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Fat, Fat And More Fat

One of the drawbacks of duck is the immense amount of fat that commercial ducks have under their skins. Wild duck is a different story, and if any of you have the opportunity to try wild duck, you will see what I mean and you will be in for a treat. Anyway, as I mentioned earlier, I am roasting ducks for Thanksgiving and am in the process of aging them. But I trimmed much of the extra skin (and fat) away from the carcasses and was left with more than one pound of duck fat and skin. What to do? My grandmothers knew what to do with this stuff, and I am nothing if not derivative. So I cut the skin into little pieces and rendered the whole mess. Rendering is simply gently heating the fat and skin until the water evaporates, at which point, you are left with duck fat and duck skin. I poured off about a pint of fat, and now I am browning the skin in the remaining fat. In Yiddish, the crispy bits are called "gribenes," and in English, I guess "cracklins" is the best word. Whatever you want to call them, just make them and, when they are nice and crispy, drain them, sprinkle a bit of salt over them and enjoy!

For the health nuts among my many readers, duck fat is highly unsaturated (at least for an animal fat) and certainly more healthy than butter. And if you want to pan-fry potatoes, there is nothing better.

Oil/Fat Mono-
unsaturated
Poly-
unsaturated
Saturated Cholesterol Smoke point
  % % % mg/Tbsp °F
Hazelnut 78 10 7.4 0 430
Olive 74 9 14 0 375
Canola (refined) 58 36 6 0 400
Goose 57 11 28 11 375
Duck 49 13 33 11 375
Peanut 46 32 17 0 440
Lard 46 12 40 12 375
Chicken fat 45 31 20 11 375
Palm 37 10 50 0 428
Clarified butter 29 4 62 33 300
Corn 25 59 13 0 450
Soybean 24 58 15 0 495
Sunflower 20 66 11 0 440
Cottonseed 18 52 26 0 420
Safflower 12 75 9 0 510
Coconut 6 2 87 0 350

2 Responses to “Fat, Fat And More Fat”

  1. Do you cook with safflower oil?

  2. No. The smoke point of canola oil is high enough for all of my cooking needs. I might try it one day, just to see how crisp I can get my fries. But until you’ve tried potatoes fried in duck fat, you haven’t lived. And check the smoke point of duck fat!

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