Three S’s Grilled Duck

(Savory, Sweet, Smokey!)

With duck season in full swing in the southeast, I’m eager to try new duck recipes that convert even the pickiest of eaters. Here’s one that’s a real winner by Teresa Marrone, author of Dressing and Cooking Wild Game and other cookbooks.



Alligator Hall, Sarah Sanford, cooking and grilling, grilled duck, smokey duck, duck recipe, duck

This is a stock photo that shows a duck with more fat than your average wild duck…



“Three S’s Grilled Duck”


Equipment: covered kettle-type grill, metal baking pan, few handfuls of fruitwood chips soaked in water, charcoal (genuine hardwood preferred).



  • 1 or 2 whole ducks, skin on, halved, washed
  • 4 cups apple juice
  • 4 cups cold water
  • 1/2 cup coarse kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco or substitute
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves, or 1 teaspoon crumbled dried rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper


1. Combine apple juice, water, kosher salt, and Tabasco in large ceramic bowl or stainless-steel pot. Stir until salt dissolves. Add duck halves and weigh down with ceramic plate. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours — now you’re up and brining!


2. Near the end of brining time, prepare medium-sized fire by arranging charcoal in two banks at sides of grill. Place metal pan between banks and fill with water. Light coals and let them burn until covered with ash.


3. When coals are ready, remove duck from brine and pat dry. Discard brine. Drain wood chips and toss half onto coals. Place grill grate over coals and arrange duck halves, skin side up, on grate over water pan (not coals). Cover grill and cook 30 minutes (20 minutes for small ducks). Then add remainder of wood chips to coals and move the ducks around, keeping skin side up. Cover and cook another 30 minutes (15 for small ducks).


4. Meanwhile, mix remaining ingredients in small bowl.


5. At the end of the second cooking time, turn ducks skin side down and brush with orange juice mixture. Cover and cook, turning and basting every 5 minutes, for 20 minutes longer.