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Primo Grill Rotisserie Smoked Duck

Recipe: Rotisserie Pecan Smoked Duck

A smoked duck is on a cutting board with grilled onions and vegetables.
Rotisserie Smoked Duck on a Primo Grill is quite easy but so impressive.

Primo Grill Rotisserie Smoked Duck only takes a few steps to deliver a decadent, tender, and juicy centerpiece entree your loved ones will enjoy. There are many ways to season duck but during the holiday rush I keep it simple! A splash of Italian Dressing adds moisture while Primo Grill’s Pecan Rub seasons the duck to perfection. To bring out the pecan rub, pecan smoking chunks are added to the Primo Grill’s Lump Charcoal. Or to ease up the day of the cook, season the duck the night before for an overnight dry brine! Either way, the result will be smoky decadent duck when smoked in a Primo Grill.

A Primo Grill XL 400 sits next to a gray fence on a cloudy day.
I can't say it enough! I LOVE my Primo XL 400!

Thank you Primo Ceramic Grill for sponsoring this absolutely delicious smoky celebration dish!

Can You Smoke a Whole Duck on the Primo Grill

Okay, what’s your first thought? … “I’m not sure how to smoke a duck on the grill.” That’s when I step in to say, “If a granny like myself can do it you can too!” Trust me, smoking a duck on a rotisserie in the Primo Ceramic Grill is easy. After all, the Primo Grill does all the work for me by creating a cooking and smoking environment that acts like a convection oven.

Secondly, the Primo Rotisserie Attachment spins the duck round and round which constantly redistributes the fat and juices. I think of the Primo Grill Rotisserie as a self-baster. The duck fat redistributes giving the duck a rich satisfying flavor. Consequently, as the Primo Grill and Rotisserie is doing its thing you can sit down and chat with loved ones more than bending over a hot grill! All this to say, You Can Do It!

Duck is on a Primo Rotisserie spit rod ready to smoke.
Duck fat dripping on veggies is simply delish~

10 Tips and Thoughts Before Smoking A Whole Duck

  1. Whole ducks and duck breasts are absolutely delicious when smoked or grilled in a Primo Ceramic Grill. However, the cook is different between the two. If you have duck breasts head to my recipe on Cherry Smoked Duck Breasts.

  2. The fat on a duck is extremely thick so a low and slow cook in the beginning will render the fat. It is a must to have a drip pan under the duck to collect the fat as it melts. If you want to save the duck fat from melting from the body, use a foil-lined heavyweight roasting pan, and put 2 cups of water into it.

  3. When duck skin is pierced or scored the fat has an escape hole. Either method is highly recommended so that the skin can crisp up. The timing of when to penetrate the skin is important! Pierce or score the skin as soon as you remove it from the refrigerator not after it sits on the counter; cold fat cuts easier.

  4. Duck meat is rich and decadent! Subsequently, duck breast meat is not like chicken breast. In the culinary world duck meat has been tagged dark meat. Technically, duck does have white meat due to its myoglobin content, however, it still is darker than chicken and turkey. Because duck has so much dark rich tasting meat it benefits from strong seasoning. On the flip side, strong smoke scents, such as oak, hickory, and mesquite, compete with the bold flavor of duck.

  5. When it comes to adding a few smoking wood chunks to the lump charcoal, in a Primo Ceramic Grill, choose a light nutty or fruit wood. I always choose maple, cherry, or pecan wood chunks or chips for the whole duck. I hear apple wood infuses duck in a smoky delish way too. However, Primo Lump Charcoal can be used alone because its mild smoky scent is quite delicious as well.

  6. After 2 hours of cooking the duck at 250°F heat or when a meat thermometer inserted in the thigh and thickest part of the breast registers 145°F remove the duck and spit rod from the grill. Increase the internal temperature of the grill to 450°F. Connect the duck on the spit rod back into the rotisserie motor. Crisp the duck skin for 20-30 minutes.

  7. I love the ease of increasing the heat in a Primo Ceramic Grill. Simply open the bottom and top vent, in intervals of 1/2 inch wider, until the desired temperature is achieved. Make sure to remove the spit rod with the duck on it while increasing the heat of the grill.

  8. When it comes to serving duck do not calculate per serving ratios as you do with chicken! My son-in-law swears he feeds their family of 5 from 1 (6-pound) duck, which includes 3 meat loving girls from ages 8 to 11. I will admit, he is definitely a better carver but I’ll stick to duck serving calculations. One (5 to 6 pound) duck serve 3 adults dinner. Similarly, 1 duck can supply 6-8 guests a fancy and flavorful appetizer.

  9. I love the smoky crisp skin and juicy meat of a Primo Grill smoked whole duck therefore I do not apply a glaze. I will make a sweet and spicy dipping sauce for those who must! If you must have a glaze and it has a sugar in it then brush it on the last 10 minutes to prevent burning.

  10. Use an instant-read thermometer to check for doneness. Specifically the USDA guidelines state that a whole duck should be cooked to 165°F. Check the internal temperature in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast. I remove the duck when the breast reaches 155°F expecting the temperature will rise to 165°F. In some recipes a chef will take the thigh to 180°F. So don’t sweat it ~ there is a margin of meat temperature that will deliver a delicious bite of smoky duck.

Steps for Smoking A Whole Duck

An uncooked duck on a cutting board has been trussed.
When time is short, Italian Dressing is a delicious way to boost flavor in duck before smoking.


THAW: A 5 to 6.5-pound duck in the refrigerator for 24 hours. 


TRIM: Use a sharp knife to cut the excess skin around the neck cavity, and discard. Remove neck and giblets from cavity. Trim any fat deposits from the cavity, and discard. 


SCORE: Using a sharp knife or skewer, prick the skin of the duck all over at a 45 degree angle. Make sure to cut only the skin and not into the meat. 


SEASON: Primo Grill’s Pecan Seasoning and Dry Rub is absolutely delicious on a smoked duck. Season the duck generously over the scored skin and inside the cavity. Place the duck into a roaster pan on a wire rack.

An uncook duck with its long neck skin is ready to cut off.
Duck necks are long! Cut that extra fat off with kitchen shears.


DRY BRINE OVERNIGHT: By the book, you want to score and generously season the duck the night before. Apply about 3/4 the seasoning on the outside skin and the cavity before placing in the refrigerator for the overnight dry brine. The remaining rub can be applied an hour before the cook. 


SAME DAY COOKING: I love the overnight dry brine method but sometimes the holiday craze robs me shot of time! Consequently I have a flavor boost tip! If cooking the duck the same day soak it in as much Italian Salad Dressing for as long as you can! Dressing adds flavor! About an hour before cooking, pat it dry and generously season and smoke! Yum! 


REMOVE DUCK FROM REFRIGERATOR: Remove the duck from the refrigerator after the dry brine has completed the designated time period. Do not rinse the duck. Sprinkle the remaining Primo Pecan Seasoning over the outside of the duck.  


BRING TO ROOM TEMPERATURE: Allow the duck to sit on the counter for up to 2 hours before cooking. That being said, 30 minutes will do...if that holiday craze got to you! LoL Stuff the duck with your desired aromatics like onion, fennel, herbs, and citrus. Stuffing the cavity of a duck is totally optional. 

A photo showing how to tuck the wings back on a duck on a rotisserie.
Before grilling a duck tuck the wings behind the back.


TRUSS and SECURE ON SPIT ROD: Position the wingtips behind the duck's back, then truss to secure the legs. Place one rotisserie fork onto the spit rod. Push the spit rod through the duck’s cavity and center it. Place the second rotisserie fork onto the spit rod, and push the two forks towards each other to secure the duck between the forks. Tighten the screws on the rotisserie forks. 


LIGHT THE FIRE: Fill the firebox up to the air holes with lump-charcoal and ignite. After ten minutes, add wood chunks, if desired. Set the deflector racks and plates into the Primo Grill. Position the bottom and top vents in order to obtain 250°F. Put the drip pan in the center of the grill. 


ROTISSERIE: Place the spit rod with duck secure into the rotisserie motor, and turn it on. 


LOW TEMP: After 2 hours of smoking at 250°F remove the duck on the spit rod from the grill, along with the drip pan.

HIGH TEMP: Increase the heat to 450°F. Return the duck to the rotisserie. Crisp the skin for about 20 minutes or until the skin is crispy and the internal temperature of the duck is at least 165°F.

A rotisserie duck has completed smoking and is on a serving board with veggies.
Enhance the texture and flavor of duck skin by scoring it.


Rest the duck for 20 minutes before slicing. Garnish with herbs, citrus, and aromatics.

A smoked duck breast has been sliced into on a serving board.
Wait 15 to 20 minutes before slicing into the duck breast.

Recipe Primo Rotisserie Pecan Smoked Duck
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Rotisserie Pecan Smoked Duck 


PREP TIME Overnight Dry Brine, optional 

COOK TIME  2 1/2 hours 

REST TIME 20 minutes


Equipment: Primo Rotisserie Kit, Roasting Pan, Grill Gloves, Butcher Twine, Primo Lump Charcoal, 4 Smoking Chips, optional  



For the Duck:

1 (5 - 6.5 pounds) whole duck, thawed 

1/4 cup Italian Salad Dressing 

Choose any aromatics for cavity: orange, onion, garlic, ginger, celery

5 tablespoons Primo Ceramic Grills Pecan Seasoning and Rub


Preparation Instructions

Thaw the duck overnight in the refrigerator. Score the duck skin over the breast, at a 45° angle, with a sharp knife.  

Pour 2 tablespoons of Italian Salad Dressing into the cavity of the duck. Generously sprinkle about 2 tablespoons of Primo Grill Pecan Seasoning over the entire duck, and 1 tablespoon into the cavity. Set the duck on a wire rack and place in the refrigerator, uncovered, overnight. 

After the duck has completed the dry brine process, remove the grill racks. Place the Primo Rotisserie frame onto the grill, and fill with a full bed of Primo Lump Charcoal. 

Heat the grill to 250°F. indirect cooking. Add four pecan wood chunks for smoking. Adjust vents (about 1/8-inch open) to maintain 250°F heat.

Position the wingtips behind duck’s back, then truss the breast wrapping around to secure the legs. 

Place one rotisserie fork onto the spit rod. Push the spit rod through the duck’s cavity and center it. Place the second rotisserie fork onto the spit rod, and push the two forks towards each other to secure the duck between the forks. Tighten the screws on the rotisserie forks. 

Brush the duck with the remaining Italian Salad Dressing and sprinkle with the remaining Primo Grill’s Pecan Seasoning. 


Cooking Instructions: 

Place an aluminum-lined roasting pan into the center of the grill, and pour 2 cups of water into it along with preferred aromatics or veggies.

When the grill’s temperature is a steady 250°F, insert spit rod, with duck securely fastened, into the rotisserie motor. Start the motor and close the lid.

Cook the duck for about 2 hours or until the duck’s internal temperature reaches 145°F.

Remove the spit rod with duck from the grill.

Increase the grill’s internal temperature to 450°F by partially opening the bottom and top vent. Insert the spit rod with the duck back into the rotisserie motor, and close the lid. 

Roast the duck for 20 -30 minutes or until the internal temperature of the duck breast reaches 165°F. Rest duck on the rod for 15 minutes before removing it. Slice the duck and garnish with fresh herbs and vegetables. 

A beautiful golden duck is on a spit rod in a grill.
Keep an eye on the drip pan if you added aromatics! The veggies won't need 2 hours!

Check out A Merry Recipe Holiday dishes here!

Primo Ceramic Grills Has Attachments!

Primo Grills has come out with lots of new accessories over the last few years. To name a few:

A golden smoked duck on as serving board with onions, yams, and fresh herbs.
Time to eat Primo Grill's delcious smoked duck.

For more Primo Grill Recipes head here!

Need more drool-worthy Primo recipe ideas?

A sliced duck on a serving board is ready to be eaten.
Smoked meats usually have a red tone ~ this is not undercooked!



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