First domesticated by the Chinese over 4,000 years ago, followed closely by the Egyptians, duck is an amazing and flavorful alternative to both poultry and red meat. Despite the USDA classifying duck as a “white meat,” like chicken and turkey, duck is best served at a medium-rare to medium doneness.
While there are several breeds of ducks which people have domesticated for food, we will focus on three distinct breeds: Pekin, Moulard, and Barbarie (aka Orvia or Muscovy).
Pekin ducks are one of the most popular ducks in the United States. A multi-purpose breed, Pekin Ducks are raised for both its meat and eggs. Domesticated for more than 2,000 years, it is widely believed to have originated in Southeast Asia and introduced to the Americas around 1872. These white birds gain weight rapidly and are ready to be butchered at just six weeks old.
Moulard ducks are a breed created by crossing a Pekin with a Muscovy duck. A sought-after culinary ingredient, Moulard ducks are known for their rich, dark meat as well as their fatty livers for foie gras. While the origin of the breed is not fully known, it is believed to originate in France. Sometimes referred to as the “ribeye of the sky,” Moulard ducks have some of the meatiest breasts of any breed.
Barbarie ducks are also known as Orvia or Muscovy. Originating in the warm weather of South America, this tropical duck can also adapt well to cold weather. Unlike the Moulard and Pekin, Barbarie duck is thin-skinned and low in fat. Appearing to be more expensive than other breeds, the Barbarie has a higher meat to bone ratio, meaning you are getting more for your money. Nutritionally, this delicious bird has less fat and calories than turkey.
Environmental Impact of Duck:
- 3x Less Water Consumption than Beef
- 9x Less Greenhouse Gas Emissions than Beef
Fun Facts About Ducks
- Some duck species can dive up to 240 feet below the water and others can fly as high as 21,000 feet.
- A group of ducks is known as a “paddling” or “raft.”
- During a blizzard in 1995, so many ducks decided to migrate it jammed radar and grounded flights.
- Ducks have waterproof feathers due to an intricate pattern as well as a wax-like coating.