Not only does this version of roast duck taste incredible, it’s also a great recipe to make if you want to impress guests. The sticky, savory-sweet glaze gives the duck amazing color and crispness and keeps the dark moist and succulent. As usual I removed several steps and kept the ingredient list semi-short to take away some of the stress of making an entire duck. Serve with wild rice stuffing and a crisp, green salad.


  • 3 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 5-pound whole duck


  1. Completely defrost the duck in the refrigerator for 2-3 days if using a frozen duck, then remove giblets and neck. Rinse well, inside and out, with cold water and pat completely dry using paper towels. Let the duck sit out on the counter for 30 minutes to come to room temperature.
  2. Use a sharp knife to score the skin on the duck’s breast in a diamond pattern, trying to cut only the skin without reaching the breast meat below. If there are other fatty areas like where the duck legs connect to the body, give those a slash too.
  3. Stuff the cavity of the duck with garlic cloves, a quartered onion, and a couple sprigs of rosemary. You could also use lemon slices or a quartered apple or orange.
  4. Fold the loose skin on both ends of the duck to hold everything inside and tie the duck legs with butcher’s twine or string to truss it by tying a loop around one duck leg, then crossing it over the other leg and wrapping the twine around both legs a time or two, then tying it off.
  5. In a small bowl, combine the salt, paprika, garlic powder, and pepper, and rub over all over the duck.
  6. Place the duck with the scored breast side up on a wire cooling rack over a baking sheet or on the rack of a large roasting pan.
  7. Start the duck by roasting it at a higher temperature of 425°F for 15 minutes, then decrease the oven or smoker temp to 350°F and roast for 1 hour and 15 minutes. At the 60 minute mark, brush half of the honey over the duck, then cook for 10 minutes before brushing the duck with the remaining honey.
  8. If the juices are still running pink after 1.5 hours, let it roast another 15 minutes before pulling it out of the oven or smoker, and then tent with foil for 15 minutes to let the juices redistribute before carving.

The duck will be done when the juice is barely a rosy pink, after poking the bird, thigh area is best.


I like the skin on the crispier side, so when necessary, I put the bird under the broiler for a few minutes until it reaches the degree of crisp I like. Be careful not to get too close to the broiler because the skin can easily burn.