Anyone else taking out a duck for Thanksgiving?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by WestKnollAmy, Nov 18, 2010.

  1. WestKnollAmy

    WestKnollAmy The Crazy Chicken Lady

    Apr 22, 2008
    upstate SC
    We have a Silver Appleyard drake that we will be taking out on Sat. for Thanksgiving. (Sounds like a nice luncheon planned but not so much for the drake!)

    Anyhow, we have never slaughtered our own duck, we always do chickens. We never pluck the chickens, we skin and fillet out the meat. The duck we will be plucking so we can roast it in the oven. I think I may put some cilantro in the cavity or an apple/walnut mixture and possibly use some seasonings injected under the skin.

    Any suggestions from others that have prepared duck?
    Not just on cooking but on the preparation of the meat itself.


    RAREROO Overrun With Chickens

    Jul 22, 2009
    Alapaha, Ga
    I will also be watching this, I'm the same as you Nadine except this Muscovy drake will be our dinner guest instead of an Appleyard.

    I have also only ever skinned chickens and this will be my first time with a duck too and it will be plucked instead of skinned. I am planning on soaking mine in a brine with orange juice overnight and maybe but orange and bacon slices on it while cooking to help hold in the moisture since Scovies arent supposed to be as fatty as domestic mallard derived ducks.

    Hopefully we can both learn from this thread.
  3. lavacaw

    lavacaw Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 4, 2008
    South Central Texas
    Cooked a duck one thanksgiving years ago - enough for two people. Don't plan on serving a crowd. I stuffed mine with cornbread dressing just like a hen or turkey and it worked fine. Good look and happy Thanksgiving.
  4. WestKnollAmy

    WestKnollAmy The Crazy Chicken Lady

    Apr 22, 2008
    upstate SC
    Just 4 of us for the meal but lots of other goodies and maybe we will add a platter of chicken if the duck won't be enough. The drake is about 8 months old so I hope not too tough and maybe a bit more meat than just for 2 ppl.

    I thought about putting orange quarters inside the cavity while cooking. I have a recipe that says to do that and I thought maybe that would be a bit like beer can chicken.
    Sounds like a good idea to soak overnight with brine and OJ. I have heard Muscovy are more lean so the bacon sounds like a good choice. I will probably soak mine overnight as well but am still working out those details.

    Maybe I'll see feathers flying down your way and maybe you will see feathers flying up my way as we try to get through the plucking! [​IMG]
  5. Ibicella

    Ibicella Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 13, 2009
    Everett, WA
    We normally do duck for Christmas.

    I suggest when slaughtering to put some soap in the scalding water to help loosen the water-proofing oil of the feathers. Also, keep a small blow-torch and a pair of needle nosed pliers around for taking off the pin feathers. Plucking waterfowl is a PITA, but the delicious skin makes it worth it, in my opinion! [​IMG]

    I don't normally brine. I just let the meat rest for about a day or two and check to see if rigor mortis has past. Then I am free to marinade if necessary for one more day.

    For roasting:

    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

    Carve away any excess fat from the neck and cavities.

    Poke holes in the skin with a fork all over breast and back around 20-30 times so the fat can melt off. Be sure not to prick into the meat.

    Place the bird on a roasting rack over a pan and pour a few cups of boiling water over it. It helps melt some of the fat off.

    Season and do what what your recipe calls for.

    Tie the legs shut with cooking string.

    Put a tent of aluminum foil over the bird.

    Roast in the oven for around 3-4 hours.

    Check the bird periodically for cooking progress until the fat has melted off and it reaches your desired level of done-ness.

    Remove the foil tent for the last 20 minutes of cooking to crisp the skin.
  6. pringle

    pringle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 16, 2009
    Im pretty sure im going to be doing that next year with muscovy/pekin babies.But for this thanksgiving im gonna be buying a duck from a store to see how it tastes.though im gonna be pretty occupied with my quail that are gonna hatch.
  7. snewman

    snewman Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 22, 2007
    Belleville, WI
    I saw this online and then tried it myself to help in plucking ducks. It really worked! I got my scalding water to the proper temp, then added a block of paraffin wax and let it melt (I got this at the grocery store, in the canning area). Pull a few handfuls of the outer feathers off the duck before scalding, just what comes off easily. This makes it easier for the hot water and wax to get to the down underneath. The melted wax makes a coating on the top of the water. Dunk your duck in and scald for the recommended time (I do one minute). Then put the duck immediately into cold water, the colder the better. The wax will harden, stuck to the downy feathers and then you can peel it off in big chunks leaving a nice clean skin. There's still some finishing work, but it really does a pretty good job of getting most of the feathers off.
  8. WestKnollAmy

    WestKnollAmy The Crazy Chicken Lady

    Apr 22, 2008
    upstate SC
    Wow! Thanks for all the great ideas, everyone!

    I was planning on the needle nose pliers for the pin feathers but will try the wax as well.

    We plan to breed a few kinds of meat ducks next year and don't want our first experience to be so bad that it puts us off it. I need all the ideas, suggestions and hints I can get!
    My dad always killed wild Mallards and brought them home but I have no idea how Mom cooked them. That was eons ago and they both have passed now.

    With all your great suggestions this should be a tasty duck! Although Boris isn't too thrilled, I am sure. I bet he would rather stay a free range duck! LOL
  9. WestKnollAmy

    WestKnollAmy The Crazy Chicken Lady

    Apr 22, 2008
    upstate SC
    Okay, we got it done.
    Gosh, he sure looked bigger walking around but then I did not put him up for slaughter like I do the roosters. Next year I will do that with the drakes I plan to put in the freezer.

    This was the first duck I have done and we usually skin our roos so a carcass is not as easy for us. He weighed in at 3.4 lbs after cleaning.


    I must say, it was much, much easier to clean him than we thought!!

    After we cut his head off in the killing cone and let him bleed out a few minutes then I dumped him into the hot, sudsy water for about a minute. We laid him on the table and started pulling feathers off. It was amazing how easily they came off, too! Then I put the warm wax over him and dunked him in cold water, repeated that and got the rest of those pin feathers off so I could start cutting.
    I had a harder time with this. I need more instruction on how to cut around the back to make the vent and intestines come out but also I cut too far up the back in trying to get the gland off. that's why all that extra skin is hanging down.
    I got everything out okay except one lung that I messed up and it took a while for me to clean out the carcass well from that.

    All in all it took us less than an hour! Holy moly, we expected it to be at least 2 with what everyone was saying about the feathers.

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

    (We will be cooking a chicken too, since there doesn't look like enough meat on the duck for 4 ppl.)

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
  10. kuntrygirl

    kuntrygirl Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

    Feb 20, 2008
    Opelousas, Louisiana
    Yea, we will be preparing for that today. I can't actually do it myself but I have a butcher on call that will be here. I only want to see the final product. I'm excited.

    ETA: I checked out the prices of ducks in the store and they were in the range of $18.00. So for those of us who process our own ducks, we are saving a whole lot of money.
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2010

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