How to Deep-Fry a Duck


Duck is an ideal candidate for deep-frying, says food writer Mark Bittman, because its high fat content yields a tantalizingly crisp, browned skin when fried. You can deep-fry duck in a large pot or Dutch oven, but it's easier and less messy to use a deep-fat turkey fryer outside. Set up the fryer in a flat, well-ventilated location that's at least 10 feet away from trees, vehicles or buildings. Don't use a deep-fat fryer in a garage or on a covered porch, and always have a fire extinguisher handy.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper towels
  • Sharp knife
  • Seasonings, such as salt, pepper, herbs and spices
  • Kitchen twine
  • Deep-fat turkey fryer
  • Vegetable oil, such as peanut, canola or safflower oil
  • Meat thermometer
  • Remove and discard the giblet package, neck and sauce packets from the interior of the thawed duck. Use paper towels to pat the duck dry on all sides.

  • Use a sharp knife to cut off the tail and any excess skin or fat from the duck's exterior. Rub the entire outer surface with your choice of seasonings, such as salt, pepper, herbs and spices.

  • Tie the duck's legs together securely with kitchen twine. Cut off and discard any excess twine. Place the duck on the deep-fat fryer's poultry rack so that it is positioned leg-side down.

  • Fill the deep-fat fryer with oil. Use peanut oil for the best results, although other vegetable oils such as canola or safflower are suitable. Heat the oil to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Lower the duck into the oil and put the fryer lid in place. Fry the duck nine minutes for every pound.

  • Remove the duck from the fryer and check that the internal temperature in the thigh has reached 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Let the duck rest for five to 10 minutes before serving.

Tips & Warnings

  • Allow a frozen duck to thaw completely in the refrigerator before deep-frying. Plan for two to three days of defrosting time.
  • A 5-pound duck will yield only enough to feed three comfortably, says Bittman. Plan to prepare more than one duck or offer plenty of side dishes if you're serving a crowd.
  • Store leftover duck in an airtight container in the refrigerator for three to four days, or for as long as six months in the freezer.
  • Do not attempt to dispose of or store hot oil until it has cooled down overnight.
  • Fried foods like deep-fried duck are high in fat and calories. Enjoy them only occasionally and in moderation.

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