How & Why Do I Use a Duck Carcass?

Originally, I wrote this just after the holidays, when folks were wondering how they could use left-over bird or fowl carcasses. This particular post still gets lots of hits, even in the heat of summer.

While thinking about this, I remembered another way to cook — with even more benefit to diners!   I added it to the end of this article!  

Cooking a Poultry Carcass

For Chicken, Hen, Duck, Goose, Turkey - Domestic or Wild!





What’s So Great About a Fowl Carcass?

There are three basic reasons I would boil a poultry carcass:

1) The comparison between a quart of  chicken/fowl stock versus a quart of water and bouillon versus purchased chicken/fowl stock is non-existent. They aren’t even in the same zip code! Stock that has been simmered has so much more flavor and nutrients!

2) In these tough economic times, it doesn’t make sense to toss the carcass without deriving its goodness for your table.

3) Scientists have proved that the “old wive’s tale” of giving chicken soup to an invalid is NOT an old wive’s tale.

There is scientific proof that the nutrients leached from the carcass during cooking are needed by the body to help it recover – from whatever ails them! The nutrients derived in this way are easier for the elderly to assimilate into their bodies.

All This Sounds Like a Lot of Trouble

Put the fowl carcass into a slow cooker (you may need to snap the bones, to fit it into the cooker), add 3 or 4 cups water, add some onion, 1 tsp. sea salt, garlic (Got celery and carrots? Add them), and turn it on (low or high)  as you go to bed.

How much trouble is that? In the morning, take the liner out of the cooker, let it cool and put it into the refrigerator (with the lid on) just before you leave.

In the evening, you can skim off the fat (or not, your choice) and pour the juice (strain out the veggies and carcass – discard them) into containers and freeze. If there are tidbits of the meat left from the bones, I add it to the broth.

Now What?

Soup, stew, gravy — whatever you make from this stock will be 100% more valuable to your body than the purchased, the bullion or the plain water.

I can think of dozens of uses for this stock. Save it for colds season and make soup. Use it as a base for black bean soup (or any other dried beans/legumes).

Use it as the base for a chicken stew (toss into a slow cooker:  onions, carrots, potatoes, garlic, celery, leftover chicken, whatever you have). Let it cook for 6 to 8 hours, adjust seasonings, enjoy!


Our forefathers and fore mothers never wasted anything. Creating their own fish or chicken or beef stock was one of the ways they stayed healthy.

BTW, I always add a teaspoon of sea salt to any stock I’m creating from a carcass. Salt helps leach more nutrients out of the bones.

Do I use quail or doves for this? No, they are too small.

~*~   ~*~   ~*~

Cooking a Carcass #2

Not everyone has a slow cooker/crock pot. If you have a large cast iron pot (with lid), such as a “dutch oven,” this is a great way to use it.

Use the same recipe as above, except cover the carcass with water.  Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for 1 or 2 hours.  Then use the broth as indicated above.

During cooking, liquids slowly leach iron from the cast iron into the broth!   This is a great way to add iron to the diet.  In fact, acidic foods leach iron faster (think: tomatoes, vinegar, etc.).

Iron is critical to the manufacture of red blood cells. Up to 30% of Americans do not get enough iron.  This is a safe, cheap way to add to your family’s health!


This blog is a companion to my website:

Recipes: Deer Chili – Slow Cooker or Not


Chili Tonite & Hot Tamale!

Chili Tonite & Hot Tamale!


It must be obvious to you by now that I gravitate towards chili recipes with colorful names.

Today is no exception; Buzzard’s Breath Chili is a fun name for a great bowl of red!

This recipe is unique for another reason. If you worry about the spices you add to chili, this one explains some spice uses – and this info carries over to other cooking. Enjoy!

Buzzard’s Breath Chili

8 lbs. venison or 6 lbs. venison and 2 lbs. chili grind pork

3 small cans tomato sauce (8 ounces each)

2 large onions, chopped

5 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped

2 jalapeno peppers

Chili powder – about twice the label amount (I use between 1 & 2 Tbsp.)

Cumin – 2 tsp.

Oregano – 1/2 tsp.

Salt – to taste

Paprika – 1 to 2 tsp.

Cayenne Pepper – to taste

Masa harina- as needed

Beef stock – 1 quart

Chop venison into 3/8″ cubes, removing all gristle/visible fat. Add chili grind pork. Brown in an iron skillet – about 2 lbs. at a time, until gray in color.

Place all seared meat into a large cast iron chili pot, adding tomato sauce and equal amounts of water.  Add chopped onion, garlic, jalapeno peppers (wrapped in cheese cloth), and chili powder.

Simmer 20 minutes, then add ground cumin, oregano, salt and cayenne pepper to taste. As moisture is required, add homemade beef stock until the quart is used, then add water.

Simmer covered until meat is tender (approximately two hours), stirring occasionally, then add masa harina, to achieve desired thickness.

If needed, add paprika for color.  Cook 10 more minutes, correct seasoning to taste, discard jalapenos and serve. Small amount of cumin enhances aroma when added in the last 10 minutes. Makes 12 servings.


  • Make chili as hot as preferred by varying cayenne pepper.
  • Too much oregano will deaden chili, use sparingly.
  • A thick, rich sauce is the secret of good chili; a good homemade beef stock guarantees the sauce.
  • Any personal additions to chili, such as beans, cheese, green onions, corn chips or crackers should be served separately, allowing each person his choice.
  • Any good chili powder should make this chili, but the best are those brands using California or New Mexico chilies.

Addendum: To make the original Buzzard’s Breath Chili, the creator advocates the addition of dried red ants to enhance the flavor, plus cigar ashes to achieve the proper thickness (yep, you read correctly – ants and cigar ashes. I just copy; I don’t create).

He also said that his chili should be prepared over an open cow-chip fire; however, local ordinances and EPA regulations often prohibit this.

What the creator didn’t mention: Add ~ 1/3 masa harina to ~ 1/2 cup hot water. Stir until it starts to expand, add to chili. Stir into chili. If you need more thickening, do it again.

Slow Cooker Directions: Sear meat and add to large cooker, adding tomato sauce and equal amounts of water.  Add chopped onion, garlic, jalapeno peppers (wrapped in cheese cloth).

Cook ~ 6 to 8 hours. One-half hour before finished, add all remaining spices to pot. Add masa harina, as specified above. Let simmer for half hour and remove jalapeno peppers (in cheese cloth) and serve.

(Copied from the Houston Chronicle, at least 15 years ago.)


This blog is a companion to my website: