NC Local Flavors – Duck

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Local flavors, seasons of the yearDuck meat; the deep, delicious flavor from a different kind of bird!

Generally in our area, most of those that have enjoyed duck meat are local hunters. But did you know you may be able to also purchase locally raised ducks?

Different Kinds of Ducks

White Pekin DucksThere are different varieties of ducks. When hunting, you may catch a Mallard or Muscovy duck. The Mallard duck is a smaller bird, a little greasy, and is farm-raised on a limited basis. Muscovy ducks are larger and often selected for their breast or liver. The most popular breed raised in the United States is the White Pekin duck. These came from China through New York and offer a more mild, tender meat, and less of a “gamey” taste. This allows it to adapt to a wider range of flavors and cuisines.

Preparing and Eating

Nutrition data roasted duck

Duck is not considered “white” meat like a chicken breast. For this reason, the nutritional value of 3 ounces of domesticated roasted duck meat will be closer to that one of chicken thighs but will be a little higher in iron.

Follow these recommendations when preparing duck meat:

  • Fully defrost the bird in the refrigerator 2-3 days before cooking it. This will allow it to stay at a safe temperature and prevent any foodborne illnesses.
  • Always cook poultry at a minimum of 165º Fahrenheit, no matter if it’s farm-raised or wild game. Use a digital thermometer so you can get an instant reading.
  • Wash your hands properly with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds. Handwashing is the number one way to kill microorganisms we may have on our hands and may cause foodborne illnesses.
  • Never wash or rinse any meat. This will not kill or get rid of any bacteria but may contribute to contaminating your kitchen surfaces. You could pat dry it with a paper towel when taking it out of the package.
  • Cook the neck to make stock for later use.
  • Use a rack when roasting duck so it can sit off the fat.


You can find plenty of recipes on the web for cooking your duck any way you would like. A basic roasting will do well with some seasonal vegetables. It will also allow you to prepare leftover meat using the spices and flavors as you wish based on the dish.

See our Roasted Duck video in the following link for more guidance: Roasted Duck Video

Discover Duck® (recipes and other information)

Indiana State Poultry Association

Culver Duck

Related links

Dawnbreaker Farms

Everfield Farm

USDA From Farm To Table – Ducks and Goose

For more information about nutrition, healthy eating, locals foods, and food preservation, please contact Ivelisse Colón, Family & Consumer Sciences Agent at or call 919-246-2055.