Looking for duck legs and fat
Hello 'Hounds -
I've just moved here to Chicago, and despite the warm weather I have a hankering to make some cassoulet. Where might I find duck legs and fat and sub-Treasure Island prices? I've searched the board, and I was excited to try Columbus Meat Market. I called ahead, was told they had duck, and I arrive... and they have no idea what I was talking about. I don't know what happened, but no ducks legs or fat to be found there. I dig the Randolph Street area, so are there any other shops around there that might have what I'm looking for? Perhaps also uncured pork belly as well?
Thanks for your help.
First, welcome to Chicago.
Joseph Baumgartner's, 935 West Randolph Street, is a mainly wholesale meat distributor that's open to the public. There is no store front but you can stop by the office or call in your order. They have excellent quality and ,if they don't have something on hand, they can order it for you. They are friendly and helpful.
Their prices are very reasonable (especially compared to Treasure Island or Fox and Obel) but sometimes the minimum quantity for certain items can be problematic for the home cook. You can buy cheap duck fat, yes, but you may need to buy 4 pounds at a time. You can definitely buy individual ducks though.
BTW, duck fat lasts forever and freezes well. Good luck!
Frozen duck legs are available at Paulina Meats, and from what I recall are not too exorbitant by retail standards (roughly $6-7 for two legs, depending on weight.....more for confit). I've only had the confit but it was very good. They also have small tubs of fat but I remember thinking they were pretty pricey, (although I have never purchased duck fat so I don't really know what a good price would be). I do imagine you would be able to render a good amount of fat from the legs though.
I love Columbus Meats, they are my go to place for steak (unless I want to splurge at Paulina or Gepperth's), but I am quite certain they do not carry duck or pork belly. Definitely try their steaks though, typically $7-8/lb. for choice or better strips, t-bone and ribeye. I'm not blown away every single time, but its always at least decent and sometimes as good as choice from Paulina for less than half the price. Everything is cut to your specs too, which I like.
Nearby Peoria Packing carries pork belly but you have to buy the whole thing, which is much too much for my purposes. I have sadly yet to find anywhere that will sell you just 2 or 3 lbs. of belly. Peoria is cheap cheap though for pork, chicken, sausage etc., as well as some beef (ground chuck, short ribs, anything you want to slow cook), and on occasion will have decent ribeyes for 2.99/lb. The steaks are very hit or miss though.