Friday, January 21, 2011

Oh, Duck.

This is one of those things I never thought I would do. I quartered a duck. I intended to buy duck breasts, but my grocery store only had whole duck. So I bought one. And I found a new recipe.

And I broke it down.

The story follows…

First, buy a duck. Mine is a 6-pound beauty.

Maple Leaf Farm duck
Take it out of the package, take out the giblets, rinse it off, yada yada. You know this drill. (Alton Brown also says to take out the pop-up timer. No pop-up timer in Maple Leaf Farms duck! Yay, Maple Leaf!)

Assemble your tools. Mine included: cutting board, kitchen shears, really big knife, and my cheat sheet.

whole duckUsing your kitchen shears, cut off the wings.

no wingsPull that big flap of neck skin out of the way. I just cut it off. Then, with your kitchen shears, cut down either side of the backbone, starting from the neck and working your way back. Take out the backbone.

no backboneFlip the duck over, breast side up.

flat duckCut right down the middle of the breast bone, which gives you two halves of a duck.

half duckSeparate the leg from the breast by making a cut between the top of the leg and the bottom of the breast. (The division is pretty easy to see.)

separate leg   Voila, quartered duck!

quarter duckThis duck is getting ready to go into a brine, and my buddy Alton Brown says to make some slits in the skin before it goes in the brine. I don’t remember why, but I’m sure AB knows what he’s talking about. So I did it. (I think it has to do with how thick the skin is, compared with a chicken or a turkey.)

slit skinThen I put the duck in a brine in a bag. Come back later to see what that’s all about!



  1. For the record, I love it that you watch Alton Brown...I have him pretty well DVR'd and view most of them religiously. Koudos for trying the duck recipe. And the slits are due to the subcutaneous fat in the duck and if you don't have those you don't get a good crispy skin. At least I think that's what I remember from that episode of Good Eats ;-)

  2. Good for you - not that you care but I am very proud of you for doing this - I have never quartered anything and am a little intimidated by the whole process - also think it is great you did the duck challange - I wasn't quite ready for duck plus I have really picky kids! Can't wait to see what you make!

  3. I'm pretty proud of myself, as well! This was the first thing I quartered.

  4. totally proud of you!! I bought the breast fillets... and now you make us wait...

  5. totally proud of you!! I bought the breast fillets... and now you make us wait...

  6. You didn't have to wait too long... :) I wrote this post while the duck was in the brine, waiting to be cooked!

  7. Ryan, thanks for the info on the slits! I bet you're right! My skin didn't get very crispy; I think I should have cooked it a little longer. Tasted great, though!


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