February 28, 2012

Fun With Duck Fat

If you follow my blog at all, you'll know I'm a fan of duck. It's one of my favorite proteins to work with, but there's also the ancillary benefit of working with duck: duck fat. Below is a picture of the 4 pounds of duck fat I purchased at Your Dekalb Farmers' Market. At $2.99 per pound, it's a relative bargain for the amount of rendered fat one gets.
Granted, raw duck fat is not pretty, but it sure renders into some tasty goodness. It's actually a healthy substitute for other oils, such as butter or vegetable oil. Not sure I'm buying that, but if that makes you feel better...
I rendered the duck fat over low heat for 45 minutes. The smell of rendering duck fat is a very earthy, feral smell, it may take a while to grow on you. It's a smell that drives my black Lab crazy; she waits by the stove for the little nuggets of crisped fat and skin that remain once the rendered fat is strained. 
The four pounds of fat rendered down to about 4 cups of the liquid seen above. This fat, which you can use as any other cooking oil, keeps in the fridge for weeks and in the freezer for months.
I used the majority of this batch of duck fat to confit some whole chicken legs. Basically, you cover the legs in the duck fat and slowly poach in the oven for an hour or so at 180 degrees. Once cooked, let the legs cool in the fat, which solidifies around the chicken (see below). 
The legs, sealed in duck fat, will be fine in the fridge for a couple of weeks. When you are ready for some tasty chicken, you pry a leg out, crisp it up on your stove top for tasty pan-fried chicken. More on this later...


  1. i did not know you could have used duck fat to do such things, cool

  2. i like the idea of the duck fat oil, is this healthy to use?

  3. It's especially healthy if you are trying to lose thigh fat!