As most ducks are covered with a rather
thick and fatty skin, they are quite difficult to roast in the same way
as other birds such as chicken. In order to get the skin to release most
of its fat, and for the duck to turn 'crispy', the duck has to be
roasted for such a long time that the meat is invariably overcooked. To
solve this problem, separate the duck into thighs, breasts, and carcass
bones. The thighs can be braised, cooked into confit, or grilled as
they're tougher than the breast and require longer cooking time. As for
the breasts, they can be sauteed so the skin turns crispy, but the meat
remains pink. The carcass bones can be used for making duck broth.
Remove the Thighs, Wings and Boneless Breast from a Duck
1. Turn the duck on its breast and cut off the wings
where they join the body. Be careful not to cut into the breast
2. Turn the duck on its back and pull one thigh forward
and out. Cut through the skin between the thigh and the breast,
keeping the knife blade against the thigh. Follow the strip of fat
that lies under the skin and leads along the side of the thigh down
to the back.
Fold the thigh back and with your thumb against the base of the
thigh, snap the thigh out of the joint.
Slide the knife along the side of the duck where the thigh meat
attaches to the back. Follow the contours of the backbone, leaving
the meat attached to the thigh. Detach the thigh. Repeat to cut off
the other leg.
Cut off the large flap of fat and skin at the neck end of the duck.
This can be discarded or rendered for its fat. (Duck provides
excellent and flavorful cooking fat).
Turn the duck on its back. Cut along one side of the breast bone,
keeping the knife flush against the bone, until you have detached
the breast along the entire length of the backbone.
Peel the breast back, away from the bone, with your fingers and
slide the knife under the wishbone, detaching it from the breast.
Continue sliding the knife against the breastbone, keeping the knife
against the bone so you don't cut into the breast meat until you
completely detach the boneless breast.
Place the breast skin side down on the cutting board and cut away
excess skin and fat. (This can also be rendered for duck fat.)
Repeat with the other breast.