chicken well done, but duck can be rare. Why?


11 Years
Mar 31, 2008
I've always heard chicken should be cooked until all the pink is gone and the juice runs clear with no pink tint. On the other hand I've watched several cooking shows where the duck is cooked rare. Even yesterday on Gordon Ramsey's show he requested the duck he was ordering to be made rare. What's the deal? I guess I always thought that all poultry would need to be cooked through.
If you are grilling a duck breast you want it rare, duck breast has the consistency of say something more along the lines of beef - and has a unique flavor. You overcook it (well done) and it'll be rather tough. Now if you are roasting a whole duck then yes, you treat it more along the lines of how you'd roast a chicken - remember the whole duck has a lot of fat and if you whole roast it skin on it bastes itself in it's own fat. During the roasting process remove roasting pan from time to time and extract some of that fat and save it for future cooking projects. There's a tremendous hot dog place (bear with me here) in Chicago called Hot Doug's... they serve an amazing array of hot dogs, specialty sausages and on certain days of the week serve french fries cooked in duck fat. Any food tv special talking about the greatest hot dog places in America always features Hot Doug's.

Here's a decent recipe for grilled duck breast.

Here's Tyler Florence's Food 911 recipe on Chinese style steam/roasted duck - wow !!!!!!
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I agree with all of that. I don't like duck meat in general, but I think the recommendation for rare is mostly because it can be similar to beef. I personally MUCH prefer duck that has been roasted and braised with the fat or crispy duck (completely different, but also good). It is all personal preference though. My brother sells a lot of ducks, especially Muscovies and Muscovy hybrids, that are cooked as you describe giving the taste of a lean steak.

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