How to Make the Most of Whole Duck
Whole ducks have long been one of our most popular products. Not only are they readily available at retail stores throughout the United States, but they are the most versatile duck product you can buy. There are an endless number of possibilities for how you can prepare and create unique culinary experiences with whole duck. Below are a few of our favorites.
The most common way to prepare whole duck is to roast it in the oven. This basic roast duck recipe yields crispy skin and moist meat that can be used in an array of dishes. From Duck Nachos to a Steakhouse Duck Dinner, there are endless opportunities to make use of every part of the roasted duck.
Consumers love the moist meat and extra crispy skin you get from deep frying poultry and it’s no different with duck. This recipe outlines all the steps you need to follow to enjoy deep fried whole duck.
This basic recipe to grill whole duck can be modified to incorporate various spices for different flavor profiles. For a smoky flavor, add wood chips to your grill, and remember cooking methods will vary for charcoal and gas grills.
This easy recipe creates a savory smoked whole duck that is great for family dinners, gatherings with friends or your neighborhood BBQ Cook Off.
Using a pressure cooker to prepare a whole duck is perfect for those days when you are in a rush and need something quick and easy to cook. In less an hour you can create a juicy and tender whole duck with delicious sides. We recommend serving this with sweet potatoes, parsnips, Brussels sprouts, carrots, pearl onions or scallions. Take this dish to the next level with a side of gravy!
If you are going to be gone for a few hours throughout the day, try cooking a whole duck in a crock pot. When you get home, you will have a meal ready to eat! Tender carrots, potatoes and wild rice topped with slow-cooked duck make this dish a hearty meal option.
- Defrosting - Place it in the refrigerator for 2-3 days before preparation.
- Prepping - Remove duck from the bag, take out giblets (and orange sauce if included), trim excess fat, rinse with water and pat dry.
- Rendering - Carefully prick the skin with a fork and then place it into a stock pot of boiling water for 10 minutes to help render out the fat, which helps yield a duck with crispy skin.
- Seasoning – Season by rubbing on salt, pepper, paprika or your preferred seasoning mixture.
- Stuffing - Place orange slices, celery stalks, onion, apples, head of garlic or other aromatics that will enhance the flavor in the cavity of the duck. Do not fill it with traditional stuffing as it will not cook properly.
- Roasting - Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Place breast side up on rack in a roasting pan. Cook in oven for 30 minutes per pound or until the internal temperature at the thigh joint reaches 180 °F.
- Carving - Let duck rest 15 minutes before carving it. Place on a cutting board, remove wings close to body, cut close to body to remove legs, and cut down middle of breasts and carefully carve to one side and then the other. For a video tutorial click here.
- Serving - Duck pairs well with fruit so consider serving with orange sauce or fruit sauce of your choice. If you enjoy stuffing, prepare and serve separately. If you are cooking the duck for a specific recipe, follow recipe serving instructions.
- Reserving Fat – Always save the rendered Duck Fat to roast vegetables or add to other dishes. Duck fat can be used for a wide variety of dishes to enhance the flavor and consistency.
- Decreasing Cooking Time – Cook Duck Under a Brick. This method reduces cooking time by spatchcocking or butterflying a whole duck and then weighing it down with bricks. This ensures more skin contact with the skillet, so it crisps quickly.
- Making Duck Stock – Use the leftover bits of the whole duck to create Duck Stock that can be used in soups, stews, gravy and other delectable dishes.
Cooking a whole duck can be intimating and sometimes a whole duck is not required for a recipe. To cut up a raw whole duck to use in multiple recipes, follow this video for steps on how to carve a raw duck. This will allow multiple uses for a whole duck in different dishes.
White Pekin duck is the most popular variety in the world due to its mild flavor and lean, tender texture. It adapts well to a wide range of flavor profiles and cuisines. This type of duck meat not only tastes great, but it also offers a variety of different health benefits you wouldn’t necessarily get with other types of poultry.
Duck is lean like chicken.
Farm-raised Pekin duck meat is lower in fat than many other proteins. In fact, duck meat has less than half the fat of many cuts of beef and pork. By properly cooking duck and scoring the skin, you can eliminate 70% of the fat. Duck is lower in saturated fat than many other proteins. This allows you to stay on track if you are concerned about your blood cholesterol levels.
Duck is packed with essential nutrients and is high in iron.
White Pekin duck is an excellent source of essential nutrients such as vitamin E, niacin and selenium, with one serving providing more than 20 percent of a person’s daily recommended intake. Duck meat is a much better source of vitamin K, vitamin A, and vitamins B1 and B2. Duck also contains more iron per serving than chicken, turkey, Cornish game hen and even some cuts of beef. This can help boost brain development or support a healthy immune system, while adding iron to your diet.
Duck fat is better for you.
Duck fat is higher in monounsaturated fats that help lower LDL cholesterol than saturated fats, which can have a negative effect on blood cholesterol levels. This means duck fat’s nutritional profile is more similar to olive oil than other animal fats making it a healthier option than other poultry and beef fats.
One of the many benefits of whole duck is its broad appeal! Anyone who wants to prepare a dish centered around duck is able to do so because it is multifaceted.
With all the health benefits and general appeal of duck as an alternative for other poultry, anyone and everyone is able to use whole duck for any occasion.
There are so many different recipes to choose from when cooking with a whole duck. A traditional favorite the world over is Peking Duck. Beijing's most famous dish, Peking Duck is traditionally served with Chinese pancakes, green onion brushes and cucumber strips with hoisin sauce.
Some other classic recipes include:
Other fan favorite recipes include:
John Tucker's famous Duck & Noodles recipe has been cooked in the Tucker family kitchen for years. This classic recipe substitutes duck for chicken in a savory brothy noodle soup. We recommend making your own duck stock to start!
Prepare this whole duck recipe ahead of time for a cozy weeknight meal. The tangy Dijon mustard and flavorful peppercorns give it a bit of spice.
Cooked on the stovetop and served with a sauce that is perfectly balanced between sweet and tart, this entrée is a beautiful option for a holiday meal or special occasion.
Enjoy spicy barbecue sauce with duck without turning on your grill. Simply bake on an oven rack and add sauce for a delicious BBQ dinner!
Consumers can choose from four different Whole Duck Products that are available in grocery stores and meat markets.
Our most popular whole duck is the All Natural Whole Duck. Cook whole, cut up for breast and legs, or even roast the carcass for duck stock. Chefs and home cooks alike love its versatility.
Our Halal Whole Duck is produced following the principles and values of the Muslim community and is certified by Halal Transactions of Omaha (HTO).
Our All Natural Whole Duck with Orange Sauce is lightly marinated in water and sea salt to keep it moist for cooking. Use the convenient orange sauce as a glaze or on the side for dipping.
Maple Leaf Farms’ goal is to raise ALL birds without antibiotics. While we never administer antibiotics for growth promotion, we believe that if an illness occurs, treating animals as prescribed by a licensed veterinarian is the humane choice. Our All Natural Antibiotic Free Whole Duck has NEVER EVER received antibiotics. Best for roasting or deep frying, you are sure to leave your family wanting more!
Interested in buying whole duck for your next dining adventure? You can find Maple Leaf Farms duck at grocery and club stores throughout the United States. While availability of fresh or frozen whole duck varies depending on where you live, come holiday time you can find them in almost any grocery store near you. Or you can have whole duck delivered to your door by ordering online directly from Maple Leaf Farms.
Culinary professionals looking to add whole duck to their line up can source duck nationwide from a broad network of food distributors. To find out more, contact your Maple Leaf Farms sales rep here to find out what distributors carry our products near you.