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I bought a 'mature duck'...what to do with it...?

I bought a 'mature duck'...what to do with it...?
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  • I bought a 'mature duck'...what to do with it...?

    Post #1 - April 28th, 2005, 10:41 am
    Post #1 - April 28th, 2005, 10:41 am Post #1 - April 28th, 2005, 10:41 am
    I bought a mature duck, also called an old duck. Now I am not sure what to do with it! Any thoughts? I searched the net for recipes and came up with just about nothing!

    Thanks!

    Christine
  • Post #2 - April 28th, 2005, 11:04 am
    Post #2 - April 28th, 2005, 11:04 am Post #2 - April 28th, 2005, 11:04 am
    Where did you get it? Sounds great for smoking or bbq at around 200° or so. (If it were still winter, I'd say make a stew.)
  • Post #3 - April 28th, 2005, 11:37 am
    Post #3 - April 28th, 2005, 11:37 am Post #3 - April 28th, 2005, 11:37 am
    I got it at Butera for $.99/lb. Weird that it is considered mature when it is only 3.5 pounds...? They were half the size of the ducklings...it does say 'stewing duck' on it also.

    I do have a stovetop smoker that can also be used on the grill...hm...how long would it take? My last pork butt took 8 hours...

    Thanks!

    Christine
  • Post #4 - April 28th, 2005, 11:53 am
    Post #4 - April 28th, 2005, 11:53 am Post #4 - April 28th, 2005, 11:53 am
    Christine,

    I'm no expert on duck, but my sense is that anything billed as "old" probably requires a moist heat -- if not a soup.

    Hammond
    "Don't you ever underestimate the power of a female." Bootsy Collins
  • Post #5 - April 28th, 2005, 11:55 am
    Post #5 - April 28th, 2005, 11:55 am Post #5 - April 28th, 2005, 11:55 am
    David Hammond wrote:I'm no expert on duck, but my sense is that anything billed as "old" probably requires a moist heat -- if not a soup.


    I would tend to agree, but I'm no expert either. I would also peg it to be on the gamey side. This sounds like a perfect candidate for a braise and then into a duck curry.

    Best,
    Michael / EC
  • Post #6 - April 28th, 2005, 2:13 pm
    Post #6 - April 28th, 2005, 2:13 pm Post #6 - April 28th, 2005, 2:13 pm
    Extra gamey wild duck from brackish water (in places such as FL & LA, and who knows, maybe NJ) makes a nice gumbo. Your old bird would probably benefit similarly from the a long soak in a nice cajun bath.

    Also while I have never seen this, I suspect that a stringy, dark bit of old duck would make a fine pot of ropa vieja. I'm currently in the process of amassing a mighty collection of old cookbooks from Havana and Tampa to complement the collective but diminishing memory of various family donas.

    Let me know if you'd like a recipe.
  • Post #7 - April 28th, 2005, 2:42 pm
    Post #7 - April 28th, 2005, 2:42 pm Post #7 - April 28th, 2005, 2:42 pm
    Hi,

    Domesticated fowl who are allowed to age are often egg layers. My friend who occasionally raises chickens maintains a small group of layers. She advised the older the hen gets, the larger the eggs. When she is finished with them, she brings her older hens to the auction house.

    ReneG found a place on Chicago's south side, which sells old layer chickens. I hope he will lend his experience, or at least a great anecdote, to this thread.

    As many have already suggested, a long slow braising would likely bring out the best result.

    We look forward to gleaning from your experience.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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  • Post #8 - April 28th, 2005, 5:15 pm
    Post #8 - April 28th, 2005, 5:15 pm Post #8 - April 28th, 2005, 5:15 pm
    Most ducklings in stores are the White Pekin breed and are at pretty near adult weight. Some other breeds are smaller with the two color phases of runner the most common. Runners carry their bodies in a much more upright position than Pekin ducks, but I doubt that anybody could see the difference in a frozen carcass. The frozen mature ducks may not have any giblets and almost certainly don't have packets of horrible orange sauce adding weight but not value.


    Cathy2 is certainly correct that these mature ducks are hens past their effective breeding lives. Hope that they aren't old drakes, which will be even tougher with stronger flavor. The light weight is a fairly good indication that they are hens because drakes tend to run slightly larger than hens. Muscovy drakes, though, run about twice the weight of hens. Muscovy hens run only a little larger than White Pekin hens.

    I have seen mature frozen ducks at Tony's, too.

    Moist heat cooking or grinding the meat before cooking are necessary. I have long suspected that old hens are used in a lot of duck ravioli.

    I raised ducks one year as a teenager. Never again.
  • Post #9 - April 29th, 2005, 12:01 am
    Post #9 - April 29th, 2005, 12:01 am Post #9 - April 29th, 2005, 12:01 am
    JeffB,

    Thanks for the offer for recipes!

    Now, I thought ropa vieja was a sausage? From your posts, I don't get that impression at all! Am I mistaken?

    If you have a recipe to cook my duck and make a gumbo, that would be great!

    I have since also found many recipes online for stewing the duck. I am kind of afraid to to open it, I fear it will have tough skin and feet that I am just not ready to deal with! It did come with giblets...

    Ok, I will do this for me, and for you all! I will try to take pics along the way...

    Here we go...woo!!!
  • Post #10 - April 29th, 2005, 7:00 am
    Post #10 - April 29th, 2005, 7:00 am Post #10 - April 29th, 2005, 7:00 am
    Hi,

    Ask and you shall receive! Just on this board, there are two tested Duck Gumbo recipes.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #11 - April 29th, 2005, 9:59 am
    Post #11 - April 29th, 2005, 9:59 am Post #11 - April 29th, 2005, 9:59 am
    The advantage of duck gumbo is that the accompanying flavors are strong enough to offset the the gaminess of an older duck.
  • Post #12 - April 29th, 2005, 10:03 am
    Post #12 - April 29th, 2005, 10:03 am Post #12 - April 29th, 2005, 10:03 am
    Ropa vieja means "old clothes" and is shredded slices of beef in a gravy.
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  • Post #13 - April 29th, 2005, 1:55 pm
    Post #13 - April 29th, 2005, 1:55 pm Post #13 - April 29th, 2005, 1:55 pm
    So the soup is cooking. I am doing a modified version of Pete's recipe... Mostly because the steaming didn't work so well, I'm sure I was doing something wrong, so I just browned them all and used the rendered fat for the roux (also had to add some butter). Then I browned the bones that were left, put that fat in the roux. Then put it all in a pot of water to make the broth. Cooked the onions, etc...in the roux, added the broth & sausage & duck & rice & seasonings...I can tell you the broth is delicious! The duck did get a little tough and I gave up on anything but the breast meat. I may go back and try to get more off of it anyway.

    Unfortunately, no pics because DH had the camera all full...and I don't generally know the set up of his computer. I could muddle thru, but I was anxious to get on with the cooking...good thing, too as it's been a 5 hour ordeal and it isn't done yet! :)

    Thanks for all the help!!! I love that I found this forum!

    Christine
  • Post #14 - December 27th, 2020, 9:17 pm
    Post #14 - December 27th, 2020, 9:17 pm Post #14 - December 27th, 2020, 9:17 pm
    Hi,

    I bought a few months ago, a 6.5 pound mature duck. It was likely a duck kept for reproduction. Mature ducks are at least 6-months old with thickened skin. Most information located suggested it was intended for making sausage or other commercial processing, though it could be braised or slow cooked.

    I already made a commitment to cook it by taking it out to defrost.

    I found a slow roasting recipe requiring seven hours for a fall-off-the-bone with crispy skin called Duck de Marietta. I am getting a lot of pressure to make a Peking duck, though I don't think this bird will quite deliver that. If I made the Chinese doilies pancakes, slivered onion and Hoison sauce, it will effectively meet those expectations. I hope.

    I have considered confit, though it is not what people expect in my household.

    If you have had experience with mature duck and have some techniques or ideas, please let me know.

    Regards,
    Cathy2
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast

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