or Connect
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Professional Food Service › Professional Chefs › Any tips on snapping a ducks neck?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Any tips on snapping a ducks neck?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
So with my pursuit of local farmers and free range-organic meats, I was put in touch with a farmer who has quite a few Muscovy ducks. After we talked on the phone for a bit about his ducks and pigs, I aranged to buy some from him. Unfortunatly, all my Q's were about how the ducks were raised, the age, ect. At the last second I asked him what level of prosessing he does to the ducks, ...and his reply was " ****, I just bring em to you in a wire cage."
-I said " no problem, wednesday at 12" .

Now, I do lots of butchering -even plucked a few birds -but never actually killed a duck with my bare hands. I feel like it's a right of passage as a carnivore, I know it's easy -but what I'm worried about is not getting it right the first time.

Anyone out there "wring a few necks"? any techniques or tips?
-I'll be sure to let you know how it turns out, I imagine it may be comical.
On friday there could still be some ducks running around the restaurant.
-ciao, mike
nel maiale, tutto e buono!
Reply
nel maiale, tutto e buono!
Reply

Gear mentioned in this thread:

post #2 of 22
sounds like an episode of "kitchen confidential" except for them, it was rabbits. my question is: why not do it the same way you would a chicken?

tie their feet, use a knife....please tell me i don't have to explain the rest.
post #3 of 22
Here's how Chinese people do it. You grab the neck and pull it back to the feet, then slice the throat and with a knife. Make sure you get it most of the way and definitely through the windpipe. Pump it and let as much blood run out as possible. Then get a big pot of boiling water, blanch the bird, pull the feathers.
post #4 of 22
iv never done it before but if i would i would take a sharp scimeter or butcher knive and wack it off like using a machatte.
post #5 of 22
Kuan has it right, although we knew he would when it comes to something as dark as this subject;) basically you want a good hold on the legs. Then flip the neck back. The more blood discharged the better.:rolleyes::smiles:

Never! Live To Work!:::::::Work To Live!::Life Is Too Short!!
Paninicakes.com

Reply

Never! Live To Work!:::::::Work To Live!::Life Is Too Short!!
Paninicakes.com

Reply
post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 
The only complication with just slitting the the throat is, I have to meet my farmer at the ferry terminal. I'm don't have any desire to transport live ducks in my car, nor do I want them bleeding everywhere (let alone any passers-by who see some guy killing ducks in a parking lot) So it will have to be a quick snap of the neck. In the Jaques Pippin book he tells a story of buying some ducks at a farm and "in one fluid motion" snapping their necks and tossing them into his trunk -just before the screaming farmer told him they were being sold for pets. Im just going to channel that story and go for it.
-ciao
mike
nel maiale, tutto e buono!
Reply
nel maiale, tutto e buono!
Reply
post #7 of 22
Thread Starter 

Well... Three dead ducks!

As it turns out, snapping a ducks neck is a **** of a lot harder than you think. After a few failed attempts, the 1st duck was immobilized -but still alive so I opted for simply removing the head with my largest cleaver. My prep cook nearly passed out, it was like a friggin Robbie Rodrigez film -the neck stood straight up and there was a duck blood fountain about 8 feet up. Thank god for high ceilings. the other two we slit just the throat, still bloody, but manageable.
Plucking went fine, and my ducks are cleaned and brining for tomorrow's roasting.
I'm glad I did this, I'm always preaching the gospel of "know where your food comes from ..and it's not the grocery store" So it felt good to be able to take them truly from farm to table.
I'm going to an industry thanksgiving, these duck will be enjoyed greatly
-ciao
mike
nel maiale, tutto e buono!
Reply
nel maiale, tutto e buono!
Reply
post #8 of 22



Blood shooting up eight feet!!

post #9 of 22
Thread Starter 

8 feet!

yes, it was crazy. I had never seen (or imagined) anything like it. I'm guessing the duck at that point was pretty freaked out, it's heart rate was probably matching my prep cook's. I know this sounds sadistic, but when it happened I couldn't help but start laughing ...a lot. It was more of a holy s*** laugh, not a funny, ha ha, laugh. -but still a little funny
-ciao
mike
nel maiale, tutto e buono!
Reply
nel maiale, tutto e buono!
Reply
post #10 of 22

The worst job ever.

I had a job killing and plucking ducks in upstate New York.

It was for French people, so I pass this along as folklore, more than science.

But, this is what we did:

The ducks line up. I swear to God.

There is a French phrase: "Pas de pitie pour les canard boiteux." No pity for limping ducks. The ducks in the line will occaisonally start to limp...so you will take pity on them....

No pity.

We would pick up the duck and hang him from a clothesline by the feet and jam a regular boning knife up under the neck towards the back of the head. The idea was to sever the spine and not actually kill the duck. Something about the feathers and nerves and the feathers not releasing properly if you missed the mark.

The bird would bleed out a bit as it went to the first water pot. The guy there would take the bird down, plunge it in 175 degree water and hang it back up.

The next guy would plunge it into some other degree water and send it on to the plucking table.

It was awful. The ducks lining up, watching their buddies get hung up, stabbed, bled, boiled and plucked.

We still have duck as one of our most famous dishes....but I buy Maple Leaf....and leave the killing to the Canucks.

If I were to do it myself again....I refer you to Joel Salatin...either in Omnivore's Dilemma...or any of Joel's own books about animal and plant husbandry.

Meanwhile...."Pas de pitie pour les canards boiteux" applies to legions of lame-*** wannabe cooks.....
post #11 of 22
[edit to add: oops, I see you've already killed the ducks. Never mind then! But for anyone else who wants to go the chopping block way, just wanted to add the block itself should be fairly narrow, just for the duck's neck, so the head hangs over the edge where the blood and head-catching bin will be. And really have a sure confident hand, not whack the duck six times in a panic like one fellow classmate did.]

I did this at a farmstay awhile back, but with an axe.

Grab them by the feet, getting both legs in your grip, so that the body of the duck is above your thumb, then lay their heads on the butchering block. Then take aim with the axe and do it with one sure stroke.

It was a group of us culinary students who did this, and every single duck obliged by laying their heads on the block with no fuss whatsoever. These were free ranging ducks who ran around on the farm, and were well cared for too. Not factory zombie ducks.

After decapitation is when I really had to hold on tight, because there was lots of wing flapping which didn't let up for a minute or so.

I know you said you have to wring their necks because of not wanting to transport them, or wanting to decapitate them in a parking lot, but seriously, anybody around is going to know what you're up to just on account of those wings.

So you might want to do the chopping block thing anyway (have a bin flush in front of the block for the blood and heads to roll into), or at least consider transporting them live. Rental van, perhaps?
post #12 of 22
post #13 of 22
I just wanted to say that I think you should of had someone who was familiar with how to kill a duck either by snapping the neck or simply with a clever show you how it was done instead of hurting the ducks unneccessarily. I feel its a responsibility of a chef to give that much respect to an animal offering its life for consumption of others.

Thanks
post #14 of 22
I've done turkeys in the same way as SleepyDragon describes. But one thing I'd add is to tie the legs together first before the act - they travel less that way if you can't hold them. The kindest thing is a sharp axe and someone with good aim. They were very obliging, being held upside down by their feet, they virtually presented their necks above the block for chopping.

But with the size of these birds, there was no holding them! Just had to let go and stand back. Firstly, to avoid getting run into, and second, to stay a little clean . We had the benefit of being able to do this on the farm, so no dramas with onlookers!
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
Reply
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
Reply
post #15 of 22
Thread Starter 
you can have some one show you how to make a hollandaise 100 times, and your first is still going to get botched.

Yes -the first duck may have suffered about 30 seconds longer than it should of, but I had the cleaver ready ( I anticipated that it was harder then I thought) And it ended quickly. A far as respect for the animals goes, you don't even know me, if I didn't have respect for these animals I wouldn't go the extra mile too seek out organicly-farm raised ducks - I wouldn't personaly drive 200 miles to feed pigs and meet farmers that are supplying me.
I probably have more respect for animals and their well-being than most vegitarians!

So pass your judgement if you'd like, NEXT YEAR IT"S KITTENS!
-ciao
mike
p.s. thanks for the story Kuan!
nel maiale, tutto e buono!
Reply
nel maiale, tutto e buono!
Reply
post #16 of 22
The best way to kill the duck is by breaking the neck. This can be done if the bird is held properly. Hold the legs of the duck firmly by the fingers of the left hand. Extend the neck fully so there is no looseness or slack felt in the right hand. The fingers of the right hand are held around the head in such a way that the head can be bent backwards by fingers held under the bill. To kill the bird, the head is bent far back, all the looseness is taken up, and the neck is broken by a strong pull downwards. If this is done properly, you can feel the break in the neck bones.
To take off the feathers plunge the dead duck into near boiling water for three minutes. If you think too much time is taken to remove the feathers leave the feathers on the duck but to remove most of the skin with the feathers still on.
The skin is tied to the body by a lot of thin tissue called connective tissue. If the skin is pulled up, the connective tissue can be cut away. Do this until all the internal organs can be seen. Up in the neck you will be able to see the trachea or air tube. It has a lot of small rings around it. Near it is the food tube or esophagus. Follow this up into the neck and cut it off near the bill. Then follow the esophagus down to the main digestive organs. Before you do this remove the heart. Then find the end of the digestive tube near the vent, and cut through it. Then, lift out all the digestive organs onto a large piece of paper and spread them out. It will be necessary to cut the thin skins tying the loops of the intestine together, so that the intestine can be easily seen.
When the skin has been cut away from the whole of the chest, abdomen and legs, the whole front of the breast must be cut away and lifted off the bird.
Fluctuat nec mergitur
Reply
Fluctuat nec mergitur
Reply
post #17 of 22
buonaboy, you make a really great point and I am glad that you care so much. I just think the way you went about it wasn't the smartest thing to do. Oh well, i'm not here to argue by any means, but i'm always in favour of less harm to animals then needed.

You can go for the kittens if you want, doesn't matter to me.
post #18 of 22
breaking a ducks neck 101

#1 think long and hard about what you are about to do... as much as you can say "sure i could kill a duck" odds are there are a few parts of you that may pull you back at the important second

#2 grad hard, you dont want to slip when you pull,

#3 pull as hard as you can without pulling its head off... a good 30% stretch on the length of the neck is a fair indicator

#4 twist as far as you can... there should be an audible crack, dont stop at that keep twisting in one fast twist until your wrists are as twisted as you can.... odds are its dead now

#5 every now and again, the duck will still twitch... simply means you didnt get all the brain out, you left a bit of upper spinal column intact... simply cleave the top 4 inches of neck off and it should stop.



of course, if you want a blood free chicken, then simply slit its throat over a sink or basin... but i dont think many people can bring themselves to do that...


p.s. never try to break a turkey/gooses neck... odds are its tougher than you... simply slit/cleave
post #19 of 22
Kittens! I'd like an invite to that dinner.
It's Good To Be The King!
Reply
It's Good To Be The King!
Reply
post #20 of 22

Seeing it through from beginning to end

Many of my friends here in NYC have trouble understanding how a Liberal Jew such as myself wants nothing more than to go hunting for deer and wild boar. I do not think that it will be a totally pleasurable experience killing and processing these creatures, but something that I just must do. I also would love to kill a duck the way you described. I get a real kick out of ripping lobsters tails off of there bodies to kill them (as opposed to killing them in a pot of boiling water or steam resulting in over cooked tails) I also never liked the "humane" method they teach in culinary school of stabbing the lobster in the thorax with your chef knife. What? did they ask a lobster if that hurt less than simply ripping it apart.
The first time my wife laid eyes on me, I was killing lobsters. She seemed to have gotten a kick out watching me do that. I also love to clean soft shell crabs. What could be cooler than cutting off their face with a scissor and ripping their lungs out with your fingertips.

I ramble...sorry. Does anyone one know where to begin in my quest to hunt in the NY area. I have shot a pistol before, but it was a .22 at soda cans in the desert in Arizona when I was like 12 years old. Where do I begin?
post #21 of 22
LOL. I laugh because I never knew this story would be relevant here. While I am allergic to duck(please don't ask), I would still help cook it for my fellow Marines. The secret is you have to hold the ducks body in your left arm, let it relax, pet it, talk gently to it. After you feel it has calmed and the muscles aren't as tense, reach behind the head and yank hard.
post #22 of 22
I had not realized I have been hanging out with this kind of people! :eek:

For several years, even.

Mike
travelling gourmand
Reply
travelling gourmand
Reply
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Professional Chefs

Gear mentioned in this thread:

ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Professional Food Service › Professional Chefs › Any tips on snapping a ducks neck?