Recipe courtesy of Biltmore Estate (org)

Vanderbilt Traditional Christmas Duck

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 9 hr 55 min
  • Prep: 25 min
  • Inactive: 8 hr
  • Cook: 1 hr 30 min
  • Yield: 2 servings
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1 (3 to 5-pound) duck, giblets removed

1 orange

1 sprig fresh thyme, chopped

1 sprig fresh rosemary, chopped

2 tablespoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons sugar

3 Earl Grey tea bags

3 cups water

2 tablespoons molasses


  1. Place duck in a medium glass bowl breast side up. Use your fingers separate the skin from the meat without tearing it. Cut the orange in half and squeeze over the duck, then place the rinds in the cavity. In a small bowl, mix together the thyme, rosemary, 1 tablespoon salt and the pepper. Sprinkle mixture all over the duck. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, rotating the duck after 2 hours so the breast side is down.
  2. In the bottom of a pot with a steamer insert, combine the sugar, tea bags, and water and bring to a simmer. Place marinated duck in steamer legs down and cover. Steam for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  3. Preheat rotisserie to 275 degrees F.
  4. In a medium glass bowl, mix together remaining salt and the molasses. Rub the mixture over the steamed duck. Place the duck on the spit. Cook duck for 1 hour or until meat is cooked through and skin is crispy. Remove from oven and let rest for 20 minutes before carving.

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