Most people are familiar with duck, but very few know what duck tastes like. Contrary to most people’s assumptions, the duck does not have a weird taste.
Therefore, you should not ignore it the next time you see it on a restaurant menu.
Duck meat has gained popularity in the United States over the past few years.
Note that China has the largest market for ducks because it is one of the most popular dishes in China. The Chinese consider duck premium meat.
If you have never tasted duck and are wondering what it tastes like, this article is for you. We will discuss everything you need to know about duck.
First, we’ll look at the different types of duck. Then we’ll describe duck flavor and that of duck fat in detail.
We will also look at the difference between wild duck and farmed duck. Finally, we’ll talk about properly storing duck for it to remain fresh for much longer.
Types of duck
Before we discuss duck flavor, you should know the different types of duck available in the market.
The three main types of duck available in the market are; Muscovy duck, the Long Island duck, and Moulard duck.
The Muscovy duck has a lower fat content compared to the other varieties. Additionally, its meat is deep red in color.
This type of duck is usually big, so it may cost more compared to the others.
The Long Island duck is the most popular among the three because its flavor is milder in comparison. If you are tasting duck for the first time, I suggest you go for this variety.
The Moulard duck has a higher fat content. Most people also argue that it is the most flavorful. It is big in size and would be the ideal choice if you are cooking for several adults.
Additionally, the Moulard duck has a pleasant succulent texture.
Despite being poultry, duck greatly differs from turkey and chicken. For starters, duck has little meat on it.
So chances are that one duck won’t be enough for the entire family, especially if you have more than two kids.
I would describe the taste of duck as strong and gamey. Contrary to most people’s expectations, it tastes a lot like red meat and not chicken. Since duck naturally has a lot of fat, it is tender and gives one a fatty mouthfeel.
Compared to other poultry, duck skin is fattier and thicker. Therefore, you must cook it well until it is nice and crispy.
Duck that is not well-cooked is rubbery with an unpleasant taste.
What does leftover duck fat taste like?
Leftover duck fat has a subtle flavor and a silky mouthfeel. Additionally, it has a high smoke point which makes it ideal for high-heat cooking.
Duck fat enhances the flavor of every dish it is added to. You can use it in salad dressings, vegetables, poultry, potatoes, and puff pastry.
You can also use it to make popcorn the old-fashioned way.
How the cooking method impacts the flavor of duck
The flavor of duck may differ slightly depending on the cooking method you use.
There are three main cooking methods, i.e. oven-roasting, cooking the duck in rendered duck fat, and roasting.
You can cook duck by oven-roasting the whole duck in a wood-fired oven. The result would be a red duck that has crispy skin.
This dish is popularly known as Peking duck in the United States, and its origin can be traced back to Beijing.
This duck is very flavorful, and its crispy skin makes it even tastier. Peking duck is normally served with a sauce.
Cooking duck in oil or rendered duck fat
You can cook duck legs by submerging them in rendered duck fat or oil. You’ll end up with a dish commonly referred to as confit of duck.
This duck is usually cooked on very low heat to ensure that the duck does not overheat. Confit of duck is typically tender and full of flavor.
The trick is incorrectly following the cooking time and temperatures.
This is a very popular method of cooking duck, especially at home. You should score duck skin before you start roasting so that the duck fat can escape.
Roasted duck normally has crispy skin. It is tender on the inside and also quite flavorful.
What to do if you don’t like the gamey duck flavor
If you don’t like the intense gamey flavor of duck, you can do this to reduce its intensity.
You will need:
- 8 cups of water
- ½ cup of salt
- ½ cup of pickling spices
- ½ cup brown sugar
- In a large saucepan, heat 4 cups of water, salt, pickling spices, and brown sugar until all the ingredients dissolve.
- Once the ingredients dissolve, remove from heat and pour it into a large bowl containing the remaining 4 cups of cold water.
- Let the mixture cool.
- Add duck to the liquid and let it soak for 2 hours.
- Remove the duck from the liquid and use paper towels to dry it.
- Rub olive oil or canola oil on the duck before cooking.
Brining your duck will reduce its intense gamey flavor. However, note that it will become saltier than usual.
Additionally, the color of the duck will become one shed lighter.
Which one tastes better between wild duck and farmed duck?
There is a noticeable difference between wild duck and farmed duck. For starters, wild duck has less fat compared to farmed duck.
This is mainly because farmed ducks are less active since they are provided for. As a result, they build up a lot of fat.
On the other hand, wild ducks are super active and have to fly looking for food to survive. Therefore, they are less fatty.
The texture of wild duck and farmed duck also differ due to the difference in fat content.
Since wild ducks eat a wide variety of food, they are tastier compared to farmed ducks.
However, note that its flavor will also be gamier, so you should stick to farmed duck if you don’t like the gamey flavor.
The only downside with wild duck is that it is difficult to tell how old the duck is. Note that older ducks (more than ten years old) will have tougher meat compared to the younger ones.
How to store duck
The best place to store duck is in your freezer at O Degrees Fahrenheit. Compared to chicken, duck maintains its structure better when frozen.
You can also store duck in the refrigerator. If its packaging is intact, it will retain its quality for approximately 14 days.
However, if the packaging is not intact, it will only stay fresh for 3 days.
How to properly freeze duck
For duck to retain its quality when stored, you need to freeze it properly. To freeze duck, do not interfere with its original packaging.
Do not open or tear it.
Place the package as it is in a freezer bag and squeeze out all the air before sealing it. The freezer bag provides the duck with extra insulation.
Date your freezer bag with a marker to keep track of the day you froze the duck. Then, place the freezer bag into your freezer.
It will retain its good quality for up to one month.
How to defrost duck
To defrost duck breast, place it inside your refrigerator overnight. If you want to defrost an entire duck, you’ll have to leave it in the fridge for at least two days.
When thawing duck in the refrigerator, place it away from other foods to avoid cross-contamination.
If you forget to defrost duck in the refrigerator, you can make the process quicker by placing it in cold water.
Just make sure to change the water every thirty minutes until the duck defrosts completely.
Is duck healthy?
Duck meat is a healthy meat option. It is rich in protein and vitamin B. It also contains essential minerals, including magnesium, iron, zinc, and potassium.
Compared to chicken and turkey, duck has lower saturated fats.
Additionally, duck has fewer calories and is therefore ideal for those watching their calorie intake.
Duck may have some similarities with chicken, including appearance, but the taste is completely different when cooked.
The fat content and color are also different compared to chicken.
Duck has a strong gamey flavor. It also has fatty, thick skin that tastes amazing when crisped.
If you cook duck at home, don’t dispose of the duck fat that is left over. It has a subtle umami flavor that enhances the taste of vegetables, potatoes, other meat dishes, salad dressings, and several other dishes.
If you have never tasted duck, I suggest that you try it today. If you are skeptical about the intense gamey flavor, brine the duck using the method we discussed above to reduce its intensity.
Let me know in the comments below if you’ll like the taste of duck.