I forgot to mention that my friend Sam the "egg man" gave me a lovely 7.5 pound duck for my Christmas present. Along with some lovely eggs.
He raises fancy chickens, ducks, geese, game birds etc.
He has one of the newiish "flash freezing" (commercial) units. It really works -
He brought me the duck on the Monday before Christmas and I left it in the fridge. It was still frozen solid on Christmas so I cooked something else. I did not want to thaw it rapidly because I have had not so good results when I did that in the past.
Yesterday it was finally defrosted enough - although the parts inside the cavity were still frozen but I was able to extract them.
I decided to do a braise (I cooked hundreds of ducks this way back when I was catering) so I made a "bed" of celery stalks and put the duck in breast down for 3 hours at 225°F covered then another hour breast up before applying the orange sauce I prepared during the time it was cooking.
This is immediately after I turned it over so it is breast up. I used a poultry hook, inserting it fully into the cavity, lifting and "spinning" the bird with just a fork. Simple and safe.
And this is the amount of liquid that rendered out of the bird during the long, slow braise. I consider this one of the best parts of using this method of cooking.
I then uncovered it raised the temp to 375°F and set the timer for 30 minutes:
This is what it looked like.
Returned it to the over for another 20 minutes.
Done - transferred to a 12-inch platter.
And the breasts and legs parted out.
The poultry hook works for any big hunk of meat that you have to turn. I have used it on hams, roasts, etc. even on really big turkeys.