Monday, July 1, 2013

How to Clean a Peking Duck

How to Clean a Peking Duck

We have some ducks that we purchased this spring along with our chicks at tractor Supply Company, and we also had another duck that was given to us a few months ago. Once the ducklings caught up to the size of the larger duck, we realized that was as big as any of them were going to get and decided it was time to slaughter them. 

We looked up other's experiences online with slaughtering ducks for meat and decided to take their advice on cleaning them. They recommended only taking the breast meat from smaller ducks like ours, as the combined rest of the meat on the duck only amounts to around another 1/2 cup, and would make the cleaning significantly longer and harder to accomplish. 

For this project you will need:
Wood block
hatchet or heavy cleaver
bucket
freezer bags
bowl of clean cold water with ice cubes (for putting the meat in)
bowl of clean cold water with a dab of bleach (for cleaning)
sharp knife (we used a filet knife)
rope/paracord
bucket for carcass
disposal area for carcass
wear old clothes

We started with isolating the ducks from the rest of the animals for monitoring for 24 hours. If you are going to process the whole duck (or any other animal), place them in an isolation pen for 24 hours with only water to clean out their digestive system. 

After deciding that all of the ducks looked healthy and had no physical problems or illnesses we proceeded with starting the process.

First, we strung a piece of paracord between two posts and added some slip-knots for the feet. One slip-knot would be adequate, we just processed our ducks two at a time. 

We had researched the different ways of bleeding them out or removing their heads and others' experiences with both ways. From their and our previous experiences; it seems to be best to separate the head from the body as quickly as possible. We went with a block of tree trunk we have used in the past, and a small heavy hatchet. Two people makes this part much easier, but one could do it easily enough I would think. 

I had my assistant hold the Duck by the beak with one hand, and down by the base if the neck with the other hand while I took care of the hatchet work. (Be careful to be sure you have control of your hatchet, as whatever it hits it will do major damage to!) Strike the hatchet firmly through the neck (severing it) into the wood. The hatchet will bury itself into the wood, and the head and body will be two parts. Drop the head onto the ground, or into a bucket for disposal later. Take the body and slide the feet through a loop on your rope for the body to bleed out upside down. 

Once all muscles have relaxed and the blood has stopped dripping, take it over to your table for processing. Feel the chest for the breastbone (it is very long). You should be able to determine the beginning and the end of it easily. Grasp the bird and the knife and make an incision along the breast bone to get the skin started for pulling back. Now you should be able to pull the skin and work the knife to expose the breast meat. Once you see the bottom of the meat (near the abdominal cavity) expose it around towards the ducks sides and proceed up towards the shoulder joint. I also made a few cuts in the skin to allow better access to the meat for the next part of the process. 

Now, take your knife and slide it down along the side of the breast bone length-wise removing the breast meat. Slide the knife along the ribs to remove the rest of the meat. Be careful NOT to enter the abdominal cavity. There is a large artery along the shoulder area that will release a little blood onto the meat when you cut it, but do not worry about it. remove the meat from the neck and shoulder area, and place your meat into the cold water. Remove the other breast the same way and put the remaining carcass into the disposal bucket. 

Once you are done, take the meat inside and wash off any feathers, etc that may still remain on the meat. Place it in your refrigerator or freezer depending on when you're planning on using the meat. Enjoy!

(Article submitted by SLC-360 Contributing writer)

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