The more somebody else has handled your food, generally the more expensive it will be. Learning how to take advantage of whole animal butchery is both a gustatory and financial reward. You will be happy with your resourcefulness and will make anyone who tastes the fruits of your labor quite happy as well.
Butchering a duck is quite like butchering a chicken. Both birds have similar shapes. You may be familiar with the term “quartering” a chicken. The same technique is used with a duck only with a few more steps, which I will show you in the below video.
I talk about butchering a whole animal, but in this case the duck is like the one you would buy in the store–sans head and feet. If you should harvest your own duck or purchase a Chinese-style duck, just remove the head and feet and you’ll be at the point where I’m starting. Of course, if you harvest your own duck you will have to de-feather it and remove the innards.
You may not think “whole animal” when it comes to butchering a duck, but you will see that a whole duck has a lot to offer in terms of meat, fat, organs, and bones. All of these various parts can be used for cooking now, curing and conserving for the future, and for stocks, soups, and sauces. If you buy specific parts of the duck, you are limited to a specific application; butchering a whole duck presents many different possibilities.
The legs and thighs can be confited in the duck’s own fat or ground up for sausages and pate. The breasts can be fileted with or without the bone, roasted or grilled, and eaten like a steak or sliced on a salad. The innards can be made into pate or used in a salad. The bones and trimmings can be roasted and made into a stock or a flavorful soup. These are just the basics, but once you learn the butchery, you can apply it to any recipe.
Use the video as a reference, remembering that you can fast forward and reverse it with your mouse if you don’t want to watch the long version.