I ordered a duck to roast for Thanksgiving. When I picked it up, it was much larger than I had expected. Since there will only be two of us eating, I was wondering if it would be possible to remove the breasts for a later meal and still roast the rest of it. I was thinking since it would be breast down and with all the fat, plus basting; it would be fine. Or will it dry out? Any other opinions or ideas?

  • 2
    I would go ahead and quarter it. It just seams weird to only lop off the breasts. Not sure if there's any real problem though.
    – Preston
    Commented Nov 22, 2014 at 21:12
  • I like to economize my effort, so I'd probably cook the whole bird anyway and simply shred and freeze the uneaten portion for use later. Have you had a salad topped with shredded duck and duck fat dressing?? It's a game-changer. Commented Nov 26, 2014 at 19:29

1 Answer 1


I would actually recommend you remove the breasts, regardless of when you will be cooking them. It is very difficult to get the duck breasts to a perfect 125–130°F, the legs to ~15° hotter, and to simultaneously render excess fat and crisp the skin when roasting the bird whole. Cooking the individual muscles separately greatly simplifies this. Also, with duck, there is (in my opinion) relatively little advantage gained from roasting the individual parts on the carcass, other than tableside presentation.

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