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May 8, 2008 02:32 PM

Why isn't fried duck as popular as fried chicken?

Is it simply a matter of cost and/or availability?

I'd imagine properly seasoned and battered a duck deep fries just as well as a chicken.

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  1. I think you hit it, mostly, with the cost. Also, the fat content of duck makes it trickier than chicken to prepare well and it's more difficult to deep fry or even pan fry. Off the top of my head, I'd think you'd have to steam the duck first to render some fat and batter/coat it and fry it. Might be delicious, but almost certainly far more labor intensive and expensive than knocking out some fried chicken. (Which I think I'll have to have for dinner tonight.)

    1. I think part of it has to do with the fact that for many people the flavor of chicken is much more bland. Several of my friends and family members who don't like lamb because they say they are put off by its gamey aroma, also don't like duck.

      Related to availability - part of it may have to do with the fact that chickens were so much easier for our ancestors to domesticate. They just don't fly away as well as ducks.

      4 Replies
      1. re: racer x

        On the taste issue, everyone I know that's deep-fried duck has always recommended to soak the bird in either a cold milk bath or ice water for at least a couple days in the fridge before battering and deep-frying.

        I suppose the theory is that doing so will temper the "gamey-ness" of the duck.

        1. re: ipsedixit

          How many deep-fried ducks do you know?

          Just kidding. Milk baths, huh? Where is that a tradition? Should think that would get expensive...

          1. re: tatamagouche

            For me, it's buttermilk (with chicken). I can't see what good regular milk would do (but keep it moist), but buttermilk, which is essentially mild lactic acid imparts a tangy flavor, much like yogurt or yogurt and lemon. Buttermilk probably affects enzymes in the meat, breaking down proteins and tenderizing it.
            I would worry about all the fat on a duck, as well. Or, perhaps go whole hog and fry it in duck fat!
            There is a chicken place in Texas called "Babe's" where they marinated their chicken overnight.

            1. re: tatamagouche

              I think the milk bath for duck refers to wild ducks that are hunted, the same for venison. It gets rid of the gaminess. I don't detect any gaminess in domestic ducks and I agree with the answer above that to fry a duck isn't simple as it has so much fat. When I roast a duck I slow cook it for four hours and get a tremendous amount of fat drippings that when flash frie would remain with the duck.

        2. I love duck in every form (I'm Chinese, it might be genetic) but many of my friends don't, because (1) it's more strongly flavored than chicken (these same folks aren't big lamb fans, either), and (2) it's much more fatty than chicken. It might also be a matter of what you grew up with--duck still isn't mainstream. As a kid, I learned to not ask what something is before eating it, because I was expected to try everything, so why psych myself out when there's no way to escape eating it?

          1. I (or Asians like me?) much prefer duck, goat, mutton, and boar to chicken, beef, and pork because of the richer flavors. In addition, chicken, beef, and pork are now ag factory products in northern developed countries; while ducks, goats, sheep (for meat), and boars are not. Having said all that, and getting back to the frying issue--I'd never fry a duck. Steamed, roasted, confit-ed, and the like are good for me.

            5 Replies
            1. re: Sam Fujisaka

              Sam, in Bolivia fried chicken joints were ubiquitous. Many had duck too for the same price. My boys loved the chicken, me the pato; just ducky. Back in the USA... I rarely eat chicken, it tastes of antibiotics. We are about to get some ducks to raise. They eat the slugs in the garden, fertilize it and in the fall, pato frito!

              1. re: Passadumkeg

                I lived in Tarija for three years without eating duck. I want to be with you in the fall.

              2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                Sam, Someone told me that if I didn't like dark meat chicken I probably would not like duck. Is that true? I have no problem with lamb, venison, or buffalo, and I have even had wild boar, so would I find duck to be gamier than any of those?

                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                    Thanks Sam! Good to know. It's on my list!

              3. I've had fried duck that was unbattered, which was extremely tasty. I'm not so convinced about battered fried duck, which would probably just seal all that fat and make it excessive and make the skin tough and pallid.