For some duck is considered the epitome of fancy foods, but many every day still have not tried this unique poultry. Just why do we eat duck and what does duck taste like?
Duck has long been considered high-end or fancy food. It is enjoyed at celebrations but not every day, so many people have never actually tried the flavor of the duck.
If you have ever been curious about this special bird, you’re not alone. Find the answer to all your questions about duck and its unique flavor in this helpful guide!
What Does Duck Taste Like?
Fine dining restaurants around the world serve the humble duck, but just what makes this bird so special? It’s flavor!
Duck has a sensational flavor, unlike other poultry that makes it so tantalizing and irresistible to chefs and diners alike!
Duck has a color and texture that is similar to red meat and its bold flavor is also similar to some red meats.
What makes duck’s flavor so exceptional is the fat. It is far fattier than other poultry meats and this gives it a rich, luxurious, and unctuous flavor.
Duck skin is known for its great texture and flavor when cooked.
It gets wonderfully crispy and holds a fatty flavor that makes it almost like chips or chicharron.
Duck fat is so tasty that it is often rendered down and then used to cook other pieces of the meal, like duck fat French fries or duck fat greens.
This irresistible fatty flavor is what draws people into eating duck.
What kind of Duck is Used in the Culinary World?
Not all ducks are created equal when it comes to the kitchen. Some of the common quack-ers that you are familiar with are not the tastiest birds, like mallards which are unstable for eating. The best duck for culinary use is the Pekin duck.
Pekin ducks have a more mild flavor than other ducks and a nice even spread of fat throughout the body.
Pekin duck is well suited for whole roasting or breaking down and using smaller cuts.
This bird has been mastered by many styles of cuisine. Possibly the most iconic is the Chinese-style whole-roasted Peking duck.
It is a crispy whole-roasted Pekin duck with tender flesh and crunchy, salty skin. It’s often served with hoisin sauce on the side.
Benefits of Eating Duck
Aside from the fact that duck is downright delicious, there are several health benefits one can gain from eating this poultry.
Duck has lots of omega-6 fats which when eaten in moderation can be beneficial to heart function. It’s also a good source of magnesium and iron, which are both essential nutrients.
Overall, duck is a fatty and protein-rich meat that can give us some essential nutrients, but should be enjoyed in moderation.
Where to Find Duck
If you want to try your hand at preparing a beautiful dunk dinner, it is easier than you think. The first thing you will need to do, though, is find the duck!
Duck might not appear on American dinner tables every night, but it is actually pretty easy to find in stores.
Some butchers will have broken-down ducks available, in cuts like duck breast, but generally, the duck will be found whole.
Whole duck is usually available fresh from the butcher’s counter or wrapped and frozen in the chilled section.
If your grocery does not have fresh duck, the frozen is an excellent choice but must be thawed before cooking.
The package will have specific instructions for the length of the defrost, but the best defrosting method for frozen food is always in the fridge overnight.
Place the whole frozen duck on some paper towels on the lowest fridge shelf and allow it to chill until fully thawed before using.
You can also find local farms that raise ducks for culinary use. These smaller businesses ensure that you get the freshest and most ethical duck around.
Try looking online for local duck farmers in your area for a farm-fresh and delicious meal you can feel good about.
How to Cook Duck
One reason people often cite for never trying duck is the perceived complexity of the cook, but with a little know-how and a few simple tricks, this luxurious bird can be made by cooks of all levels!
The best way to cook a whole duck is to slow-roast the bird.
Slow roasting unlocks the fatty flavor within and allows the skin to form a crunchy barrier to hold in all the rich juices from the meat.
To perfectly roast a whole duck, preheat an oven to 350°F and set the oven racks low enough to accommodate a roasting pan with a rack.
Fit a large roasting pan with a roasting rack and set aside. Wash the duck, remove anything inside the bird, and score the skin.
Stuff a halved orange and garlic cloves inside the duck’s body cavity and rub the skin with a mix of soy sauce, powdered ginger, chili powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper.
Place the duck on the roasting rack breast-side up and roast for 3-4 hours, basting every hour with juices from the pan.
To cook a duck breast, heat a pan on the stovetop over medium heat and add a generous amount of cooking oil to the pan.
While the oil warms up, score the skin of the duck breast and season all sides with salt and pepper.
Place the duck into the hot pan, it should make a lot of bubbling noise.
Cook for about 3-5 minutes per side or until an internal temperature of 165°F is reached.
One helpful tip for delicious duck is to allow the skin to cook a little longer than the non-skin side.
This allows the fat to render nicely and gives the skin a tempting crisp. Rest the duck breast for about 5 minutes before serving.