Cherry Beer Can Duck

After the success of the beer can chicken, I was keen to use the method again but this time with a duck and some cherry beer. As far as I know, cherry beer doesn’t come in cans so I bought a bottle and just tipped it into a regular beer can (king size Stella cans so I could get more beer in – credit to Chris for that idea).

I think I’ve got the BBQ ‘indirect cooking’ method pretty much down now – it basically involves moving the hot coals to the sides of the BBQ and using a roasting tray to catch the fat. The lid needs to be on to get the heat circulating. My two major concerns were ensuring that the drip tray was deep enough (as a duck is so fatty) and also taking steps to get maximum crispiness of skin. Twitter is always useful in these situations and some great advice came from @justcookit who advised scoring and salting heavily an hour or so before, then dusting off and salting again, to draw some moisture out.

The next question was what to serve it with. I didn’t want anything hot as the weather is too glorious. Again, Twitter to the rescue and a joint effort between @SimonMajumdar and @theboydonefood produced the idea of a fruity slaw of red cabbage, raisins and orange zest. Simon suggested using smetana, which I had to google and could probably have sourced in the Polish deli nearby but I was strapped for time and so subsituted sour cream. It worked well. I fancied a handful of sour cherries to continue the cherry-duck theme but couldn’t find any so a packet of cranberries lurking at the back of the cupboard it was and a fine slaw was born.

As the time came to eat the duck, the lid was lifted to a chorus of oohs and aahs (yes two people can make a chorus) – the skin all over the bird was beautifully crisp. We rejoiced. The bird was removed, covered with foil and left to rest. Ten minutes passed and then, a moment of horrible realisation. I’d set the bird to rest breast down…the crispy skin – noooo! I’m sad to report that yes, a teensy bit of crispness had been lost but…I’m over it. A little bit. The fat overall was just – wow. Duck takes on smoke like a dream. The meat was a bit overcooked but still blushing, incredibly moist and I detected, I think, a slight hint of fruit.

The slaw worked well, cutting through the richness of the duck but I think next time I’ll make some kind of cherry chutney affair to boost the cherry flavour a bit. Overall though, I declare the venture a resounding success – apart from one little drunken fail in the middle. Must remember not to steam myself in cherry beer as well as the bird next time…

The beer can method is here. Remember to score and salt the duck for an hour before cooking and of course, rest it breast side up.

Category: Barbecue, Main Dishes, Meat 21 comments »

21 Responses to “Cherry Beer Can Duck”

  1. Mark

    You beat me to it! Nice one! Great idea pouring the beer into a stella can too, that’s inspired!

    I’ve made a cherry ber chutney which would work well, it was just a simple onion, vinegar, sugar and beer one. Really good though.

    How many other butts can you stuff with beer? Pigeon with a mini can?! Pheasant, pig?

    I need to plan some bum BBQs!

  2. Helen

    Mark – yes I remember our discussion now. Some credit should DEFINITELY go to you for this idea. Credit to Mark, people – hear me. Holler!

  3. Peter G

    I think I will add to this chorus of “oohs and aaahs!”…Lovely Helen! I admire your bum bbq experiments with poultry. Bring on the next one!

  4. Kavey

    Ha, that’s totally cool!
    Is the can stuck tight up the bird? If not, what stops all the beer pouring out when you put it on it’s side on the grill?
    (Sorry to be Thickie McThick)

  5. msmarmitelover

    I’m so not getting this. So, you shove a beer can up the arse of a bird and it tastes good? huh?

  6. Helen

    Peter G – Yes, I wonder just how many birds I can stick a beer can into?
    Kavey – You pour half the beer out so then when you slowly tilt it over it just settles in the can rather than pouring out. You can also do it upright to avoid any spillage when you tilt it but my BBQ isn’t tall enough to fit the bird in that way.
    MsMarmiteLover – Er, yeah. I should imagine any meat recipe sounds a bit gross to a vegetarian though. Basically, the idea is that once the beer heats up, it steams the inside of the bird, thus keeping it really moist.

  7. Cynthia

    Hi Helen,

    So sorry for not visiting in ages! I changed blog readers and yours among other blogs for some reason were not imported.

    Looking forward to catching up on your delicious posts.

  8. Helen

    Cynthia – Well thanks for remembering me! And congratulations on the book.
    MsMarmiteLover – Sorry, pescetarian.

  9. Christie @ Fig & Cherry

    Love the last shot! Hand’s up who wants to get cooked?! LOL :)

  10. Lizzie

    Brilliant! Right, that’s it – I’m coming round yours the next time you stuff a bird with beer.

  11. gastrogeek

    oh Lordy, just looking at these pictures is making me groan with pleasure! Duck + cherry beer = gustatory perfection….

  12. Jonathan

    Awesome stuff. I wonder if I could ram a cider flask up a pig’s bottom and then follow this technique… could be an interesting evolution of the idea. If a bit weird.

  13. Annemarie

    I missed the original beer can comedy pics so I’m pleased to see a round two was done. As you say, even if the taste hadn’t won you over, the Mr Bean-like quality of the roasting carcas would. I too, would have mourned the loss of the skin though.

  14. oysterculture

    Great combo of duck with cherry beer- and the skin of the duck looks like its done to perfection!

  15. Just Cook It

    This really is inspired. So pleased it worked out. I did that resting skin side down once as well but with a chicken. I thought the GF was going to throttle me.

  16. Jenn AKA The Leftover Queen

    Wow, Helen! That looks perfect! I bet the cherry beer really made it special!

  17. tobias cooks!

    Good idea to do it on a bbq. i once tried that in the oven and it turned out to be a huge mess.

  18. Katie

    Love the idea of the duck! It’s so fatty I hate to do it in the oven – this is perfect!

  19. gen.u.ine.ness

    poor sodomized duck :(

  20. Helen Yuet Ling Pang

    The duck looks even more spectacular than the chicken did! And the meat looks very moist from the last photo. Now that you’ve tested it, it’s time for a larger chorus of oohs and aahs!

  21. Johnonfood

    I was sold at the start, when I read “Cherry Beer”. Never tried the beer that you used, but Kriek is a stunningly good thing!

    I feel a bit sorry for the duck, there is some major stretching going on there.


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