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.
FOOD SAFETY TIP!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Repeat on the other leg quarter. The leg quarters are ready for your favorite recipe like duck confit.
Remove the wings.
Trim the flap of skin extending from the tip of the breastbone.
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.
Carefully remove the tenders and trim any excess skin, fat, and silver skin from the breasts.
The breasts are now ready to be used in your favorite recipe. Check out my recipe for pan-seared, coconut milk marinated duck breasts.
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.
Cut up the trimmed carcass into smaller pieces, save to make stock.
How To Butcher Poultry