BBQ pulled duck is a fun spin on pulled pork. Paired with a homemade stout barbecue sauce, this easy duck slow cooker recipe will make your kitchen smell amazing and your taste buds sing!
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BBQ PULLED DUCK RECIPE VIDEO
BBQ pulled duck is mind-bogglingly easy to make, but if you want a visual, here’s the tutorial video. If you’re new to the Kitchen, I go into something called “silent-film mode”, so if you like what you see, I hope you’ll subscribe to my YouTube channel!
BBQ PULLED DUCK: A TASTY ALTERNATIVE TO PULLED PORK
As much as I love it, not everyone eats pork. BBQ pulled pork is one of those classic American recipes that people love for its sweet, smoky flavour. It’s a summertime favourite and makes an excellent addition to a backyard barbecue or a Superbowl party. While one can always turn to BBQ pulled chicken to get their mock pulled pork fix, chicken doesn’t have the same meaty depth that duck offers.
I’ll admit that I didn’t grow up eating duck. It’s not something we ever looked for or considered when doing our groceries. In fact, I think if we had been scoping out a duck, we would have hard-pressed at the supermarket. In Quebec, duck is widely available and can be found in just about every freezer section. Duck fat is also accessible, which makes the best potatoes you could ask for.
Duck is popular in French cuisine, and for good reason: it’s delicious! While belonging to the poultry family, it has a rich meaty flavour that chicken can’t compete with because duck is red meat. Moreover, duck is nutrient-dense and is packed with good things like iron, protein, vitamins and antioxidants. If you’ve never had duck before, it’s time to change that!
While you might not have luck in the freezer section, you can enquire at your local butcher or farmer’s market. Buy a whole duck for this recipe and quarter it yourself. You can also buy a mix of duck legs and wings if you’d rather not try your hand at quartering poultry, which, by the way, is a valuable kitchen skill. Quartering your own poultry saves you money, gives you material for making homemade stock, and it makes you more self-sufficient. Here’s a tutorial I put together for you.
THE SECRET IS IN THE BARBECUE SAUCE
While you can use whatever barbecue sauce you have on hand, it’s well worth it to make your own from scratch. Just plan on making it in advance, like the day before or earlier. If you’ve been with me for a while, you probably know how I feel about commercially processed foods, and the same thing holds true for barbecue sauce. Yes, barbecue sauce is full of sugar, but when you make your own you can decide what kind of sugar it’s made with and what else goes into the mix. Barbecue sauce is very forgiving and can be tweaked whatever which way.
For this BBQ pulled duck recipe, I like making a homemade stout barbecue sauce. It’s a simple matter of sauteeing a bit of garlic and then dumping the rest of the ingredients into the pot. You bring the sauce to a boil, simmer it for an hour, and let it cool completely. Easy, right? I like adding a small splash of bourbon to mine, too, but you can add as much as you like–even up to half a cup if that’s what makes you happy! Also, if you like spicy barbecue sauce, you can add in chilli pepper flakes, extra sriracha, or your favourite hot sauce. Have fun with it!
DRESS THE DUCK
Did you know? Poultry loves pepper! After the barbecue sauce is made and has had ample time to chill, peppering the duck will be the first step. I like taking my pepper grinder to the duck and going wild, covering each piece with freshly ground pepper. Once the duck is peppered, into the slow cooker it goes!
After a generous peppering, it’s time to pour in a bit of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar and half of the barbecue sauce (a cup and a half, give or take). If you’re not squeamish, work this into the duck with your hands, making sure every last bit is coated in barbecue sauce. Next, set the slow cooker on low and set the timer for eight hours.
CAN I COOK THE BBQ PULLED DUCK ON HIGH?
I haven’t tried this, but I wouldn’t recommend this because of all the sugar in the barbecue sauce. Besides, this is a recipe you want to cook low and slow. By the time eight hours have elapsed, the meat will be extremely tender and falling off the bones. However, if you want to test it out, you can try it on high for four hours and let me know how it goes.
PULL IT APART!
By this time, your kitchen smells amazing and your stomach might be rumbling. You peer into the slow cooker and see a mess of meat and bones. Wow… Now’s the time to spring into action. Grab a couple of large bowls and two forks. One bowl will be for the meat, the other for the bones. Working one piece at a time, remove the meat off the bones being careful to remove every little bone. It’s for this reason I recommend pulling one piece at a time.
SAUCE IT UP
Now that you have a big bowl of pulled duck meat, you can shred it a bit more with the forks or dress it. Start off by adding a 1/4 cup of sauce to the duck. If you have sensitive eaters, you might want to put a bit of duck aside for them before adding the additional sauce. If you want your BBQ pulled duck to be saucier, add more sauce. That’s it! You’re done!
WHAT DO I DO WITH BBQ PULLED DUCK?
The obvious option is to make a BBQ pulled duck sandwich. Duck loves arugula and parmesan cheese, but you can do what every smoke shack does with their pulled pork sandwiches and serve it on a bun as is. You will have leftover sauce, by the way, so that can be worked into whatever you make with the extra duck. Here are some of the things I like doing with BBQ pulled duck:
Topping breakfast pancakes with BBQ pulled duck and crumbled cheddar cheese.
Serving it on top of creamy mashed potatoes.
Making pizza (use barbecue sauce instead of tomato sauce).
Having a taco night.
Grilling up quesadillas.
Stuffing it into empanadas.
Serving it alongside eggs.
Making little crostini appetizers.
Topping it on top of nachos.
Sneaking it in grilled cheese sandwiches.
See? There’s so much you can do! What are you going to do with your BBQ pulled duck?
THANKS FOR POPPING BY THE KITCHEN!
Aren’t slow cooker recipes the best? I love that you can just set them and forget them while you go about your day. That’s why I love this fiery slow cooker chipotle chilli. What are some of your favourite things to make in the slow cooker? I hope you’ll drop me a line in the comments below. Oh, and if you make the BBQ pulled duck, do let me know how it goes! I hope you love it as much as I do.
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PRINTABLE BBQ PULLED DUCK RECIPE CARD
Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Duck
- 6 Qt Slow Cooker
- 2 Bowls
- 2 Forks
Stout Barbecue Sauce
- 1 tbsp butter
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup fancy molasses
- 1/4 cup shoyu (soya sauce)
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp liquid smoke
- 1-2 tsp sriracha optional
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 12 oz stout
- splash of bourbon
- 1 whole duck quartered
- fresh ground pepper
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 3/4 cup stout barbecue sauce this is added in two stages
Stout Barbecue Sauce
- Melt the butter in a medium saucepan.
- Saute the garlic until soft and fragrant.
- Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.
- Once the sauce comes to a boil, simmer it on low for an hour.
- Remove from heat and allow it to cool completely before refrigerating.
- Generously pepper the duck with fresh ground pepper and add it to the slow cooker.
- Add the apple cider vinegar and 1.5 cups of stout barbecue sauce. Mix it together with your hands or a spoon so that every inch of duck is coated.
- Set the slow cooker for eight hours on low.
- Pull the meat off the bones with a fork, being careful to pick out all the bones.
- Shred the duck using the forks, then dress with the remaining 1/4 cup of stout barbecue sauce. Add more sauce as needed.
- This recipe requires a bit of planning as the barbecue sauce needs to be made in advance. With that being said, you can use whatever barbecue sauce you’d like, but this extra step is well worth it!
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Love and gratitude,