View Full Version : Eating Muscovy ducklings?
11-30-2008, 12:29 PM
Does anybody eat muscovy ducklings? Tell me about them.
We used to raise muscovies for their eggs, the young drakes got sold for the table because they didn't produce eggs. For our own table my father would select an older drake since there might be 10 diners. I know that the ducklings sold at the supermarket are Pekins which are far inferior to the older muscovies that we used to eat. What I am basically asking are muscovy ducklings great eating like they are when they grow up or are they like cows where veal is different from beef, tender but less flavorfull? ~gd
11-30-2008, 04:02 PM
GD, not much of a difference in taste....but we prefer eating younger birds if we do, older birds go to the sales.
We were supplying a guy here with 50 young birds a week, they he stopped coming.
We have also found that bigger birds are harder to dress with their size and the younger ones feathers are easier to take off..
not sure if this helps...
11-30-2008, 05:43 PM
We hatch all different breeds in the spring and butcher the extra drakes in the fall. Some get held over until later. We have found that skinning the ducks is A LOT easier than plucking. Everyone likes them better that way when they are cooked too.
12-01-2008, 09:58 AM
Wyldflower, I am always contrary, but I can't believe EVERYONE likes them skinned better. The juicy dark meat and the crisp skin are the two best parts to eating duck IMO. Yes skinning is fast and easy; pin feathers can be a PITA when trying to dress a duck in the wrong phase of the molt cycle. What are ducks doing in the fall when you process most of your birds? Putting on more down to get them through the cold cycle perhaps?
Callduckguy, thanks you answered my question completely. It just stands to reason that a younger duck is going to be tenderer. My dad would pick the bigger drakes because he needed the size to feed lots of mouths, and a Muscovy drake can be huge. If you cook them 'low & slow' they get tender in the oven, follow by a blast of heat to brown and crisp the skin and you get a bird that I like much better than Turkey.
I know the commercial ducklings are sent to process when their growth starts to slow, the feed to meat conversion ratio rules in the market but I think that point falls on a good place on the molt cycle so that they are easy to clean at that point also. The other great thing about Muscovy (besides superior meat) is they aren't that effected by the seasonal cycle like those descended from migrating ducks. If you let a frustrated Muscovy, she will start a nest and go broody on it just about any time during the year as long as there is shelter and a good feed supply which allows you to have ducklings for the table anytime with a little planning. ~gd
12-01-2008, 06:51 PM
Yes, in our house we ALL prefer them skinned. Obviously A Lot of people prefer most poultry and waterfowl skinned! Healthier Too! Check out your prices in the supermarket. Our muscovies are done at any age we are ready to butcher them at .Yes, mostly in the fall because it's cooler but not freezing and we don't want to feed them all through the winter. If you cook them right they all are great regardless of the age. We don't seem to notice a difference here. But ours aren't done as "babies" either.
I was just passing along what works for us. Maybe others too!
12-01-2008, 08:47 PM
I hate to tell you this but you are starting to wake up the dragon, :twisted: ALL the people in your house is not the same as EVERYBODY!
It is not obvious to me that a Lot of people prefer most poultry and waterfowl skinned. :roll:
Check the prices in the supermarket? A higher price does not always mean something is perferred, in this case the higher price might be because of the extra labor of skinning and surely includes the waste factor. That skin that you don’t buy becomes waste.
Since you brought up supermarkets, did you see any skinned Turkeys? What percentage of the poultry meat offered for sale was skinless? Are you starting to see a trend here? :P
The good news for you skinned fans is that you can always remove the skin if you want to enjoy it your way, did you ever try to put the skin back on again? :wink:
Healthier? Well maybe. I’ll give you that one. :oops:
The question was about eating Muscovy ducklings (not babies) since you claim not to do that what makes you qualified to even have an opinion? I didn't ask for what worked for you or others! :x
I was trying to point out to you that for ease of removing feathers from waterfowl where they are in their molt cycle is much more important than their age or the season, but evidently that went right over your head too. :P ~gd
12-02-2008, 05:29 AM
Everyone was wrong wording, EVERYONE in MY House is correct.
I NEVER mentioned Turkey. Yes I did say most poultry. YES, obviously A Lot of people prefer skinned because they are willing to PAY the higher price regardless of way it is priced that way.
Like I said before I was just passing on what works well for us and maybe some others do it that way too.
I work full time and raise our animals ( Cows, chickens, ducks, rabbit, pig)for pets and food. My time is too important to sit and pluck feathers on something we don't need the skin on anyway. OR to argue with you when you asked and OPINION! What works for some does not work for ALL!
Tell me about them
They are offspring of muscovy ducks and drakes that if chosen to eat, you cook HOWEVER you choose and eat it.!!!!!!!!!!
12-02-2008, 05:48 PM
Ok you are starting to get the message let me just drive home a few points. At the supermarket did you see any skinned whole birds? (I used turkeys since our poultry section was full of them.) If your supermarket was anything like mine what you found skinned were only such select cuts as skinless breasts or skinless ‘tenders',they would have had a higher price in any case because they were select cuts. Yes people will pay more for select cuts that are ready to use just as they will pay more for pre-cooked food. They pay more for cut up chicken then they do for whole chicken. Heck I pay more for fried chicken from the deli section when I am to tired or lazy to take home a cut up bird, take the time to bread it right, fry it, and avoid having to clean the whole kitchen because of the grease I managed to splatter while frying it. KFC built an empire on people like me.
Since you seem to believe that people like skinned poultry so much that they will pay extra for it do you charge more for your skinned birds than the going rate for unskinned birds? Why doesn’t the stores offer skinned whole birds at any price, if there are so many people that want it? I’ve beaten that point to death.
My other point was that i wanted to know if ducklings tasted like older Muscovy. You didn't address that point, callduckguy did. I restated the question if if was like beef and veal. You gave me that pitch that everbody liked them better skinned.
And yes I agreed before that skinning is a good way to go if you wish to butcher birds when their feather cycle wasn't right to pluck them.
Reading and answering my posts are optional if you are so busy, just don't pee on my shoes and try to tell me it is raining. ~gd :mrgreen:
12-03-2008, 05:33 AM
YES, I did address your question.
If you cook them right they all are great regardless of the age. We don't seem to notice a difference here. :oops: But then I must be wrong!!!!!!!!!!!!!Because you don't agree.
YOU never mentioned HOW you where cooking them either!
Do you just look for things to argue about????
12-03-2008, 09:38 AM
skinned is better.....bla..........
12-03-2008, 10:31 AM
wykdflower, no you are right you did say that in a later post and I guess I Must agree. I did mention how we cooked the big old drakes, low and slow followed by a blast of heat to crispt th skin. since yours are skinless you can skip the heat :lol:
IWBASEC I just consider the source and let it go. :roll: ~gd
12-03-2008, 01:22 PM
ding ding ding..
opponants go to your corners, regroup and come out fighting...haha :lol:
what I find most amusing through all this is that no names are ever printed....(with the exception of a few)
do phone numbers needs to exchanged or addresses given so we can kiss and make up now!
its the holiday season, lets get along haha
--side note to GD...
have a few younger scovies lined up to eat for the holidays as well as nice turkey...:) cant wait...
now, curious here also....do older turkies taste the same as younger ones?? like veal, sheep or scovies?? hmm never tried it...
now, curious here also....do older turkies taste the same as younger ones?? like veal, sheep or scovies?? hmm never tried it...
I think turkeys get a lot more flavor after 20 wks. I try not to butcher before 24 wks. My favorite age to butcher is 10 to 12 months. You need to have a small breed and try not to figure cost per pound but the flavor is out of this world.Enough gravy to drown the last of the leftovers too.
12-03-2008, 06:58 PM
callduckguy: Who you calling ding, ding? :x All the young turkeys I have eaten were of the supermarket butterball type, juicy and tender but with no real flavor. I had a free ranging 2 year show turkey once (don't know the variety) seems he produced some odd young ones so the breeder culled him. Come to think of it I don't know how old he was. I assume they breed the first year, his first family was grown enough that the breeder didn't want to produce and more from him. The family was sold for the table trade. Not much breast meat but he had the best tasting legs I had ever had! Sort of a mild gamey taste like a wild pheasant. Sorry I cant tell you if this was because of the breed, the free ranging or the age. The price was right and the breeder told me how to cook the old bird. Hope this was of some help. ~gd
Brian Paul Witt
12-04-2008, 10:34 PM
Since the USPS has screwed me as far as shipping day old ducks--Muscovy in particular--I raise hundreds less than in years past...
That said, and I'm adding to/para-phrasing some famous cool actor..."No one, and I mean no one, would eat a skinned duck"
Skinned poultry in general is just plain nasty and it damn sure ain't American; must be some Yankee/no taste/ bland@ss/just fill your stomach feed.
Healthy eating sucks; its not cool, its not socializing, and its not eating; its just "filling your gut."
We've been using Julia Child's recipe for Muscovy for over a decade now; it rocks.
12-05-2008, 05:53 AM
Brian- Good for you! You have it your way I'll have it mine.
I'm happy enough with my life that I don't worry what is cool Or socializing. I enjoy my food the way I make it. My family doesn't seem to mind either. No complaints from them and to me that's what matters.
I never put anyone down for how they like anything. Never said skinned is terrible or anything, I don't think it is. I like it but I also like skinless. I just said what works for us. NEVER, pushing the issue of that's what someone should do. In my first post I said we hatch in spring , most are butchered in the fall, some are held over for later and that WE ( meaning my family and I) found it easier. We don't taste much difference between young or old muscovy. We butcher when we do so we don't have to feed all of them through the winter. We happen to like the way we do things. :D
12-05-2008, 09:49 AM
On a brighter less argumentative note....*rolling eyes*.......Does anyone have a *market* for their culls where they get set prices for set sizes or birds. Not an auction somewhere but an actual place that will take numbers. I am lucky here in California because the ethnic market is so large and diverse, but I know in other parts of the country its tuff to get any real money for them. I can't supply enough ducks, but I can't give away the geese.
12-05-2008, 11:12 AM
Hey Brian! Good to see you back on the board; I was starting to think the hogs had ate you. If you have read the above you know I share your opinion about skinned duck for roasting.
Most of the cooking I am doing these days is for myself alone and is mostly 'fill your gut' type. Even when I manage to lure over a lady a whole duckling is a bit much. I would love to be able to go to a market and buy a pair of duck breasts or legs even at $8/lb. Or even a whole fresh (not frozen) duck. I know a way to fry either legs or breasts in duck fat to give a crispy outside and still leave the center rare that would beat any beef you have ever had. I still want the skin on but it is a fair dish without the skin.
Have you ever had just fried duck skins, like "pork rinds" only better.
As I think I mentioned my father would dress out the drakes for sale whenever he got an order. If he knew he didn't have a bird in proper feather to pluck, he would ask if they wanted it skinned (yes this was in Yankee-ville, Upstate NY) and explain about the pin feather problem. He got a few takers just as he would get a few who didn't want the neck or giblets (duck gravy and biscuits!) since he sold by the bird, not by weight, he didn’t mind. He would rough pluck the drake then skin it keeping as much of the fat as practical. The skin and fat would be rendered under low heat saving the rendered fat, and then he would remove the pin feathers and singe the “hairs”, cut up the skin to small size pieces to use for duck rinds. We even got some customers that just wanted the meaty breasts and legs and leave us the carcass for our duck soup.
These dishes don't have the class of a great roast duck...The panfried breasts or legs will be seen in fine dining restraunts. duck gravy and biscuits, duck soup, and duck rinds are still "good eats". ~gd
12-05-2008, 12:03 PM
IWBASEC What do you mean by set prices? If you mean that they will always pay $xx for a duck, my answer is no. We have "farmer's markets" here supported by the state dept of Ag. Different evenings at different cities and just about everywhere on Saturday morning. Mostly for produce, but one of my friends with a large flock of ducks gets rid of her excess birds at them. Fayetteville (Fort Bragg and Pope AFB) has a fair number of "war brides" from Asian countries that want ducks, duck eggs, and fertile duck eggs for their table.
There are many different customs on ducks, some want them live for duck blood soup and other uses. many want the head and feet left on but plucked,drained and drawn (gutted). Some don't want them drawn. and some want them like they came from the supermarket. Live birds and undrawn birds are likely to bring the Ag or health officials down on you, and you had better have a good supply of ice in your coolers or the birds might be seized. My friend likes to take orders for future delivery so he doesn't get stuck with a supply of birds he can't move. Every sale is a dickered price, there is no set price. If you are selling an in-stock duck the customer is likely to walk and come back later looking for a bargin price on a duck you don't want to take home...like a flea market or swapmeet.
As for geese there are some european "war brides" and the natives derived from the UK like geese for feasts. Most of these are deliver to order and fully dressed. Much harder to move except for family feasts where a goose makes an impressive table.
Local markets differ, I am just reporting what goes on in Central NC. ~gd
12-05-2008, 03:12 PM
That's a shame........
12-05-2008, 06:59 PM
What is a shame? my friend manages to recover his feed bills (even the new high ones) The high price of gas earlier in the year put him in the hole a bit but the number of customers went up and is still Ok. The numbers will drop off fairly low after christmas as there will be little produce to attract and these things are all open air. If the weather is forcast to be bad he will stay home unless he has delivery to be made. I suspect our waterfowl markets are better than most. The military base-ed customers, don't have to fear lay off :P ~gd
12-06-2008, 10:18 PM
at any given time we have some people that will take as many as we can supply so that is always nice to have a few extra birds around just in case! not a "set" market per say, but atleast we know they will take ducks!
Thanks goodness muscovies produce so well I guess!!
Brian Paul Witt
12-07-2008, 11:40 PM
I've been raising Muscovies for almost 20 years; showed them at every show I've been at. And, I've ate quite a few. Since there is no processor any where close to me, I've slaughtered all of them myself with the help of my wife and children. That said...
I've done it both ways; we have skinned them and plucked them. Of course, skinning is much easier, but if you want a whole bird on the table, you want the skin. I have yet to see a whole turkey or chicken for sale that has been skinned; it just ain't right.
If you're wanting healthy eating; buy celery. If you want duck prepared in a traditional way, get a whole duck. We only eat our ducks on special days like Thankgiving, Christmas, Pascha, etc..., and those are the times when "healthy eating" is not considered. There is no comparision; plucked is way better than skinned.
12-08-2008, 10:54 AM
I agree Brian Paul :) I eat my share of celery and other salad type healthy eating (i want to be around as a pest for a few more years) One of my points in my post to you (but for everyone to read) there are times that I would like to serve and eat duck where a whole roasted bird would be a waste, not to mention the amount of time it takes to prepare and cook. Someone has pointed out to me via email that there are places to mail order duck parts. For the price and shipping costs I think I will process birds myself. Some will be broken down to parts before freezing.
Have you checked into the places that offer to butcher and process deer for hunters? I have found one that will process ducks. I have to kill and bleed them myself and the finished product needs the finishing details of pinfeather and 'hair' removal but it saves the fuss of plucking and gutting... :mrgreen: ~gd
04-07-2009, 12:22 AM
So, do you dry pluck the muscovy drakes, or do you scald them?
04-07-2009, 09:50 AM
So, do you dry pluck the muscovy drakes, or do you scald them?If this is addressed to me, ~gd, you might see by the post above, that I kill and breed then take to a local custom butcher to pluck and 'draw' =gut them. When I did everything myself I always scalded because it was faster and easier than dry plucking. BTW I always just rough plucked and then used the hot wax method to get the remaining small feathers, down, and hair off.~gd
04-08-2009, 09:16 PM
Just wondering about how you said you slow roast and then turn up the heat when cooking whole duck. We routinely use high heat first (450 degrees) for about 8-10 minutes to crisp skin and then lower the temp. I'd love to try it your way, too, if you could provide a few more details. Actually, I'd love to read any of the recipes/cooking tips you've used that you recommend. We generally sell our Muscovies wholesale to fine restaurants that certainly don't need cooking tips from me. But this year we've been invited to the farmers market and I'm trying to get together some cooking tips for people who aren't familiar with Muscovy and aren't sure what to do with it. If you prefer to email to me directly, please do so.
04-09-2009, 08:35 AM
Micky9 I would rather reply on the open board just to show that I am not so pigheaded that I can never learn.
I tried the hot blast followed by slow roasting and like it better than my former method of roast then blast. With my old way I often ended up with duck that really was overcooked. By going for the crispt skin on a bird that was well roasted I often overdid it. If I cooked them more often I might learn the timing to stop the roasting so that the crispting blast brought the bird to perfection. The late blast produces a more crispy skin but can overcook the duck unless your timing is very good... :oops: ~gd
04-09-2009, 09:11 AM
Gotcha. We don't get a chance to eat them that often either as they are much more valuable sold to my customers. My family is just as happy with chicken :) Occasionally we save the really large drakes b/c chefs generally can't use birds over 5 pounds or a female that I cull b/c she is starting to lay outside the barn or keeps flying to the neighbor's pond, etc. We always brine before roasting and I have never cooked just legs or just breast which is what the farmers market wants me to sell. Guess I need to experiment with pan-roasting and some other methods. I do want to say that if you ever accidentally overcook, the meat still makes incredible panini. We have blasted a few before, making it too tough, and I just cut off all the meat into thin slices and serve it on crusty bread with some provolone, and baby spinach or vidalia onion from the garden and grilled on the panini maker. Incredible! We've even served it that way at farm brunches with great success.
04-09-2009, 04:47 PM
Well all I can say is that watching cooking shows and tasting Moscovy prepared by a local 2 star chef has convinced me that medium to medium-rare is the best for Moscovy. Previously I was of the "so well done it falls off the bone" school. I still like my chicken and turkey that way. Anything that is too dry gets soaked in the very rich gravy made. I guess I don't have a lot of class when it comes to poultry. ~gd
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