Recipe: Grilled butterflied duck with spicy watermelon glaze

Published: Tuesday, Jul. 9, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 2D
Last Modified: Wednesday, Jul. 10, 2013 - 8:07 am

Prep time: 15 minutes

Total time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Serves: 4

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. Tested by Elizabeth Karmel for the Associated Press.


One 6-pound duck

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

Pinch of cayenne pepper

Olive oil

Spicy watermelon glaze:

1 cup seedless watermelon flesh

1/2 cup apple jelly

Zest and juice of 1/2 lime

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon jalapeño hot sauce

Pinch of salt


Heat one side of a grill to medium and the other side to low. During cooking, if you get flaring from the duck fat, you may need to turn off the low side completely.

Use paper towels to pat the duck dry. Using poultry or kitchen shears, cut along each side of the duck's backbone and remove it. Turn the duck breast-side up. Open the 2 sides of the duck as if you were opening a book and lay it flat. Break the breastbone by firmly applying pressure and pressing down. Tuck the wing tips under the upper wing and place on a sheet pan. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix together the salt, pepper and cayenne. Brush the duck all over with olive oil. Season lightly on both sides with the spice rub. Place the duck skin-side up directly on the grill grates on the cooler side of the grill. Grill for about 2 hours.

While the duck is cooking, make the glaze: In a blender, purée the watermelon flesh until smooth. Set aside.

In a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium, heat the apple jelly, stirring constantly, until it is melted. Add the watermelon juice and stir to combine. Stir in the lime zest and juice, red pepper flakes, jalapeño hot sauce and salt. Mix and taste, adjusting the seasoning if desired.

The glaze can be used warm or cooled. It can be refrigerated in a tightly sealed jar for up to 2 days.

After 2 hours, brush the watermelon glaze on the duck. Continue grilling for another 20 to 30 minutes, brushing with the glaze 2 more times. Grill until the juices run clear and the thigh registers 190 degrees.

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

Per serving: 1,050 calories (68 percent from fat), 79 g fat (27 g sat. fat), 30 g carbohydrates, 52 g protein, 640 mg sodium, 230 mg cholesterol, 0 g fiber.

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