Being married to a duck hunter, I eat a LOT, I mean, A LOT of duck. I’ve thought about starting a Duck Hunter’s wives support group but that’s another another story! LOL.  The key to cooking duck is to not overcook it! It should be served medium rare to ensure it doesn’t get tough or gamey. This recipe originally appeared in my cookbook, “Healthy Electric Smoker” but it can be made on any kind of smoker.

I am used to eating the small ducks like teal or diver ducks that my husband brings home, but if you are using a store bought domesticated duck, chances are it is a Pekin or Long Island Duck which is larger in size. It is all about cooking to the internal temp of 135 in the breast, regardless of the size of the duck! I recommend using an internal read thermometer like the Thermapen or the Thermoworks Dot (I swear by my Thermapen) so you can monitor the internal temp and ensure you don’t overcook it.

Ducks, with their layer of fat on the outside, are excellent for smoking as the fat helps absorb the smoke flavor, while also keeping the duck moist. Ducks will vary in size so adjust your cooking time based on meeting internal temperature of 135 in the duck breast, which will cook it to medium rare. After you’ve smoked the duck, finish it on a hot grill or under the broiler to crisp up the skin, avoiding overcooking. Save any rendered duck fat for cooking with later- you will thank me later- it is delicious on potatoes and just about everything! 

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how to smoke duck

Chinese 5-Spice Duck

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  • Author: Robyn
  • Total Time: 3+ hourse
  • Yield: 3-4 servings, depending on size of duck 1x


Serves: 4

Serving Size 4 oz, for a 3-4 lb duck

Prep Time 24 hours

Cook Time 3-4 hours

Smoking Wood: Oak, Cherry

Smoker Temp: 250

Rest Time 10 minutes


  • Dry Brine: 1 ½ tsp salt
  • One 5 lb duck, gizzards and inner cavity fat removed

Spice Paste:

  • 3 tbsp Chinese 5 Spice powder
  • 2 tbsp smoked sugar Or brown sugar
  • ½ tbsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked sea salt


  1. On a bird that has been patted dry with a paper towel, rub it all over with the 1.5 tsp sea salt and let it sit uncovered in the refrigerator overnight- this will help the skin become more crispy when smoking.
  2. Next, poke holes in the skin of the duck being careful not to puncture the meat (this is so the fat can render out), and rub the spice paste all over the duck.
  3. Smoke the duck at 250 degrees until the internal temp reads 130 degrees in the breast with an internal read thermometer. To achieve crispy skin, grill the duck on 400 degrees or place under a broiler for 5 minutes, being careful not to overcook, removing the duck from the oven or grill once the internal read thermometer reads 135 internal degrees.
  4. Let rest a few minutes and serve immediately.


I like to pair duck with heart roasted root vegetables and an arugula salad. And, of course, it goes well with anything Asian inspired!

  • Prep Time: 24 hours (brine)
  • Cook Time: 3-4 hours depending on size of duck
  • Category: American, Asian






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