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Types of Duck - Any Difference?

I have been eating the Pekin/Long Island ducks from Krogers, but our local gourmet grocery store carries Muscovy, which are double the price but I admit I don't know if they weigh the same (they look about the same size but I read that Muscovy are bigger ducks).

Are Muscovy that much better, that is are they worth the price difference?

Any other types of ducks to consider, if I can find them?

By the way, I once had wild duck. Admittedly my hunting buddies and I weren't good cooks (back then) and it was horrible - tough and very gamey. I assume we overcooked it and it tasted based on what it was eating. Are wild ducks good to eat, and how do you need to prepare different?

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  1. I mostly eat Muscovy's because that's all that is available in my markets. And no, I haven't eaten the ugly, fastest growing feathered Muscovy quackers that poop all over my property and sometimes block my driveway, 29 of them from 2 hatches this year.
    Wild pintails and others are of course good eating, but you need to live near a flyway and have a friend who is a good shot.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Veggo

      Eat the local Muscovy's and your neighbors will love you!

      My brother and I christened them Chucks when we were kids since they looked to be half duck/half chicken. They make a mess and just keep breeding and breeding.

    2. Muscovy are leaner and gamier. Pekins are the ones I usually turn to because they're easy to get and they have copious amounts of fat if you're making confit, which goes over big in this house.

      No comment for wild duck as I've never had/cooked one.

      1. Wild duck is much leaner than domestic duck. The way I like it best is breast meat wrapped in bacon and grilled rare. I would like to try a confit of wild duck legs... you would need to get some duck fat from a domestic bird! But I live too far from the duck hunting members of the family now....

        1. Muscovy all the way.

          Pekin meat is white -- and ends up just tasting like chicken.

          Muscovy tastes like duck (and is, by the way, the breed most often served in Europe)

          8 Replies
          1. re: sunshine842

            Well I can't speak to Muscovy, but Pekin is far far from tasting like chicken.

            1. re: sunshine842

              I'll agree that muscovy duck is delicious, but pekin FEATHERS are white. Pekin MEAT is deep red when it's raw or rare, and brownish when cooked through. Maybe not as rich-tasting as muscovy, but richer than and very different from chicken.

              1. re: carnicero

                the last whole duck I bought in the US was labeled Pekin, and the flesh was snow white and so bland that we vowed we weren't going to buy it again.

                I've cooked, cleaned, and prepared enough duck and chicken to know that whatever this bird's bloodline was, it was most definitely not chicken -- it was a duck, to be sure.

                1. re: sunshine842

                  Was it Maple Leaf Farms maybe? Pekin ducks grown here on Long Island are red like beef all the way through.

                  I know Maple Leaf Farms is the most common brand away from here, and I've heard they pull a few fast ones to keep up with demand. Not subbing chickens for duck though! Maybe the feed or something like that.

                  1. re: coll

                    It was years and years ago -- I have no idea.

                    1. re: coll

                      Maple Leaf Farms ducks are Pekin, which is also called Long-Island Style. They are the same type of duck just can't be called "Long island" because they were not raised there. Duck is all RED meat. Pekin duck meat produces a mild flavor. Muscovy has a much stronger flavor. If you cook a duck breast properly, it will taste like a fine steak... not like chicken! I can assure you that no "fast ones" are being pulled at Maple Leaf Farms. The ducks are fed an all natural grain diet -- NO hormones, growth promotants or antibiotics... period.

                      1. re: BeachCook

                        But they're not from Long Island! Why don't they make up another descriptor if they're so wonderful? PS I've had them and they're not bad, just saying.

                        1. re: coll

                          Coll: Are you suggesting that we rename all Holsteins, or just that we deport all Jersey cows to the Isle of Jersey?

              2. I'm totally prejudiced, but Long Island Ducks are the best by far. If I ever move, I may never order duck again!

                1. Another type is the Moulard, a cross between Pekin & Muscovy I believe. They are *big* honkers & very delicious IIRC...

                  1. Cooking a Maple Leaf duck tonight and it definitely doesn't look like chicken. I have never had duck where it could be mistaken for chicken.

                    1. Does anyone know what kind of duck d'Artagnan uses?

                      Bought some breasts a while ago and was *very* let down by how little it tasted like duck. Meh.

                      1. D'artagnan carries all three types: Moulard, Pekin, and Muscovy.
                        As well as their own Rohan.

                        I've never been disappointed with ANY of their duck products when cooked properly (read as: RARE)

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: weedy

                          Then you've been luckier than I. I've bought their duck breasts a few times and found them lacking (duck) flavor.

                        2. Wild duck..not Ibsen's..makes all the difference. In Louisiana we cannot sell wild game in our cooking shows..but suffice to say that someone's duck & Andouille gumbo won a contest a few years back using ducks pulled down at Avoca Island courtesy of a Winchester Model 21.

                          Long Island duck doesn't taste anything like it did in the 1960s. I suspect it of coming from Thailand..or somewhere else in New Jersey.

                          ibse

                          12 Replies
                          1. re: hazelhurst

                            We still have one or two farms here on Long Island, but I have a feeling it doesn't travel too far from home. The rest of similar product in the US is from Maple Leaf in Wisconsin as far as I know. New Jersey? Fuggettaboutit!

                            1. re: coll

                              guess again -- Maple Leaf Duck Farm is in Milford, Indiana.

                              1. re: sunshine842

                                Not guessing, I don't sell it anymore so I didn't realize they had moved a couple of years ago.

                                1. re: coll

                                  they've never been anywhere BUT Milford, Indiana, since they were first founded in 1958.

                                  (I grew up in the area, and still know a number of people who work there)

                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                    I googled Maple Leaf and Wisconsin and this immediately came up, some kind of lawsuit. I'm sure I could find plenty more but this seems like a silly thing to argue about. Never had the chance to check them out in person, but all their packages back a few years ago said grown in Wisconsin. Not saying they don't have another plant or whatever. Can't imagine their reps were lying to us!

                                    FACTS
                                    ¶2 Maple Leaf is the largest duck producer and processor in Wisconsin.
                                    It operates two duck-growing facilities in Racine County. The Downy Duck
                                    facility, located in the Town of Dover, houses 100,000 ducks and generates
                                    34,000 tons of manure annually. The Main Farm, located in the Town of
                                    Yorkville, houses 250,200 ducks and generates 57,000 tons of manure annually.
                                    The operation of each of these facilities results in an actual or potential
                                    “discharge of pollutants” into the waters of the state within the meaning of WIS.
                                    STAT. § 283.01(5) (1999-2000).1 Because of their size, both Downy Duck and
                                    Main Farm are “point sources” subject to the WPDES program, specifically as
                                    concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO) within the meaning of
                                    § 283.01(12)(a). Both facilities are also large animal feeding operations within
                                    the meaning of WIS. ADMIN. CODE § NR 243.04(13).
                                    ¶3 The manure produced by Maple Leaf’s duck operations is valuable
                                    as a nutrient supplement for agricultural crops. Some of the manure is applied on
                                    fields located on company property, but Maple Leaf also contracts with a number
                                    of farmers for land application of the waste. The off-site landspreading is
                                    undertaken by Maple Leaf. It transports the manure and applies the waste to the
                                    fields using a large piece of equipment called a terregator. The farmers pay
                                    1 All references to the Wisconsin Statutes are to the 1999-2000 version unless otherwise
                                    noted.

                                    1. re: coll

                                      http://mapleleaffarms.com/

                                      While I'm sure there's more than one farm by that name, the one in Indiana was the parent company.

                                      Moot point, anyway: http://www.care2.com/news/member/5019...

                                      1. re: coll

                                        Maple Leaf Farms only now has a hatchery in Wisconsin called Downy Hatchery -- no other facilities there. The info you copied is from 2001! There are no longer any farms like the one mentioned above. All Maple Leaf ducks are then raised in Indiana on family farms by contract growers. Most of them are Amish or Mennonite.

                                        1. re: BeachCook

                                          I was just pointing out that it was incorrect that they NEVER had facilities in Wisconsin, which wasn't the point I was trying to make anyway. When I sold their product, they said that Wisconsin was their home, for whatever reason. apparently I wasn't wrong. Also responded that duck never came from Jersey: A lighthearted answer that turned derogatory for some reason.

                                          1. re: coll

                                            Maple Leaf is and always has been in Indiana. There was a subsidiary in Wisconsin -- Wisconsin was never, ever the "home". (the subsidiary farm was closed in 2008)

                                            I do believe that you bought ducks from the Wisconsin facility...but if anyone told you that Wisconsin was the home location of the country *they* were wrong and *you* were misinformed.

                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                              Nope, they just said the ducks we were selling for them were from Wisconsin. Don't see the big deal myself. If it quacks, it's a duck, to most people.

                                2. re: coll

                                  Wisconsin, Indiana, New Jersey..it's all the same as any NYer knows.

                                  1. re: hazelhurst

                                    When it comes to duck, that is the truth.

                              2. I was at a dinner that had both domestic and wild ducks. It was easy to tell which was which, as the tame ones were better than twice the size of their wild cousins. None tasted the least bit fishy or gamey, but I had two just to make sure, and a few pieces of farm bird.

                                I've never cooked a wild one, and would want to read up on the subject before trying it. Some game birds need to be hung a while before plucking and cooking; that dinner was nearly 40 years ago, and I didn't bother to quiz anyone on his or her technique. I do have a couple of books that address the cooking of game, though. The original James Beard, for one.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Will Owen

                                  but with the wild, as a friend pointed out once: "chew carefully around the buckshot, as Aunt Jane shot it herself down on the pond"