Spit-Roasted Duck with Orange and Rosemary

Spit-Roasted Duck Recipe

If you’ve only had oven-roasted duck, this recipe just may change your whole opinion of the bird. It comes out so crisp and delicious, with a deeply brown, burnished skin, it’s almost like Chinese roast duck. But to render the fat, you really have to prick the skin all over—fifty times, in fact. Count ’em!–Mario Batali

LC 50 Times Note

It seems 50 isn’t just the number of times one ought to brush one’s hair at night or the number of sheep one may count before becoming even remotely sleepy. It’s also the number of times one must pierce the skin of a duck prior to roasting. We’re not about to argue with any logic that turns out duck skin this crisp.

Spit-Roasted Duck Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 15 M
  • 2 H
  • Serves 4


  • 1/2 cup orange marmalade
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary leaves
  • One 4 to 4 1/2 pound duck
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  • 1. Prepare a gas or charcoal grill for rotisserie cooking over indirect medium heat (or according to the instructions for your grill). Place the drip pan under the center of the spit.
  • 2. In a small saucepan, combine the marmalade, orange juice, balsamic vinegar, garlic, and rosemary and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and gently simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool. Pour 1/4 cup of the sauce into a small bowl to use for basting the duck, and pour the rest into a small serving bowl for passing at the table.
  • 3. Meanwhile, remove all the excess fat from the duck. Wash the duck and dry it thoroughly both inside and out with paper towels. With a sharp metal skewer, prick the duck skin all over, especially the thighs, 50 times. Season the duck inside and out with salt and pepper to taste. Tie the legs together and brush the duck all over with a light coating of the orange-marmalade mixture.
  • 4. Place the duck on the spit and secure it with the clamps. Attach it to the rotisserie mecha­nism, cover the grill, and cook until the tem­perature in the thickest part of the thigh reaches 160°F (71°C), 1 1/4 to 1 3/4 hours, depending on the heat of your grill. About 15 minutes before the duck is done, brush it all over again with more of the orange sauce. When the duck is done, transfer it to a cutting board and let rest for 15 minutes.
  • 5. Carve the duck and pass the remaining orange sauce on the side.
Hungry for more? Chow down on these:

Hey, there. Just a reminder that all our content is copyright protected. Like a photo? Please don't use it without our written permission. Like a recipe? Kindly contact the publisher listed above for permission before you post it (that's what we did) and rewrite it in your own words. That's the law, kids. And don't forget to link back to this page, where you found it. Thanks!

  1. Jane says:

    I plan to serve this for Christmas but struggling with side dishes; any suggestions?

  2. Alex Fernandez, Miami Beach, Fl says:

    I used this recipes to make a duck dinner (for the first time) and I feel that the results couldn’t have been any better. I did, however, take an extra step that I borrowed from another recipe. After cleaning the inside of the duck, I seasoned it with salt and pepper and then proceeded to stuff the cavity with quarter-cut wedges of Florida Oranges, whole garlic cloves, rosemary and thyme stems. I think this step helped bring onto the duck meat some of the flavor found on the sauce used for basting. Also, on the dripping pan for the duck I place some cut potatoes to cook while lightly seasoned whole carrots cooked directly on the grill. Overall an easy (yet like every other duck recipe–time consuming) and great recipe to serve up an impressive meal.

    • David Leite says:

      Alex, excellent suggestions you have there. They certainly would add a lot more flavor to the meat as well as to the sauce. Thanks for adding to the recipe.

  3. Daniel says:

    Hi, I’m planning to make this for Christmas, having a large family, I’m cooking two birds, firstly would doing a dry brine in the fridge for 24hrs help with the skin? Secondly when I’m putting them on the spit would I leave a gap between birds? Lastly how much would the cooking time alter? Thank you.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Daniel, we haven’t tested the recipe as you describe but I see no reason why the dry brine wouldn’t help crisp the skin as it works wonders for chicken and turkey. And yes, you definitely want to leave a gap of at least a couple inches between the birds to ensure the air can circulate around all parts of the duck, which in turn ensures the duck skin will roast and turn crisp as opposed to steam and remain soggy. As for the cooking time, I don’t know exactly how much time to allow but I would add about a half hour extra, assuming this is in a contained space such as an oven or grill and not over an open fire.

Have something to say?

Then tell us. Have a picture you'd like to add to your comment? Send it along. Covet one of those spiffy pictures of yourself to go along with your comment? Get a free Gravatar. And as always, please take a gander at our comment policy before posting.


Daily Subscription

Enter your email address and get all of our updates sent to your inbox the moment they're posted. Be the first on your block to be in the know.

Preview daily e-mail

Weekly Subscription

Hate tons of emails? Do you prefer info delivered in a neat, easy-to-digest (pun intended) form? Then enter your email address for our weekly newsletter.

Preview weekly e-mail