Roast Duck

Makes 6 Servings
This Roast Duck may take a few hours to cook, but it is well worth the effort! The meat is juicy, the skin crispy, and the maple syrup-balsamic glaze gives it a beautiful roasted look.
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  • 6 pound (2.7kg) duck
  • salt
  • 5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced


  • ½ cup (120ml) balsamic vinegar
  • 1 lemon, freshly squeezed 
  • 3 tablespoons (45ml) maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) sugar


Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. 


Remove the giblets from inside the duck. Rinse the duck, inside and outside, with cold water. Pat dry with paper towels.

Set the duck on the working surface. Score the duck's skin on the breast in a diamond pattern, making sure you only cut the skin, without reaching the meat. Poke the other fatty parts of the duck with the tip of the knife all over, to ensure fat release. You don’t need to poke the duck legs as the skin is pretty thin there (except for where the duck legs connect to the duck body). Season the duck very generously with salt both inside the cavity of the duck and outside on the skin, legs, all over. Place the duck breast side up.

Place the 5 garlic cloves and lemon slices inside the duck cavity. In order to hold the garlic and lemon inside, fold the skin flaps on both sides inward and tie up the duck lets with butcher’s twine.  


The duck should be roasted for a total of 3 hours at 350°F/180°C. These 3 hours of roasting are divided into 4 distinctive time segments (1 hour breast side up + 40 minutes breast side down + 40 minutes breast side up brushed with balsamic-lemon mixture + 40 minutes breast side up brushed with honey-balsamic mixture) - see directions for each step below.


  1. Place the bird breast side up on a large roasting pan with a rack. The roasting pan should have a roasting rack to lift the duck from the bottom of the pan and allow the fat to drip below the duck. Roast the duck, breast side up, for 1 hour at 350°F/180°C.
  2. After 1 hour of roasting, flip the duck on its breast and roast it breast side down for 40 minutes, at 350°F/180°C.
  3. After a total of 1 hour and 40 minutes, remove the roasting pan with the duck from the oven and carefully move the duck to a large platter - to ensure that the garlic and lemons do not fall out keep the skin on both sides folded in.  Carefully pour off all the duck fat juices from the roasting pan into a large heat-proof bowl or container.
  4. Flip the duck breast side up again on a rack in a roasting pan. In a small bowl, combine ½ cup (120ml) of balsamic vinegar with the freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon. Brush the entire duck with the balsamic mixture paying close attention to the scored areas of the duck. Cook the duck breast side up for another 40 minutes at 350°F/180°C, brushing every 10 minutes with the mixture.


In a separate small bowl, combine 3 tablespoons (45ml) maple syrup, 2 tablespoons (30ml) sugar,  and 3 tablespoons (45ml) of balsamic vinegar lemon mixture that you will have left over from step 4. Brush the breast side of the duck with this maple syrup-balsamic mixture, and roast for another 40 minutes, brushing the duck breast side every 10 minutes with maple syrup-balsamic mixture. You can even carefully broil the duck for the last 10-15 minutes if you like (do it carefully, checking the duck regularly to make sure it doesn't char too much).

After the duck is cooked, remove it from the oven, let it stand for 15 minutes. Then, carefully remove and discard the lemon from the cavity. 

Carve the duck and serve!

Cook’s Note: If you purchased frozen duck, defrost the frozen duck in the refrigerator for several days. Once the duck is completely defrosted, take the duck out 30 minutes prior to cooking to bring it to room temperature.


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