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How to Gut a Duck

Updated April 17, 2017

Duck can be cooked in a variety of ways, but the best way to cook a whole duck is to roast it, or barbecue it if you do not have access to an oven. If you kill the duck yourself, you must prepare it for cooking by first chopping off its head, letting all the blood run out of its body and then plucking all of its feathers out. Once this is done the duck is ready to be gutted.

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  1. Lay the featherless duck flat on its back on top of a large chopping board. Using a sharp knife make an incision around the knee joint on both the duck's legs.

  2. Grip the duck's feet and bend the leg back so that the joint snaps. Pull hard so that the bottom half of the legs are detached from the top half. Place feet into a bowl.

  3. Remove the large part of the duck's wings by cutting them off at the first joint. Dispose of the wings once detached.

  4. Straighten out the duck's neck as much as possible, and then slice through it with a sharp knife. Make the cut as close to the base of the neck as possible. Slice through the skin on the severed neck, remove it and dispose of it. Put the severed neck into a bowl.

  5. Make an incision along the duck's body, running from the top of the body near the breast bone right down to the rear end of the animal. Be careful not to pierce any of the duck's internal organs while doing this.

  6. Pull apart the skin to the sides of the duck. Reach into the duck's body and place your hand around all of the duck's internal organs, including the oesophagus near the neck area. Attempt to pull out all the organs in one go.

  7. Put your hand inside the duck If any organs are left, and pull out the remaining organs. Place organs in a bowl. Identify the gall bladder and dispose of it, making sure it does not burst.

  8. Turn the duck over so that the back is facing up. Put your hand into the duck from the bottom, and scrape your fingers along the inside of the duck's back. When you feel the small lungs attached to the rib cage, detach them, remove them from the body and dispose of them.

  9. Rinse the gutted duck carcase thoroughly with water. Tuck the loose end of skin at the neck and rear end back into the body. The duck can now be prepared for cooking.

  10. Tip

    Make sure the knife you use for gutting a duck is sharp as this will make the process easier. The feet, lungs, liver and heart should be saved; they can be used to prepare a stock to serve with your cooked duck.


    The lungs of a duck are poisonous once they are cooked so make sure they are removed. Be careful not to burst the gall bladder inside the duck because this contains bile.

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Things You'll Need

  • Large chopping board
  • Sharp knife
  • Bowl
  • Water

About the Author

Based in the U.K., Jack Taylor has been writing environmental, sports and travel-related articles since 2006. His writing has been featured in publications such as "Drift" magazine, the "Journalist" magazine and the "Newquay Voice" newspaper. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from University College, Falmouth.

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