, but I would recommend brining it before smoking a wild duck to remove the gamey flavor.
With this store bought duck I start by allowing the frozen duck to slow-thaw in the fridge. Once the duck is thawed, I pull out everything that is stuffed in the cavity of the duck and throw it out. Then rinse the suck off with cold water and pat the whole duck off really good – both on the outside and inside the duck cavity.
Now it’s time to season the duck. I keep it really simple by just using salt and pepper to season both the outside of the duck and the inside of the duck cavity. Once the duck is seasoned with salt and pepper, I give it a quick drizzle of 2TBSP honey and 1 TBSP soy sauce. Now the duck is ready for the smoker.
I smoke duck at a higher temp because there is a lot of fat under the skin of a duck, and you have to make sure that is rendered properly. That is why I set my smoker at 325 degrees. This higher temp will get the duck done and allow the skin the brown and get as crispy as it can on a smoker.
I strongly recommend using an internal meat thermometer when you’re cooking duck or any poultry at all. For this duck, I use a DOT internal thermometer.
Once the duck hits 155 internal in the breast, it’s time to apply the glaze.
Smoked Duck Glaze
– 1 TBSP Honey
– 1 TBSP Molasses
– 2 TBSP Orange Juice
– 1 TBSP Balsamic Vinegar
– Zest of one orange
– Pinch of salt and pepper
Just combine these ingredients and brush it on the duck. Now you just need to the glaze to set and the duck to come up another 10 degrees.
For duck, you are looking for an internal temp of 165 in the breast and 175 in the thigh. There are people who say you can cook duck rare or med. rare, but for grocery store duck, I like to take it to an internal temp that I know is safe.
Once your duck hits the proper internal temp, it’s time to take the whole, smoked duck off the smoker and allow it to rest for 15 – 20 minutes. Then it’s time to dive-in and eat your holiday smoked duck.