How to Clean & Pluck a Fresh Duck

We all know what a joy it can be to prepare a fresh duck after a hunt or a trip to obtain one from a farm. It's important to clean and pluck your duck properly before you cook it. Plucking a duck is a relatively simply process, but it may seem complicated the first time you try it.

Practice makes perfect, though, and after you've done it once it is easy to streamline the process.

  1. Put on work gloves and position the duck on a hard surface. Grab the first wing as far away from the the body as possible while retaining a solid grip. Cut the wing off with shears as close to the body of the duck as possible. Repeat for the other wing. Now cut off the duck's feet as close to the knee as possible.

  2. Grab the duck with one hand and use your other hand to pull off the duck's feathers in small clumps. Small amounts of feathers should be easy to remove, but if you try to remove too much at once the process may become more difficult. You do not need to remove all of the duck's feathers; the paraffin will remove the rest. Be sure to remove the large tail feathers.

  3. Fill one bucket with cold water and put aside. Heat enough water in the other bucket to submerge the duck completely. Add the paraffin to the hot water. The water needs to be hot enough to melt the paraffin completely, but do not bring to a boil.

  4. Remove the paraffin bucket from the stove. Grasp the duck's head and dunk the duck a number of times in the paraffin until the duck is completely covered with wax. Place the duck in the bucket of cold water and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes. The paraffin will harden in this time. Remove the duck from the cold water and peel off the paraffin. This will remove the rest of the down and feathers. You can put the hardened paraffin directly back into the bucket of melted paraffin for use with additional ducks.

  5. Cut off the head and the tail with the knife and remove the entrails. The duck is now oven ready.