1 (5 1/2 to 6 pound) frozen Long Island or White Pekin Duck, thawed
1/2 cup table salt
1 pint pineapple orange juice
1 tbsp whole black peppercorns
1 bunch fresh thyme
4 cloves garlic, smashed
1. Combine all brine ingredients in a zip top freezer bag and set aside to dissolve the salt.
2. Clean and wash the duck and pat dry.
3. Locate the spine at the base of the tail and use kitchen shears to cut alongside the backbone towards the neck cavity.
4. Cut straight down the other side of the backbone towards the rear cavity. Freeze the backbone for making stock later.
5. Cut straight down the middle of the breast bone, leaving 2 equal duck halves.
6. Separate the leg quarters from the breast.
7. Use tines of a fork to pierce the skin on each piece to allow the fat to easily render.
8. Place the duck quarters inside a re-sealable bag, seal, and rotate a few times to distribute the brine over the duck. Refrigerate for 2 hours.
9. After the two hours, bring 1½ inches of water to a boil in a large pot.
10. Place a metal colander in the pot and line the sides of the colander with the duck. Do not stack the duck quarters on each other.
11. Cover and turn the heat to medium low. Steam the duck for 45 minutes.
12. Place a large cast iron skillet into the oven and preheat to 475 degrees F.
13. Slide the oven shelf holding the iron skillet out of the stove to a position over the open oven door.
14. Use tongs to remove the duck pieces from the steamer and place legs, skin side down, into the sizzling hot skillet.
15. Place the skillet back into the hot oven immediately and cook the leg quarters for 10 minutes.
16. Repeat this step to add the breasts, skin side down, and cook for 7 more minutes or until the duck takes on a deep mahogany color and the skin is very crisp. Internal temperature at the center of the thickest breast should reach 165 °F.
17. Remove the duck from the skillet and rest under foil for 10 minutes.
Need more help with this recipe? Click below for Larry’s instructional video.