March 1, 2010

Duck Confit: A Work in Progress

Drawing inspiration from the killer duck dish I had on my visit to Cakes and Ale last week, I decided to do some duck confit myself this weekend. It's a process you need to spread out over a couple of days, but it's well worth the effort.

It all started with about 3 pounds of duck fat from Your Dekalb Famer's Market. It aint pretty, but after an hour in a large stock pot over low heat I was left with 5 cups of pure, golden, rendered duck fat.

While the duck fat was rendering, I got to work on making Thomas Keller's Green Salt Rub for the duck legs. The green salt recipe is from Keller's Bouchon cookbook. Sea salt is ground in a coffee grinder along with bay leaf, parsley, thyme, and black peppercorns. It's an easy process that leaves you with some really tasty salt that's also quite nice on eggs, burgers, or just about anything, really.

 I then rubbed the green salt liberally over six duck legs before placing the legs in the fridge to marinate for 20 hours.

On day two, I melted my rendered fat, cleaned the marinade off the legs, and submerged the legs in the liquified duck fat. I then covered the pot and placed in a 190 degree oven for 10 hours until the meat was meltingly tender, but not falling off the bone. It's important to keep the legs intact at this point.

After 10 hours in the oven, I removed the pot and let it cool slightly before straining the fat and pouring it back over the legs. It then cooled and solidified until it looked like it does in the last picture to the left. The finished confit can now rest in the fridge for up to two weeks, though I doubt mine will last that long!

Watch for a recipe using the confit legs in the next few days.


  1. Wow, I definitely admire your effort! There is no way you could get me to cook a dish that requires three pounds of fat and multiple days, but hey, I'd for sure eat it.

  2. I'm droolin' and I don't even eat duck.

  3. Very nice work. Where did you get 2 weeks from? My pork belly confit recipe said it's good for 1 week, but a search on the internet has some people saying pork belly confit is OK for months. Ruhlman says the same thing about duck confit.

    Any idea why there are some many varying times?

  4. Thanks, Nic. It's really easy to do, just takes time. Don't be scared of the three pounds of fat! Thanks for the visit.

    Kevin-You don't eat duck? That does not compute. Go to Cakes and Ale and try the duck they have on the menu now, you'll eat duck! Cheers, bro!

  5. Jimmy
    According to Keller, unless you complete strain the meat juices from the fat, it will only keep for two weeks before beginning to turn. I'm no confit expert, but that's his take. I didn't take the time to totally separate the fat out...However, doesn't matter as I'm digging in. Those legs won't see a week!

  6. Are they selling rendered duck fat at YDFM or just duck fat... to render on your own?

    Nice work BTW.

  7. Thanks, Matt.
    They sell the actual fat, you have to render it yourself.
    $2.00 per pound, which is cheap!
    Just under three pounds left me with about 5 cups of rendered fat. Could have used a little more, but it worked out fine.
    Simmer on lowest heat on stove top for an hour than toss out (or use-they're tasty) the little crispy fat nuggets that remain. Cheers.

  8. That looks awesome. I'm not generally a fan of confit--I prefer duck legs roasted, smoked, or braised--but the green salt rub has me interested.

  9. Well done Dude. I've wanted to make duck confit for the longest time, but I've never actually gotten my $%*t together enough to get it done. My understanding is that the longer the confit sits, the deeper the flavors become. I'm interested to see if you notice a difference. Assuming they last that long.

  10. Hate to ask, given all the effort, but is there someone in Decatur/Atlanta to buy duck confit? I am looking to make cassoulet. Thanks!

  11. Anon-
    Thanks for the visit and question. I don't have a great answer. I know you can get the fat, as I did, in bulk at Dekalb Farmer's Market and make your own confit.It's fun!

    As far as pre-made could ask at Star Provisions on the westside. They may sell confit, or know someone that does. I'll ask around, too.

  12. Thanks very much (former anon). I go to the Dekalb FM each week, so maybe I will get ambitious at some point.

  13. Thanks for the excellent post. Keller has a different recipe in Ad Hoc, but this one sounds better. I'm going to try it this weekend. Or I'll try it as soon as I can figure out where to get a hold of that much duck fat. Not sure where you'd find that in Santa Cruz CA.