How to Get the Most Dang for Your Duck: A (Very) Serious Eats Project

Spooning jus over koji roast duck breast.

[Photographs: Vicky Wasik]

Duck is my desert island meat. In fact, I would argue that duck meat is the best meat, period. For starters, it's incredibly flavorful and incredibly versatile. You can roast it whole until well-done, and it'll still be moist and juicy because it's so blessedly forgiving. Or you can pan-sear duck breast in a matter of minutes to a pink medium-rare with crispy bronzed skin. It's a great candidate for sous vide cooking, too, whether you're seeking an edge-to-edge even cook on the breast or a fall-apart tender, 36-hour sous vide confit treatment for the legs.

Closeup of a bowl with a crisped leg of koji duck confit over rice.

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And so, I repeat, duck meat is the best meat. But I admit I still have a lot to learn about cooking it.

Which is why I cannot overstate my excitement for our month-long duckstravaganza, hosted by the one and only Sasha Marx. Over the coming weeks—and starting later today!—Sasha will be embarking on his Big Duck Project, starting with an essential knife-skill primer on breaking down whole ducks and leading up to more out-there techniques like how to rig up a fridge to dry-age said duck for even deeper, funkier flavor.

If you're ready to jump on board, our friends over at D'Artagnan are offering 20% off all duck products, including the Pekin duck you'll need for this project, when you use the code seriousduck20.

Start with how to break down whole ducks, then learn how to render extra duck fat into crisp cracklings. Then, move on to making a rich brown duck stock and gotten started on the process of dry-aging duck crowns. While the crowns age, make duck confit, and then figure out how you want to serve the confit. Finally, roast the crowns and serve them with a silky and luxurious red wine duck jus!

You can track Sasha's duck journey by following him on Instagram, or by checking out our duck page.