Personally, I think wild duck has a unique, desirable flavor which pleases my palate. If I were a better shot, I would likely eat duck about once a week. I find it more pleasant than pheasant. Yet, you’re not reading this to hear my opinions, important as they surely are, on fowl. I assume that you want to learn how to prepare a great duck dinner using your GMG pellet grill. You can purchase a domestic duck at the grocery store and cook it to perfection, but it will not have that aromatic flavor of its wild cousin. It will taste quite a bit like pork tenderloin, with about the same texture. You will enjoy either one, and the technique is the same for both.
Ducks and geese have a thin layer of fat between the skin and the meat which keeps them warm and helps them float effortlessly. Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to rid the duck of this fat and serve your guests and family a delicious, healthy dish which is high in iron, niacin, and selenium.
The fat will cook out of the duck if you slit the skin and fat with a sharp knife about every ¾”. Slice through the fat layer but not into the meat. Do this all the way around the body, and pay special attention to the legs. You will need to cook the duck on a wire rack in a pan, elevated so that it does not cook in its own fat. After all, we’re not making confit here. An even better option is a stand-up chicken stand with its own drain pan. If your stand has no drain pan, set it in another pan to collect the fat. Interestingly, many people cook with duck fat as a healthy alternative to butter or as a competitor to olive oil.
Wash the duck thoroughly in cold water and dry it completely. Rub it with GMG Wild Game Rub, both inside and out. Quarter an apple and an onion, and stuff them inside the cavity.
If you use the wire rack/roasting pan method rather than the chicken stand, place the bird breast side up. It will take about 25 minutes per pound to grill the duck at 350°F (177°C). During this time, the fat will boil and drain into the pan, and the skin will crisp up nicely. The duck is done when your GMG meat probe or meat thermometer reads 165°F (74°C) halfway into the thickest part of the breast.
If you cook a domestic, you might want to start the grill out at 175°F (79°C) for an hour or so and then turn it up to 350°F (177°C) to finish it off. This will put a bit of smoke flavor into the meat. Personally, I do not do this for wild duck since the smoke tends to tame the wild taste I enjoy.
Let the duck rest for 10-15 minutes after you’ve roasted it. Then remove the legs and wings. Slice across the carcass in 1” pieces. The crunchy skin will taste absolutely delicious, but you should know that it contains about 500 calories per cup, most of which comes from fat. Moderation!