15 July, 2018
Duck Fat and Duck Cracklins = Ducking Awesome!
If you haven’t had potatoes fried in duck fat, I urge you to please join me and taste that delicious piece of heaven. The the crispiness that duck fat adds to potatoes is uncanny. It’s high smoke point means it fries better than olive oil and butter without smoking up. It’s borderline miraculous AND healthier than other stuff you’ll see in stores by carrying a good amount of mono-fats. The flavor that duck fat imparts is unique, savory and really works well for both sweet and savory ingredients. I particularly enjoy using it for home fries, its essential for confit and amazing at browning meat, poultry and shellfish. It surpasses butter and can be easily swapped for it in recipes. It also keeps in the fridge & freezer for a long time so make plenty with no fear of waste.
But what you can’t find a restaurant that cooks with it or a store that carries it without trying to kill your wallet? No problem! Simply make your own! Rendering duck fat at home ensures its the freshest and least expensive way to get it. In about an hour you can get your own batch and start enjoying this delicious ingredient.
This recipe is double useful – as it not only will you get duck fat, but also the addicting duck cracklings that will easily put pork rinds in second place! To make more fat, simply increase the amount of ducks you use. Here the recipe for rendering and cracklings:
- Sharp Knife
- Medium Heavy bottomed Pot
- Slotted Spoon
- 2 Mixing Bowls
- Air tight container
- One Whole Duck (buy some here)
- Zest of 1 Orange
- Zest of 1 Lemon
- Honey, 1/3 cup
- Louisiana Hot Sauce, 1/4 cup
- Fresh Thyme, leaves seperated
- Sea Salt
- Fresh Black Pepper
Cut the duck into parts, separating legs, wings and breasts. Next trim all excess skin from the duck leaving only just enough skin to cover the meat you separated and peel from the back bones using the tip of your knife to cut the membrane between skin and bone. Reserve the duck meat pieces for later use (like Duck Confit!).
Slice the skins into 1 inch strips, then cut the strips into 1 inch squares. Place the skin into the pot and fill with cold water until it is submerged by about inch of water. Boil the skin at medium-low heat for about 1 hour. Check every 15 minutes or so to ensure not too much of the skin is stuck to your pot by giving it a slow stir (remember – hot, boiling, fat will spatter so proceed with caution).
Once the water in the pot is evaporated, remove the skin (now known as cracklings) with a slotted spoon into a mixing bowl.
Let the fat cool a bit and then pour into an air tight container and keep in fridge.
Zest the orange and the lemon and reserve. Place the honey and hot sauce into the 2nd mixing bowl, stir to combine well and set aside. Next Add both zests, thyme, two pinches of sea salt and the pepper to the bowl with the crackling an stir to coat well. Serve with the Honey-Hot Sauce mixture.