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I have experience in my own kitchen and I can follow a recipe. I was planning on serving roasted long island duck for a Christmas party for about 8-10 people.

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    This would be a lot more useful if you instead asked what can go wrong and how to avoid it. – Cascabel Dec 4 '14 at 6:31
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    Also, it's never a good idea to cook a dish for the first time for guests. Always practice first! – ElendilTheTall Dec 4 '14 at 14:07
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    Heck, I'd do a practice round just to have more duck all to myself. – logophobe Dec 5 '14 at 20:45
  • One advice I would give is to cut the duck and cook it's different parts in a pan, instead of roasting it, especially if you don't feel confident enough. Then you cook it like chicken without the minimum temperature constraint (duck can can rare/medum/well done). – maximegir Dec 8 '14 at 23:26
  • I would definitely recommend at least spatchcocking the duck it make it easier. Don't be afraid to experiment, you don't learn anything without trying. But as ElendilTheTall said I would do a practice run first. – draksia Dec 16 '14 at 13:44
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What I learnt from my neighbor:

The most critical part also the most enjoyable part for the diners is to make the skin crispy. For this many factors should be taken into consideration (e.g. the type of oven you use, room temperature where the oven is, etc).

But the trick for the skin to be crispy is how much the skin can become detached from the meat while it is cooked, thus a layer of heat remains between the skin and the meat.

This is what I learnt:

From the inside of the duck, carefully poke holes with a toothpick through the meat but not breaking the skin.

Second, use a pan where there are holes on the bottom and place another pan directly underneath it to collect the fat / oil while the duck is being cooked.

At the very end, take the duck out of the oven and quickly turn up the oven to even higher temperature.

Once the oven has reached the higher temperature, pour evenly the collected fat / oil on top of the duck and put it right back to the oven and let it cook shortly.

The result is the skin will be very crispy and with you taking out the duck at the last step while the oven's temperature is turned up higher, the duck will not be over-cooked.

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See my relevant answer to a related question. In short, I would recommend avoiding roasting a duck whole—regardless of your skill level, and especially if you are a beginner. The only two advantages you get from roasting the bird whole are the theatrics of tableside presentation and also ease of preparation (i.e., you don't have to worry about butchering the bird). If you aren't going to be carving the bird tableside, then then there really isn't any gustatory advantage to roasting the bird whole. As others have mentioned, it is exceedingly hard to ensure that the skin is perfectly crispy and all of the various muscles are cooked to their ideal temperatures when roasting the bird whole.

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I consider myself a beginner, and I would not be comfortable trying to cook a duck. When done right, duck is one of the most wonderful foods. When done wrong, it is horrible.

I consider duck a challenging meat because it is best served rare. However, you really should have the skin crispy. That takes some very precise timing to have the muscle rare but successfully crisp the skin.

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