How to butcher a duck

How to butcher a duck

Jointing a duck is an excellent skill to master as buying a whole bird is more economical than buying individual breasts and you get to utilise the legs and carcass as well as the breast meat.

As with all butchery, using a very sharp knife will make the job much easier.


Cut into the skin between the thigh and the breast
Pull the leg down away from the breast and pop out of the joint. Cut through any attached skin to remove the leg. Repeat on the other side
To remove the breasts, run the knife down one side of the breast bone then, keeping your knife as close to the bone as possible, use stroking movements to remove the meat from the rib cage. Repeat for the other breast

Serving suggestions

Have a go at buying a whole duck and using it in Pascal Aussignac's Duck breast with aromatic polenta fries and orange vinaigrette or Matthew Tomkinson's Honey-roasted breast of duck with smoked belly pork, caramelised endive and ceps. Confit the legs to preserve them for longer and then use them for Andy Waters' Confit duck leg, braised red cabbage, green peppercorn sauce and caramelised apples or in stuffed pasta such as Mark Jordan’s Ravioli of duck, seared langoustine tails and sherry veal jus.