Duck Breast Cooked Medium Rare – Delicious But Risky!

There is a lot of conflicting information on the internet about whether or not it is safe to eat duck breast cooked rare or medium rare. In this article we intend to give you the honest facts of the matter and let you be the judge as to whether you want to eat it cooked this way or not.

So is it safe to eat duck breast cooked Medium Rare? No. The USDA recommends that all poultry should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165oF/75oC to ensure any dangerous bacteria has been eliminated. Duck reaching this temperature would be considered medium to well done. Cooking the duck to a lower internal temperature than recommended, could result in food poisoning.

So Why Do Restaurants Suggest Medium Rare Duck?

The USDA recommends duck to be cooked to a minimal internal temperature of 1650F/75oC to ensure all dangerous bacteria within the meat are destroyed. Cooking the duck to this safe temperature would result in the meat being cooked more medium to well.

Chef’s and restaurants obviously make their living, and reputation, by providing delicious food. There is no denying that a duck breast served medium rare is likely to be more moist and tender than a well cooked one. However, that does not necessarily mean it is safe to eat.

Although the risks may be minimal, they are there nonetheless, but most restaurants are willing to accept this risk to give the majority of its customers a delicious meal. It’s just unlucky if you happen to be the poor soul that gets the infected portion.

Knowing that there is a degree of risk involved, some restaurants have started to add disclaimers to the menu advising customers that meat cooked rare/medium rare may carry some risk of illness. This way they are passing the risk back onto the diner to decide if they want to chance it.

Eating Medium Rare Cooked Duck Can Be Risky!

Will Duck be Dry if Cooked to 165oC?

No, not if it is cooked correctly.

Although you are more likely to have a deliciously moist duck breast when it is cooked medium rare, that does not mean that cooking it to a safe temperature will result in dry and unpalatable meat.

To ensure that your duck remains moist and tender, even when cooking to a safe temperature, you should use a digital internal meat thermometer to know exactly when to stop cooking the meat.

Meat will continue to cook even after it is removed from the heat, so you want to allow for this when taking the internal temperature.

Digital thermometers can be purchased for under $20 and is a kitchen ‘must have’ to ensure all food is cooked to a safe temperature, without overcooking!

This thermometer (affiliate link) is a best seller on Amazon.

digital meat probe prevents dry chicken

How to Ensure Moist and Tender Duck Breast That Is Safe To Eat

As mentioned earlier, the best way to ensure that you don’t overcook your duck breast is to have an instant read thermometer.

By monitoring the temperature, you can remove the meat from the heat at just the right time to ensure that it is still moist and tender, but cooked well enough to kill any dangerous bacteria that may have been present in the meat.

If you remove the meat from the heat when the internal temperature reaches 155oF, and tent the meat loosely with foil, the meat will continue cooking as it rests.

Allowing the meat to rest like this before carving, will not only allow the natural juices to settle back within the flesh, keeping it moist, but it will also allow it to continue cooking to reach that safe 165oF temperature.

Allowing about 10 minutes for the duck breast to fully rest before carving should be sufficient to ensure succulent moist tender results, WITHOUT the risks of getting sick!

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