Sometimes you never know what unique foods will pop up in Aldi. A few years ago, we tried a fully cooked roast half duck with orange sauce. It was good, if on the small side, and it was fun to try a meat that we don’t often see.
The Kirkwood Whole Duck with Orange Sauce cost $3.69 per pound at my local store. I bought a 5.95-pound duck for $21.96.
For comparison, Walmart was selling Maple Leaf Farms Whole Duck with Orange Sauce (the exact same product; more info on that shortly) for $3.72 per pound at the time of publication, which makes Aldi the better deal by a little.
The package states this was “raised with care” by Maple Leaf Farms. This is the same supplier of the half duck I previously bought from Aldi.
Maple Leaf Farms has corporate offices in Leesburg, Indiana, in the northern portion of the state. Donald Wentzel founded the company in 1958. Wentzel’s son-in law Terry Tucker carried on the business after Wentzel passed away, and the Tucker family continues to oversee Maple Leaf Farms today. They sell a variety of duck products, including whole and half ducks as well as duck appetizers such as duck wing drumettes, quesadillas, wontons, breaded duck tenders, and bao dumplings. Their website has recipes and tips for cooking duck.
According to Aldi’s website, this is a Seasonal Item, which means it’s only at Aldi for a couple of months and not all year. This is stocked at Aldi during the winter holiday months, and after the holidays are over and it’s sold out, you won’t be able to order it online from Aldi.
While this is marketed at Aldi under Aldi’s Kirkwood house brand, Maple Leaf Farms products are not exclusive to Aldi, so you might be able to find this duck or similar duck products at other stores in your area. The store locator page on Maple Leaf Farms’ website indicates I can find their products at my local Walmart stores and at some other local regular grocery stores.
Ingredients for the duck are duck, water, and sea salt.
Ingredients for the orange sauce are orange juice (water, concentrated orange juice), water, sugar, corn starch, citric acid, sea salt, canola oil, dried tortula yeast, guar gum, natural flavor, spice (it would be helpful if they specified what spices are used), and dehydrated onion.
One serving of cooked duck is about 3 ounces, plus 2 tablespoons of sauce. That will net you 220 calories, 16 grams of total fat (21% DV), 6 grams of saturated fat (30% DV), 80 mg of cholesterol (27% DV), 230 mg of sodium (10% DV), 7 grams of total carbohydrates (3% DV), no dietary fiber, 6 grams of total sugars, 5 grams of added sugars (10% DV), and 12 grams of protein. If you don’t serve this with the sauce, it has no added sugars and no carbohydrates.
The back of the package has directions for cooking the duck and preparing the orange sauce.
If the duck is frozen (as mine was when I purchased it), thaw it in the refrigerator for 36-48 hours. Follow safe food guidelines and do not thaw at room temperature because this allows harmful bacteria to grow.
Once the duck is thawed, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Remove the duck from the packaging. Remove the neck, giblets, and orange sauce packet. Season to taste. Roast uncovered, breast up, on a rack in a roasting pan at 26 minutes per pound, using the following chart:
- 4 pounds = 1 hour and 45 minutes
- 4.5 pounds = 2 hours
- 5 pounds = 2 hours and 10 minutes
- 5.5 pounds = 2 hours and 25 minutes
- 6 pounds = 2 hours and 35 minutes
- 6.5 pounds = 2 hours and 50 minutes
- 7 pounds = 3 hours and 5 minutes
- 7.5 pounds = 3 hours and 15 minutes
Remove the duck from the oven when the internal temperature reaches 180 degrees measured at the thigh joint. The legs move freely and juices run clear when the duck is done.
To heat the orange sauce, you actually boil it in the bag. Place the unopened orange sauce packet into boiling water. Return the water to a boil and heat the sauce for 6-8 minutes. Then carefully remove the sauce packet from the boiling water. Carefully clip the corner of the pouch and pour the sauce over the duck, then serve. Or, if desired, you can pour the sauce into a small bowl and serve it on the side.
The duck I purchased was nearly 6 pounds, and I sprinkled it with salt and pepper and roasted it in the oven for about 2 hours and 25 minutes. The house started smelling fantastic soon after I put the bird in the oven.
Duck is a greasier meat compared to roasting a chicken or turkey. That has to do with a duck’s ability to effortlessly float in water. A lot of melted fat drained down into the roasting pan while this was cooking, and it crackled a lot. If it wasn’t time to clean my oven before, it’s probably time to do so now. Some people recommend scoring or poking holes with a fork in the duck skin before putting the whole duck in the oven to help the fat drain more expeditiously, but for testing purposes I followed the recipe as printed on the Aldi duck packaging. I didn’t score the skin, and the fat seemed to drain just fine. The meat itself didn’t seem more greasy than other poultry when it was time to serve the duck.
With all of that said, despite the fat, duck is a pretty healthy meat, containing mostly unsaturated fat. Also, the fat tends be between the skin and the meat, rather than marbled throughout, so a lot of it does cook off or is easy to remove along with the skin.
I served this alongside some Trader Joe’s Broccoli & Cauliflower Gratin and some fresh veggies and dip. My family liked it, especially some of my pickier eaters. It turned out moist and has a mild flavor and darker-colored meat. It tastes, not surprisingly, a lot like chicken. People were divided over whether the included packet of orange sauce was any good, but I thought it was all right.
This 6-pound duck was enough meat for my family of four, but we didn’t have much left over, so if you’re feeding a crowd, you might need more than one duck. It’s definitely less meat than what I get off of a standard-sized roast chicken.
Kirkwood Whole Duck with Orange Sauce is produced by Maple Leaf Farms and is not exclusive to Aldi. The discount grocer stocks it during the holiday season as a unique alternative to ever-popular turkey and ham. This is easy to roast in the oven and comes out tender and flavorful, similar to chicken. If you’re looking for something a little different this year, consider trying duck.