Arguably, duck fat is the fat of fats. It is treasured for its dense savory flavor and ability to tolerate high heat. It is used to preserve meats for months, and is considered by some to be a healthier option to other animal fats. This is, in part, because it contains higher levels of unsaturated fats and oleic acid, an omega 9 fatty acid. – For daily fat use, you are probably still better off with olive oil. 🙂 Besides, using duck fat on a regular basis will become quite costly! But now and then, incorporating this fat is such an indulgent treat! It takes french fries to a new level and is invaluable if you are craving a duck confit salad. 🙂
If you want to save a little money, it is almost stupid easy to make your own. You just need a sharp knife, sauce pot, and.. oh… a duck.
You can cut up a duck in the same way that you cut up a chicken. Remove the thighs and breast pieces and refrigerate them. Leave fat on the breast pieces and thighs (You will want that fat when you prepare them later). Remove all excess fat, trimming all pieces and removing all fat from the carcass. You can save the carcass, with wings attached, or separate, and use it for making duck broth.
Once you have all the fat you wish to render collected, cut it into small pieces. The smaller the pieces, the faster the fat renders.
The pictured fat below is cut into appropriate size pieces for making cracklings later.
Add duck fat and a little water into a sauce pot and cook on low-medium heat to render out the fat. Leave the pot uncovered. The water will evaporate as the fat renders out. Keep the water level low, adding small amounts of water as needed. Depending upon how much fat you have, this process may take an hour or two.
You do not want to cook the fat at this point, so keep an eye on it. After an hour or two of slow rendering, it the liquid level is reduced and the there is very little steam rising from the pot, you can strain the fat from the skin. Reserve the skin separately. Freeze it for later use. Or fry it to make crispy cracklings.
Once strained, you have a beautiful creamy white fat which can be used many ways. Refrigerate or freeze it to use at will.
This pot of delicious duck fat was used to make confit. After the legs are slow cooked in the duck fat, they can be covered in the fat and refrigerated. The meat will stay good for months!
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