Most of the ducks sold in the supermarket are commercially raised and are between 3 and 6 pounds. Duck is available fresh and frozen, whole, or in packages of breasts only. When purchasing a duck, remember that the darker the flesh, the older the duck. Look for USDA Grade A duck with a plump, firm breast.
When cooking duck, remember that domestic duck is fattier than its wild cousin and most other types of poultry. It has a thick layer of fat under the skin, which makes the meat incredibly moist. Be sure to prick the skin before you roast or grill a duck to allow the fat to escape. If you're cooking duck breast, score the duck in a diamond pattern before seasoning, then cook with the skin side down. Cook until the skin is browned and crisp before turning. A 4- to 6-pound duck should be roasted at 350 degrees F for about 1-3/4 to 2-1/2 hours. You can also broil a 6- to 8-ounce duck breast, with the skin removed, for 15 to 18 minutes.
Put your new skills to the test with some of our favorite duck recipes—plus a delicious duck sauce you can pair with other entrees (try it on chicken or pasta!).