I made the classic dish of Vietnamese braised duck and pineapple a while ago. It was good, however my wife suggested roasting the duck to bring out more flavour. I agreed.
Discussions with a friend in Saigon revealed that Vietnamese roast duck and pineapple isn’t a traditional meal in his country. He also liked the roasting idea. So I created a recipe and named the dish Vịt Nướng Thơm (a literal translation). My wife approved.
Vietnamese Roast Duck and Pineapple
- Two large sealable bags
- Two roasting trays and wire racks
- Sharp knives
- Chopping boards
- Measuring jugs and spoons
- Small saucepan
- Baking parchment
- Basting/pastry brush
- Long-handled tongs
I used duck legs as they are easy to work with. It can be done using a whole duck and jointing it, adjust the cooking times as necessary.
- 4 duck legs
- 1 small sweet pineapple
- Cherry smoking chips (optional)
- Coriander (garnish, optional)
- 300ml pineapple juice
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp Demerara sugar
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 1 tsp chipotle paste
- 3-4 smoked garlic cloves
- 1 large shallot
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp lemongrass
- 25g ginger
- 1 tsp Dizzy Pig Pineapple Head*
- 75ml spiced rum
- 50ml tbsp agave syrup
* – gives the pineapple a lovely, fresh and slightly spicy flavour.
This dish has recipes for both a conventional oven and a Big Green Egg. When cooking using an Egg, you can also smoke the duck with cherry wood chunks for some extra flavour.
Preparation – Morning or Day Before
- Chop the lemongrass core, ginger, shallots and garlic. Combine with fish and soy sauces in a blender, blitz to create a thick marinade. Score the duck leg skin with cross-hatch pattern. Place duck legs in a sealable bag, pour in the marinade and coat duck legs with it.
- Skin and slice the pineapple into ½ inch thick sections, removing core to create pineapple rings. Place rings in a separate sealable bag, marinate with 1 tbsp Dizzy Pig Pineapple Head, spiced rum and agave syrup.
- Seal/tie both bags, expelling as much air as possible, and place them in fridge for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
Cooking with an Oven
- Pre-heat an oven to 180°C/350°F (160°C/320°F fan). Place the duck legs on a wire rack over a roasting tray. Transfer tray to oven, cook duck for 50 mins. Add basting sauce ingredients to a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the volume has halved and sauce is slightly viscous. Leave to cool.
- Remove tray from the oven. Discard fat and other deposits. Lightly coat the duck legs with some basting sauce (reserve half for later). Place the pineapple rings on a wire rack over a second roasting tray. Line the tray’s base with baking parchment.
- Place both roasting trays into the oven. Cook for a further 25 mins, or until internal temperature of duck legs has reached 70°C/160°F.
- Remove both trays from the oven, cover and rest them covered for 5 minutes.
Cooking/Smoking with a Big Green Egg
- Set up an Egg for indirect cooking. Add coals with cherry chunks in the middle of the lumps (optional). Light the coals and get the Egg to 135°C/275°F.
- Put duck legs on wire rack over a roasting tray. Place the tray into Egg on the grid, smoke/cook for 50 mins. Add basting sauce ingredients to a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the volume has halved and sauce is slightly viscous. Leave to cool.
- Carefully burp and open the Egg. Lightly coat the duck legs with some basting sauce (reserve half for later). Raise the Egg’s temperature to 175°C/350°F. Cook for a further 30 minutes, or until internal temperature of duck legs has reached 70°C/160°F.
- Whilst the duck legs are cooking (after basting), bake the pineapple rings either on Egg’s grid or in an oven as per instructions above. If cooking rings in an Egg, flip them.
- Remove duck legs from the Egg, cover and rest them. Also remove pineapple if being cooked in Egg and cover separately. Remove platesetter from Egg and replace grid for direct cooking. Raise temperature to 275°C/525°F.
- Using long-handled tongs, sear duck legs for 20 secs only each side, then remove and cover them again. The asparagus and pak choi can also be seared.
Assembling the Dish
- Cook the asparagus and pak choi (takes very little time).
- Heat up remaining basting sauce in a small saucepan.
- Serve the duck legs and pineapple with pak choi and asparagus, and heated basting sauce for a dip. Garnish with coriander.
Hints, Tips and Pictures
- The pineapple rings are cooked using the method in the sweet ‘n’ spicy baked pineapple recipe. See that post for hints and tips.
- Dizzy Pig Pineapple Head rub is available in the UK from Amazon.co.uk (affiliate link), BBQ Gourmet and Riverside Garden Centre.
- The feasibility of cooking pineapple rings in an Egg depends on its size. They can be cooked in a Large Egg but not a Minimax. It’s worth measuring this out before commencing to determine where to cook the pineapple.
- This video shows how to extract the parts of lemongrass necessary for cooking.