My First Attempt at Roast Duck — An Ongoing Commentary

November 26, 2020 3 of 8

I started this post, then realized I couldn’t remember if this was my third or fourth post for today. So I went to my All Posts page and found that somehow all of my upcoming posts are out of order.

So I spent a while straightening that out (I’m still not done, but it’s a start) and now I’m ready to make my duck.

I just realized that I haven’t showered yet today. Crap. It’s almost 4 pm. Well, I’ll probably get sweaty making the duck, so I’ll shower afterwards.

First, I’m heating the oven to 350, which seems to be the accepted temperature for roast duck. I’m going to take the duck out of the fridge, pull the innards out,and then put them in a container for Evelyn’s dogs.

The duck is in the oven. I put some of the skin and also the fat that I pulled out while removing the innards. I’m going to save the fat for another experiment later — french fries cooked in duck fat. More on that later.

Edited to add: I totally forgot the actual first step of this duck — being unable to get the damn package open with my kitchen scissors so I used a big serrated knife which cut right through the orange sauce packet and the orange sauce got all over everything.

I removed the innards, cut off the loose skin and the tail, and ran just a little water into it so that I could see whether I got all of the innards out. I scored the skin on the breast (I missed and nicked the meat the tiniest bit in one place), then sprinkled salt onto the duck and a bit inside the cavity.

Then I stuck it on the vertical roaster thingy, stuck it in the oven, and bleached everything that the duck came close to down twice. I poured pure bleach on it and then a couple of minutes later I used generic Clorox wipes on everything. This may be the germ-free-est my kitchen has been in years.

Not that I go around cooking germy things and then leaving it. It’s just that when I cook poultry, I usually start with it a little more frozen than the duck was so that I can control the spread of the germs a little better, then I have to clean less of the area of the kitchen.

Now we wait.

I just salvaged my first bit of duck fat and I don’t know if I’m going to get enough to make it worth our while to try to make french fries. I guess we’ll see. It has, after all, only been about 15 minutes. I also realized that I forgot to put foil down on the pan before putting the duck on it.

So that’s going to be fun to clean later.

It’s 4:30 and my duck has been cooking for half an hour. Still somewhere between one and three hours (!) to go.

Really, if this turns out halfway edible, I may do this more in the future. I wish I could’ve found my actual roasting pan. I ended up doing this on a cookie sheet, which makes it kind of hard to get the fat off the pan. Instead of my turkey baster, I ended up just using a very large spoon.

It’s 4:50 and the kitchen is getting a little smoky from the drippings burning in the oven. I put the exhaust fan on medium. Let’s hope it doesn’t set off the smoke alarm in the house. It probably won’t, because it is just a little smoky. But I’m still kind of concerned.

It’s 5:20 and I just checked the temperature of the duck. It’s 160 degrees!?! I really worry that my meat thermometer is off.

I just took it out of the oven and it sure looks cooked from the outside.

It’s 5:30 and I just took it out and flipped it onto its back (a challenging proposition, given how hot it was and the fact that it was on a vertical roasting stand thing). I saw some red inside and so I checked the temperature again at the . . . hip? and it was only 145 degrees. So back into the oven it goes for a while longer.

But it’s getting there.

At 5:45, the temperature at the hip joint was 160 degrees and the liquid that came out when I poked it was just a little pink. We’re getting close to finding out if this is my dinner or the coyotes’.

At 6:00, I checked the temperature again. The hip was still 160 but the breast was 180. I figured that averages out to 170 and should be close enough. It’s just about done resting and soon we’ll see.

It’s done. Well, some of the parts are pinker that I’d hoped, and I don’t know if I’d pay money for this from a Czech restaurant, but it’s poultry, and it’s edible. I don’t think my Czech ancestors are turning over in their graves, for whatever that’s worth.

Oh, and I’ve completely forgotten how to cut poultry up neatly. I basically have chunks of duck, some with bones still in them (legs, wings) and others boneless.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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