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Best way to acquire, save, and use duck fat?

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    Best way to acquire, save, and use duck fat?

    I have a duck in the freezer and am collecting recipes and techniques from the talented duck doers here like Ernest, Strat50, and CandySueQ. When I finally decide on a recipe I will proceed, preferably when the weather is nicer.

    Anyway, reading many of Ernest and Strat's posts about using duck fat, I wanted to get the general consensus on how best to preserve it when I do mine

    1) How much can I expect one ~6-7lb duck to give me?

    2) How long does duck fat last before going rancid?

    3) I am planning the obvious collection method of a drip pan underneath the duck, cooked indirectly of course. How do I separate the fat from juices, or does it not matter?

    4) How do I preserve the fat? Freezer? Ice cube trays? Small plastic bowl?

    5) How do I use it once I have it? Spoon a wad of it in the skillet like you would shortening or butter for frying potatoes or eggs?

    6) Anything duck fat is certainly NOT good for?

    7) Finally, if I love the duck and fat and love using it and want to make another duck in the future, can I add new duck fat to old duck fat w/o issue?

    Hey Huskee, I've been planning to do a "render your own fat" post, but your question pre-empted my post :-)

    So, here's the gist of it:

    To me, being real geeky about food, rendering your own fat is kitchen heaven. The process is relatively generic (i.e. the same whether you're rendering beef fat or duck fat). The best way to render fat is to do it in the oven. The way you suggest, using a drip pan in your grill also works, but it is sort of less efficient. You will get a lot of meat juice, and a general mess. The easier and more efficient way is to carve off fat from a duck/cow/whatever and place it on an oven baking tray (sheet pan? what do you call those sheet metal trays in the oven, in English?). Distribute the pieces of fat evenly on the baking sheet and put it in your oven, heated to 260° F. Let it sit there for up to 1.5 hours for duck, up to 3 hours for beef. This will melt the fat, and allow the water to evaporate. Be sure to use a deep pan, as the fat will liquify, and you DO NOT want it to run over. At the end you will have liquid fat with lots of particles/pieces of fat in the sheet pan. Now take out the pan, and pour the whole mess through a sieve, keeping only the pure liquid fat, throwing away all the stuff in the sieve. Be VERY careful, hot fat is not something you want on your hands.

    There you go, pure gold!

    Now, to your questions:

    1. No idea, not very much from a single duck. Follow above procedure and see.
    2. Can't tell. Haven't had that problem, it is so good it doesn't last very long in my fridge :-) I guess the age old "smell it and taste it" procedure always works as a fallback here.
    3. See the initial paragraph in this post
    4. I usually store it in the fridge. You can freeze it, just like regular fat, and it will keep longer. I can't give you any estimates though.
    5. Just like regular butter. Don't waste it on just frying hot dogs though :-)
    6. Hmm, I guess I wouldn't do it. Just like I wouldn't mix last week's milk with the one I bought today. But perhaps other forum members are of a different opinion?

    I hope this helps, if anyone else does it differently, please share. I'm always eager to learn new/different ways of doing it.
    Last edited by Henrik; January 11, 2015, 02:12 AM.


    • Henrik
      Henrik commented
      Editing a comment
      Oh, and if you don't want to get the oven fired up for a single duck, save that carved off fat in the freezer, then when you have more duck fat render it all at once in the oven.

    I did some reading up, and it seems the general opinion is that duck fat lasts up to a year in the fridge. If you have a whole duck there is a lot of fat in the body cavity and neck skin.


      The best way I know of to obtain duck fat is from restaurant wholesalers . Most will do retail, or "will call" sales. Be prepared for a bit of sticker shock.



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