Does Duck Meat Smell? How To Get Rid of Duck Meat Smell?

Duck meat is an excellent source of protein. It’s popular in many cultures and Asia has the largest demand for duck meat. But duck is also commonly consumed in Europe, Australia, and North America.

If you’re new to cooking duck meat, you may be wondering if duck meat smells. So, does duck meat have a distinct odor?

While duck meat has naturally gamey smell, spoiled duck meat develops a rotten odor. But, it’s not something you can’t get rid of immediately. Many tricks including massaging duck with crushed ginger will remove its putrid.

If you want to learn more about why duck meat smells and discover tops on how you can get rid of duck meat odor, keep reading.

Why Does Fresh Duck Meat Smell? Is Raw Duck Supposed to Smell?

Raw duck meat usually has a strong, gamey smell. One way to check if your duck is fresh and safe to eat is to do a quick smell test – raw duck should smell clean without any foul odors. Before cooking, you should smell the duck fat to check for any signs of spoilage.

Some ducks may have a strong odor because of the swamp water. This type of smell is nothing to worry about and should go away after you rinse your duck.

Vacuum Sealed Duck Meat Smells Bad When Opened – Is It Safe To Eat?

Much of the duck meat sold in grocery stores has been vacuum-packed. This protects the meat from contaminants and provides a longer shelf life for the product. However, opening the vacuum-sealed meat can have an unusual smell. This smell may be normal, or the meat may be spoiled. Let’s see how you can tell the difference.

Why does vacuum-sealed duck smell strange once opened?

Vacuum-packed meat is sealed in a pouch with no oxygen. The natural juices within the duck meat can develop a tangy odor during storage. This odor is released when you open the pouch. However, vacuum-packed duck meat is safe to eat if it’s been stored correctly. The strange odor is unlikely to be caused by spoilage.

How To Get Rid of Duck Meat Smell?

Here’s how you can get rid of the duck meat smell.

Choose a Good Duck

First, you shouldn’t choose young ducks because their meat is smelly. And if you choose a duck that is too old, its meat will be hard and chewy. A good duck has dense hair, a round breast, a full belly, and no foul odor. So when you’re choosing duck for cooking, choose a good one!


Gently rinse duck meat in clean, fresh water and leave it to dry.
Rinse the meat in a bowl of water and try not to splash water and meat juices as you may risk spreading bacteria. This is why you shouldn’t rinse ducks under a running water tap!

Once you’ve dried the meat with paper towels, let it sit at room temperature for up to 30 minutes. This will allow the meat to cook more evenly, and you’ll also notice that the gamey, duck meat odor has also disappeared.

Ginger & Wine

Ginger and white wine can help get rid of duck meat odor. If you rub duck meat with a mixture f crushed ginger and white wine, its odor will disappear.

Salt & Vinegar

Make a salt and vinegar mixture to rub on your duck to remove its smell. If you don’t have vinegar, you can use lemon juice for the smell results.

Ginger Fish Sauce

Ducks pair well with ginger and fish sauce. If you do not have time to cook, you can simply choose a good duck, boil it, and serve it with chopped ginger and fish sauce. This is enough to cover the gamey smell of duck meat.

Signs Duck Meat Has Gone Bad

As you know by now, a tangy smell is not unusual, and following the steps shared above can help you eliminate the duck meat smell.

However, sometimes smelly duck meat may indicate spoilage, and you shouldn’t eat this under any circumstances.

Here are some ways you can determine whether the duck meat is spoiled:


While duck meat is naturally gamy, spoiled duck meat has a foul odor. Raw duck meat should smell clean without putrid odors. A sulfur-like, tangy or fishy smell is evidence of odor-producing bacteria on spoiled duck meat.


While duck meat is darker in color, spoiled meat takes on a yellowish-greenish or grayish cast. This discoloration occurs when bacteria reproduce on the surface of the spoiled duck meat.


Raw duck meat should feel wet but not slimy. A slimy surface is a sign of bacterial growth. Sliminess occurs when bacteria feed and metabolize poultry muscle.

Featured Video: How to Prepare Duck to Get Rid of Game Smell?

Related: Why Do Ducks Smell?

Ducks are naturally gamey, but if your duck has a foul smell, it’s probably their environment, or they’ve been near something smelly in their pen.

If you keep your duck in an indoor pen, they’re likely eating, sleeping, and pooping in the same space. When ducks spend time in a smelly area, they will have a foul smell.

How To Keep Ducks From Smelling?

Since the foul smell from your ducks is most likely their pen, the best way to keep them from smelling bad is to keep their pen clean and odor-free. Preventing bad odors from lingering on your ducks will take some effort, but what pet doesn’t?

Cleaning out the pet pen regularly will help prevent your ducks from smelling. Because ducks love rolling in the dirt and droppings, removing any droppings will keep their environment clean and help prevent smells.

If you don’t have a pen for ducks or are looking to upgrade the current one, you’ll need to buy one with plenty of ventilation. Ventilation helps let the bad odors escape and keep your ducks from smelling.

In addition to poor ventilation, overcrowding can also make your ducks smelly. Letting your ducks venture outdoors and play in the sun is essential for good hygiene and health.

Another way to keep your ducks smelling fresh is to spread lime and sawdust around the pen. While this isn’t a long-term fix, it can help mask the smell until you can fully clean the coop.
Finally, giving ducks regular baths will keep them from smelling like their environment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does vacuum-packed duck meat smell?

It is normal for your vacuum-sealed meat to give off a strong odor when you first open the package. Unless the duck meat smells fishy or moldy, it’s safe to prepare and consume. also notice some

How can I keep duck meat in a refrigerator before it smells?

A thawed duck shouldn’t be kept in a refrigerator for more than two days. So make sure you’re storing duck meat at a cold temperature and smell your duck meat before cooking and eating.

Does duck meat taste better than chicken?

Unlike the chicken, duck meat has a strong, gamey flavor closer to red meat. Also, it’s fattier than chicken and has a delicious taste if cooked the right way.

How long do ducks live?

No one likes to think about their ducks passing away, but unfortunately, it’s inevitable. Most domesticated ducks can live to be 20 years old!
Remember that not all ducks will make it to 20 years, but these pets can be around for a very long time with proper care.

Do ducks have a sense of smell?

Although ducks’ olfactory systems may not be as strong as those of dogs, they can detect smells to varying degrees.

Why does duck meat smell like fish?

The high-fat content near the skin causes a fishy odor. Also, ducks that feed primarily on fish can have a fish flavor.

Final Thoughts

If you’ve purchased a package of fresh duck meat, we recommend you choose meat that has a smooth and creamy texture. Good quality duck meat is free of lesions, cuts, or bruises. Additionally, if you think the duck meat is bad, check the color,

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