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Butterflied Grilled Duck with Spicy Watermelon Glaze

The duck is the new chicken! Butterflying the duck makes it easier to cook and shortens the cooking time, and the result is crispy skin with succulent meat. The spicy-sweet watermelon glaze ups the flavor ante. This will be your new go-to grilling recipe.

Ingredients:

For the spicy watermelon glaze:

  • 1/2 small watermelon, cut from the rind into chunks
  • 1 jar (12 oz.) apple jelly
  • Juice and zest of 1 small lime
  • 2 tsp. red chili flakes
  • 1 tsp. jalapeño hot sauce
  • Pinch of salt

  • 2 whole ducks, each 3 1/2 to 4 lb., untreated
  • Olive oil for brushing
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

To make the spicy watermelon glaze, run the watermelon through a food mill or juicer and collect the juice.

In a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan over low heat, melt the jelly, stirring occasionally so that it doesn’t burn. When the jelly has melted, stir in the watermelon juice to combine, and then stir in the lime juice and zest. Mix in the red chili flakes, jalapeño hot sauce and salt. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Use the glaze warm or let cool and transfer to a clean jar. The glaze will keep tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Preheat a grill for indirect/medium-high heat.

Pat the ducks dry with paper towels, and then cut along the sides of the backbones using poultry or kitchen shears to remove them. Turn the ducks, breast side up, open the 2 sides as if you were opening a book and lay them flat. Break the breastbones by firmly applying pressure and pressing down (you may break a few rib bones in the process). Tuck the wing tips under the upper wings. Place the ducks on a steel grill roaster or on a baking sheet.

Brush the ducks all over with olive oil and sprinkle lightly on both sides with the salt and some black pepper. Place the ducks, skin side up, in the center of the grill, close the grill lid and grill for about 2 hours.

Brush the spicy watermelon glaze on the ducks, and then continue grilling until the juices run clear and the internal temperature of the thighs registers 190°F, 20 to 30 minutes more, brushing with the glaze 2 more times.

Remove the ducks from the grill and brush with the glaze one last time. Let the ducks rest for 10 minutes. Cut the duck into halves or quarters and serve. Serves 4.

Recipe courtesy of Chef Elizabeth Karmel.