Dynamic Duck with Cola – One Of The Fastest Slow Meals Ever!

There are always two problems to be overcome with duck – one is that it is often tough, and the other that it is often dry. This very simple method of cooking duck with cola (it’s not even a recipe really, more of a concept) overcomes both these problems at a stroke.

The acidity of the cola helps break down the fibres while it’s marinating, and the long cooking also helps to reduce the toughness.

Soaking the duck in the marinade overnight, and then effectively poaching it for hours in lots of sauce, it helps to keep it moist.

The best cola to use is Marks & Spencer’s – go here to find out why.

You will need four pieces of duck – get the butcher to joint the duck – do not attempt to do this yourself unless you really know what you are doing otherwise you will end up with scraggy bits, and chips of bone.

The duck is good with orange carrots, pak choi and, if you really need some carbohydrates, basmati rice.

For a long time I couldn’t get this dish quite right (some of the cooking had to be done in the morning), and then I was lucky enough to get Frances Jones-Davies (see Frances Jones-Davies, editor of Cambria Magazine, on Welsh food) to help with it. She’s developed it into a real peach of a recipe, and comments:

“In the evening I am geared up for cooking, although quite often too tired to do anything ambitious. This puts all that cooking at a time when you can potter at it, glass in hand, without having to do anything at all demanding. We enjoyed it very much. Henry said it was the best duck he had had in years!”


Recipe for dynamic duck

This is what you have to do if you have four people for dinner.


  • 4 duck joints, Gressingham ideally
  • 2 cans of cola
  • 160 ml/⅔ cups rich soy sauce (follow this link for how to choose the best)


  1. Put the duck joints in a marinade comprising two cans of cola and 150 ml/about ½ cup (most soy sauce bottles are for this amount – simply empty the whole bottle in) of soy sauce in an oven and hob-proof dish. Cover and leave in the fridge. Use a really good quality soy sauce – go here to find out why. Leave in the fridge overnight.
  2. Heat the duck and marinade up to simmering on the hob, or, alternatively, put in a hot (210°C) oven, for about half an hour, to get it hot and bubbling.
  3. Transfer, covered, to a cooler oven (150°C, or even cooler) and cook for two hours – or even longer if you can – all day is fine. The important thing is not to boil it or it will become tough again.
  4. Take the duck out of the juices and skim off the fat – either with a baster or with a gravy jug with a skimmer spout. Save the fat and use it for roast potatoes.
  5. Grill the duck for about ten minutes until it’s crispy.
  6. Reduce the remaining juice until it is syrupy. 
  7. Serve the duck with the reduced juices to which you have added any orange sauce left over from the carrots

That is all there is to it.


duck with cola

duck in cola recipe
Frances Jones-Davies’ duck in cola.
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