Barbecued duck with cherries

This Asian-inspired dish is designed to be cooked outdoors on the barbecue then put on the table and shared - just the thing for a warm, sunny day.


  • 2 x 2kg free-range ducks
  • 6 litres master stock (see below)

  • For the sauce
  • 1 orange
  • 1½ cups fresh cherries
  • 200g palm sugar, grated
  • 4 tbsp finely julienned ginger
  • 4-5 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 lime, juiced

  • For the master stock (makes about 6 litres)
  • peel of 1 orange
  • 225g rock sugar
  • 1 bottle Shaoxing wine
  • 1½ cups light soy
  • 6cm piece ginger, sliced
  • 10 cloves garlic, smashed
  • ½ bunch spring onions, chopped
  • 5 star anise
  • 1 cassia bark


For the master stock, use a paring knife and remove any white pith from the orange peel as this will impart a bitter flavour to the stock. Roughly crush the rock sugar using a mortar and pestle. Add all ingredients to 5 litres of water in a pan, bring to the boil, simmer for 30 minutes and then strain.

Remove necks, the first two wing joints and any fat deposits in each duck cavity.

Bring master stock to a boil in a pot large enough to hold both ducks. (If you don’t have one, cook in two separate pots or a deep, heavy-based roasting tin.) Place ducks in stock, breast side down, and keep submerged with a plate. Simmer for 35 minutes. Turn over and simmer for 5 more minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool in stock for at least an hour. Remove from stock. Remove legs and breasts from frame. Cut legs in half at the joint.

Using a paring knife or vegetable peeler, cut long pieces of peel from the orange. Try to avoid any white pith. Finely julienne the peel. Juice the orange and pit the cherries. Place palm sugar with a little water in a pot and bring to a boil. Add orange peel and ginger and continue to cook until sugar mix reaches a dark caramel colour. Carefully add orange juice to stop the caramelisation. Stir to combine then add fish sauce and lime juice to taste. Add cherries and simmer for a minute.

Preheat barbecue to medium. Before serving, chargrill legs for a few minutes on both sides. Do the same with the breasts but not for as long. Slice breasts and arrange duck on a platter. Warm the cherry sauce, spoon over duck and serve immediately.

NOTES: Want something to drink?
Burn Cottage is one of the Central Otago region's most exciting producers and Cashburn is its second label, utilising the estate's younger vines. The 2014 pinot is an exuberant, fruit-driven style showcasing plums, blackberries, rhubarb and dark spices.

First published in the Good Weekend. Photography by William Meppem and Jennifer Soo. Styling by Hannah Meppem. Food preparation by Nick Banbury.

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