How To Butcher Poultry

How To Butcher Poultry

  • Difficulty: easy
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Breaking down a duck 12 hr-0032

Although I am breaking down a whole duck in this post the same steps can be taken for breaking down a whole chicken or turkey.


  • Make sure to wash everything used in preparing raw poultry such as kitchen tools, cutting boards, containers, surfaces, and especially your hands in hot soapy water afterward to prevent cross-contamination.
  • Also, I use a yellow cutting board just for poultry as an added precaution against cross-contamination.




Breaking down a duck 1 hr-0010
What you’ll need to break down a whole duck: cutting board, stiff boning knife, a tray for individual parts, and a bowl for the trimmed fat and skin.

Breaking down a duck 2 hr-0012
Make a cut into the skin between the leg quarter and the breast. Make sure to cut closer to the leg quarter than breast as you will want to keep the skin that covers the breasts complete and intact.

Breaking down a duck 3 hr-0014
Pull the leg quarter away from the carcass and toward the back. Cut the leg quarter at the joint connecting the thigh and the body of the duck. Make sure to include the “oyster” from the backbone.

Breaking down a duck 4 hr-0015
Repeat on the other leg quarter. The leg quarters are ready for your favorite recipe like duck confit.

Breaking down a duck 5 hr-0016
Remove the wings.

Breaking down a duck 6 hr-0018
Trim the flap of skin extending from the tip of the breastbone.

Breaking down a duck 7 hr-0020
Make a cut as close to and parallel to the breastbone. While carefully pulling the breast meat away from the breastbone begin cutting the meat away from the breastbone.

Breaking down a duck 8 hr-0022
Carefully remove the tenders and trim any excess skin, fat, and silver skin from the breasts.

Breaking down a duck 9 hr-0023
The breasts are now ready to be used in your favorite recipe. Check out my recipe for pan-seared, coconut milk marinated duck breasts.

Breaking down a duck 10 hr-0025
Trim off the skin and any fat from the carcass. Combined the trim from the carcass with the other trim to render the fat that can be saved and used in dishes like duck confit.

Breaking down a duck 11 hr-0027
Cut up the trimmed carcass into smaller pieces, save to make stock.

Breaking down a duck 12 hr-0032


How To Butcher Poultry

This is part of a series of posts that are a collaboration between myself and Grove Ladder Farm, a small, family-run farm in Sarasota, Florida that specializes in pasture-raised, non-GMO, soy-free poultry for meat and eggs.  I created recipes/dishes that featured their various products in order to provide them with photographs to use in their online and print marketing materials.  The photos are used with their permission.


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