(September 15, 2009) -- With the popularity of the recent Sony Pictures’ movie, “Julie & Julia,” more Americans than ever are considering cooking duck for dinner. Duck, a versatile and delicious alternative to other meats, can be used in everything from appetizers to soups to entrees.
The deboning of a whole duck takes on a significant role in the movie as blogger Julie Powell works her way through all of the recipes in Julia Child’s first cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
While seemingly a difficult task to some cooking novices, the deboning or cutting up of a whole duck can be accomplished in five easy steps:
1. To cut up a whole duck, first take the duck from the package and remove giblets and packets from cavity. Rinse it under cold running water. Pat the duck dry. Place the duck breast side up on a clean, flat, solid cutting surface. Be sure to use a sharp kitchen knife.
2. Pull one whole leg firmly away from the body, putting pressure on the body. Cut through the skin and into the meat where leg meets the body. Bend the whole the leg back until the ball of the thighbone pops loose. Cut between the ball and the socket to separate the leg. Next, lay the knife flat against the body and cut through the meat to remove the thigh and leg. Repeat with the other leg.
3. With duck on its back, remove the wings by cutting inside of the wing just over the joint. Pull wing away from body and cut from down through the skin and the joint. Repeat with the other wing.
4. To remove the breasts, make a shallow incision running along one side of the breast bone. Continue cutting down and around the wishbone. Keep the knife blade flat against the breastbone and ribs and cut the breast from the bones while pulling the breast away with even tension. Be sure to remove the meat attached to the rib cage by keeping the knife flat against it and slicing downward. Slice through the skin and remove the breast. Repeat with the other side.
5. You now have two leg and thigh pieces, two boneless breasts and two wings. The remaining carcass, along with the wings, can be used for making stock. The wings do not have a lot of meat on them, but they can be made into hot wings, just like chicken wings.
For step-by-step instructions from the Maple Leaf Farms corporate chef, view the “How to Debone a Whole Duck” video from Maple Leaf Farms: