How To Break Down a Duck

August 23, 2019 • 0 comments

How To Break Down a Duck
Simply follow these instructions to break down a duck!



Breaking down a duck 12 hr-0032

Although I am breaking down a whole duck in this post the same steps can be taken for breaking down a whole chicken or turkey.


Make sure to wash everything used in preparing raw poultry such as kitchen tools, cutting boards, containers, surfaces, and especially your hands in hot soapy water afterward to prevent cross-contamination.
Also, I use a yellow cutting board just for poultry as an added precaution against cross-contamination.




Breaking down a duck 1 hr-0010

What you’ll need to break down a whole duck: cutting board, stiff boning knife, a tray for individual parts, and a bowl for the trimmed fat and skin.

Breaking down a duck 2 hr-0012

Make a cut into the skin between the leg quarter and the breast. Make sure to cut closer to the leg quarter than breast as you will want to keep the skin that covers the breasts complete and intact.

Breaking down a duck 3 hr-0014

Pull the leg quarter away from the carcass and toward the back. Cut the leg quarter at the joint connecting the thigh and the body of the duck. Make sure to include the “oyster” from the backbone.

Breaking down a duck 4 hr-0015

Repeat on the other leg quarter. The leg quarters are ready for your favorite recipe like duck confit.

Breaking down a duck 5 hr-0016

Remove the wings.

Breaking down a duck 6 hr-0018

Trim the flap of skin extending from the tip of the breastbone.

Breaking down a duck 7 hr-0020

Make a cut as close to and parallel to the breastbone. While carefully pulling the breast meat away from the breastbone begin cutting the meat away from the breastbone.

Breaking down a duck 8 hr-0022

Carefully remove the tenders and trim any excess skin, fat, and silver skin from the breasts.

Breaking down a duck 9 hr-0023

The breasts are now ready to be used in your favorite recipe. Check out my recipe for pan-seared, coconut milk marinated duck breasts.

Breaking down a duck 10 hr-0025

Trim off the skin and any fat from the carcass. Combined the trim from the carcass with the other trim to render the fat that can be saved and used in dishes like duck confit.

Breaking down a duck 11 hr-0027

Cut up the trimmed carcass into smaller pieces, save to make stock.

Breaking down a duck 12 hr-0032


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