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May 8, 2014 01:27 PM


I see many posts here where one of the objectives is to "render the fat" during duck cooking. My personal preference is to have a nice fat layer and crispy skin in the final product. There's almost nothing that gruntles me more than biting through a nice fat layer. Am I in the minority? Is it a US thing?

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  1. I don't think that making some slashes through the skin and fat, but not the flesh, takes away too much fat. It's just that ducks are really fatty.

    1. I do like a nice fat layer on my duck, but wouldn't mind a bit of rendering to make it less opaque and a nice crispy skin. I guess I like it in between the two.

      1. I prefer my duck fat to be rendered so that it may live to cook another day. It also bathes the flesh on its way to the pan, another good thing. Mrs. O and I used to consume at least one duck a year – our one celebration of Christmas – but she no longer consumes her fellow critters. Much more thinking about it, though, and I'm likely to go get one and have it all myself!

        11 Replies
        1. re: Will Owen

          I may have mentioned on another post - I had a great hole in the wall chinese place that served duck flat rice noodle soup. Had it once a week at a minimum. Replaced with a hipster taco bar. Funny, my cholesterol was 260 or so, but there was so much good cholesterol, my ratio put me in the category of well below risk. French Paradox?

          Do you reserve the fat that you render? I've done that with goose fat to fry potatoes. Duck is so damn expensive right now, I don't see cooking at home anytime soon.

          1. re: rudeboy

            I haven't checked lately but I've bought halal ducks at Costco and don't remember the cost being prohibitive.

            1. re: c oliver

              Frozen ducks at 99 Ranch are pretty cheap. My brother-in-law bought one of the older "stewing" ducks and says it roasted just fine. The store also has trays of duck leg quarters, which I've used successfully for confit.

              I never used to save the fat, not knowing any better, but when Pa-in-law cooked his last Christmas goose we had to do most of the work, and he gladly gave me the fat – almost two quarts! Since then I've added duck fat and some butcher's lard to the confit-ing stash, and bought a couple of pounds of good rendered duck fat too.

              1. re: Will Owen

                Two quarts of duck fat -- that should last quite a long time.
                It also makes me wonder how big the duck was -- do you remember what it weighed?

                1. re: Tripeler

                  If you spread it on toast almost daily, it really doesn't last that long.

                  1. re: rudeboy

                    It will likely last til you die :)

                    1. re: c oliver

                      I guess I'm a walking corpse already!

                      1. re: rudeboy

                        You've heard, for sure, about some diets...You won't live longer, it's just going to feel longer :)

                  2. re: Tripeler

                    "It also makes me wonder how big the duck was"

                    Didn't he say it was the Christmas goose? They are much bigger (and in my limited experience of cooking them fattier).

                    1. re: Tripeler

                      Oh, sorry - didn't answer your question. About 4 pounds, but I can only get them frozen, so you are paying for ice.

                      1. re: Tripeler

                        Tripeler – I've got too damn many posts out about fat and answered the wrong one. This is a correction: yes, it was goose, and I remember that we needed two containers to carry it home, though one was not filled clear up. I still have that five years or so later, though it is mingled with duck fat and butcher's lard. I did need some pure duck fat last year, because I was making cassoulet and some of the guests were Jewish, so I needed a kosher-friendly version. I bought two pounds for $25, because it keeps and you never know when it'll come in handy!

              2. I like to render some of the fat from the duck. Firstly, excessive fat can add too much moisture to the dish, and prevent the skin from becoming crispy. Secondly, I like vegetables roasted with duck fat.