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Duck Confit: length of cooking time

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I have made duck confit a few times, mainly following Judy Rogers Zuni Cafe cookbook recipe as well as Buchon's cookbook and Michael Ruhlman's online post as guides (http://ruhlman.com/2010/09/how-to-mak...). What I have found confusing is that these sources are very diverse on the time---Judy says 1 1/2 - 2 hours (at 200 degrees) and Ruhlman, Emeril, Thomas Keller all fall on the side of 12 hours (same temp

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Using Judy Rogers shorter time, and using a tip from somewhere online about checking with a bamboo skewer (when it can be inserted without resistance, the duck is finished), I have made a very satisfactory product On the other hand, if cooking for a much longer time results in even more wonderful results (and doesn't result in a product that falls apart when trying to crisp it after a few months in the fridge), I would be delighted to do that. I just don't want to re-invent the wheel if there is no reason... So if anyone has already done the comparison, I would be grateful to hear the verdict... I find it very curious that there is such a disparity in the cooking times by such talented chefs...

Thanks
Ken K

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  1. I've only made duck confit using Paula Wolfert's method, which involves very gradual increase of fat temperature with the duck immersed (takes about an hour coming to 190 degrees or so) and then another 1.5-2 hours cooking.

    Results are terrific, but I do think that cooking the duck even another hour or two--to say nothing of 12 hours altogether-- would make it hard to keep the meat on the bone for subsequent serving. As it is, I have to handle the leg quarters very carefully.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Bada Bing

      "As it is, I have to handle the leg quarters very carefully."

      My experience exactly, which is why I have so much difficulty understanding the disparity in recommended cooking times...

    2. I have been making duck (among others) confit for a very long time and I can not imagine cooking it or 12 hours. I think that the longest I have gone is may be 4 hours(oh !!@&%$# my confit is still in the oven!) and it was very delicate to say the least. almost impossible to work with with out it falling apart.
      Are you sure it was the same temp with such a long cooking time?

      1 Reply
      1. re: chefj

        Yup, I am very certain ;-) See the citations below...

        Buchon, page 135. Place an oven thermometer in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 190degrees F......and cook for 10 hours.

        Michael Ruhlman (see URL in original post): ...put them in a 180 degree oven for 10 to 12 hours.

        Emeril (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/em...): ...Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.... Cover and bake for 12 to 14 hours, or until the meat pulls away from the bone.

        Judy Rodgers, Zuni Cafe Cookbook, p432: ...I try to hold the fat at 200-205 degrees F..... In general, allow between 1 1/2 - 2 hours for 12 oz duck legs,....checking every 10 minutes after the first hour...