Spatchcock duck with plums and redcurrants
- July 2021
- Serves 2-4
- Hands-on time 45 min, plus resting and 12-24 hours brining
Our delicious recipe for spatchcock duck can be made in the oven or on the BBQ for incredible flavour. Serve with grilled plums and redcurrants.
If this recipe has you looking for more fruits to grill on the BBQ, try our chargrilled tropical fruits.
- 41.3g (13.5g saturated)
- 16.8g (16.7g sugars)
- Free-range duck (about 2kg)
- 6 tarragon sprigs
- 4 thyme sprigs
- 2 tbsp salt flakes
- 2 tsp dark brown sugar
- Finely grated zest ½ orange
- 4-6 plums, halved or quartered
- 150g redcurrants
- 60ml madeira (or orange juice)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 star anise
- 1 fresh bay leaf
- 3 tbsp runny honey
- 3 tbsp good balsamic vinegar
You’ll also need
- Oven tray and wire rack
- BBQ with a lid
- Large old flameproof roasting tin
- Small roasting tin or cast-iron skillet
Useful to have
- Digital probe thermometer
- The day before you want to eat, put the duck on a chopping board, breast side down. Using a sharp pair of kitchen scissors, cut down both sides of the backbone from the neck to the tail. Turn the duck over and use the heel of your palm to press down firmly over the breastbone to flatten the bird. Put the duck on a wire rack and sit it in the sink. Pour a kettle of boiling water over the duck,
then pat dry and use a skewer to prick the skin all over, being careful not to puncture the flesh (see Know-how).
- Finely chop the leaves from 3 tarragon sprigs and 2 thyme sprigs, then mix with the salt, sugar, orange zest and some black pepper. Rub the mixture all over the duck skin and flesh. Put the duck on a wire rack set over an oven tray and put in the bottom of the fridge, uncovered, to marinate for 12-24 hours.
- When ready to cook, heat/light a barbecue for low-medium indirect heat (arrange the coals around the edges of the barbecue, leaving a gap for the old roasting tin – if your barbecue has a thermometer you’re aiming for a temperature of around 150°C). Take the duck out of the fridge 45 minutes before cooking. Put the old tin on the base of the barbecue to catch the duck fat, then put the duck, breast-side down, on the grill directly over the tin. Roast for 2 hours with the lid down (see Know-how).
- Remove the duck from the grill and set aside. Stoke the coals to raise the temperature (it should be around 200ºC). While the duck rests, combine the plums, redcurrants, madeira/orange juice, spices and remaining herbs in a small roasting tin/cast-iron skillet. Season, then put the tin/ skillet on the grill over the coals, lid down. Roast for 20-25 minutes until the plums are tender and the sauce is bubbling and reduced.
- Mix the honey and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl and brush all over the duck. Put the duck, skin-side up, back on the centre of the grill (over indirect heat). Cook with the lid down for 20-25 minutes, basting the skin with the rest of the glaze, until sticky and caramelised. Set aside to rest in a warm place for about 20 minutes before carving.
Don’t want to BBQ? Heat the oven to 130ºC fan/gas 2. Cook the duck, skin-side down, on a wire rack set over a baking dish for 2 hours. Increase the oven to 200ºC fan/gas 7, turn the bird over and cook, basting with the glaze, for 20 25 minutes until sticky and caramelised. Add the plum and redcurrant mix to the oven for the final 20 minutes.
Pricking the skin lets the fat run out when heated, leaving the skin crisp. You’ll need to top up the coals for a 2 hour cook – getting them glowing white first in a chimney starter makes it easier. If you have one, use a digital probe thermometer to check the temperature of the duck in the thickest part of the breast. It should read at least 65ºC when removed from the BBQ (it will rise a few degrees as it rests).
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