Duck meat is a popular, healthy alternative to red meat, and other common poultry like chicken and turkey. It’s also delicious and high in protein. In this blog post, you will get an overview of the different duck cuts of meat and how to cook them for maximum flavor and enjoyment.
Duck is a popular farmed & game bird that can be cooked in a variety of ways from pan frying or grilling to roasting or braising it with vegetables. Here are the primary duck cuts.
Since most ducks are not that large, cooking a duck whole is an option instead of cutting it into pieces. When cooking a whole duck, remove the giblets from the cavity and use them to make stock. Be sure to protect the breasts, since they will cook faster than the rest of the bird. The ideal outcome is to cook the whole duck through. Be sure to also preserve any pieces that are cooked, but not eaten. According to Ultimate Meat Companion, the legs may be used for anything from slow cooking to confit. The duck fat can be extracted and used to cook your roasted potatoes.
The breast is arguably the most popular cut of duck. The breast, which includes all-white meat and thick meaty cuts, is the most useful part of the duck. A thick strip of flesh is cut from between the bird’s breasts and labeled as tenderloin.
Often, it’s as expensive as buying the whole duck, except that you miss out on the fat, legs, and carcass to use in a stock. As the breast cooks, it’s important to cook it skin-side down until it is almost done. This will result in crispy skin and moist meat. It’s best served medium-rare. The breast meat may be served with a sauce or gravy, but often not much more is needed.
Otherwise known as the Maryland, the thigh & leg have a richer flavor than the breast cut. It has a layer of fat that requires slower and longer cooking. Ideally, it’s best cooked through. The duck legs may be cooked similarly to the breast, but, again, they should be slow-cooked. Confit is very popular with duck leg quarters. Confit is essentially like cooking something in its own fat; many people call it “self-basting.”
Other Duck Cuts
The other cuts of a duck are worth mentioning, though they are all mainly used for cooking up a rich, flavored stock.
In most cases, duck wings are not eaten as a main course. They are usually an additional side dish to compliment the main course and they’re very popular as bar food and appetizers. There is more meat on a duck wing than one might first think and they’re very rich in flavor. Depending on the cut of the wing, some people prefer cooking it crispy, while others bake or braise them before serving with sauce.
Duck neck (along with the giblets) are usually used to make sauces or stock. Duck neck is very flavorful and has a little bit of meat on it. Making stock out of these parts will greatly enhance the flavor of your sauce or gravy, so don’t discard them after cooking the duck.
The drumstick is taken from the leg quarter cut and consists of all dark meat. This cut is mostly made for ease of eating – similar to chicken drumsticks.
Duck Cuts Conclusion
Duck meat is a popular, healthy alternative to red meat. It’s also delicious with several cuts to choose from. Even though breast is the most useful, every part of the duck can be used to add maximum flavor to a range of dishes.