Born of the Cajun hunting tradition, this recipe was created to highlight large wild mallards. But it also works brilliantly with a farmed Pekin duck. Isaac takes the breasts and legs completely off the carcass, then cuts the breasts into ½-inch slices and separates the thighs from the legs and serves them whole.
Brine the duck: In a stockpot, combine 2 cups brown sugar, 2 cups salt, peppercorns, bay leaves, orange zest and juice, beer, and water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
Transfer brine to a 4-gallon, food-safe container or small cooler. Add enough ice water to measure exactly 3 gallons. (It’s important for brines to have an exact salt-to-water ratio.) Add duck and refrigerate for 24 hours, stirring halfway through.
After 24 hours, remove duck and pat dry with paper towels (both skin and inside cavity). Let sit out for 30 minutes to come to room temperature.
Roast the duck: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of the brown sugar, 1 tablespoon of the salt, ground black pepper, and soy sauce. Rub skin and inside cavity of duck with mixture. Place duck breast-side up in a 9x13-inch baking dish. Roast for 2 hours. Cover with aluminum foil and roast for an additional 1 hour and 30 minutes. You’ll know the duck is done when you pull on the back leg and it starts to come loose.
Let duck rest, still wrapped in foil, for 10 minutes. Remove duck from pan and transfer fat and jus from roasting pan into a bowl. Skim fat and reserve jus. Slice duck, spoon jus over meat, and serve.