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Here's the thing about duck fat: It makes everything better

Margaret Eby
December 12, 2018
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In most American homes, the poultry of choice is chicken. It's widely available and versatile and cheap. It tastes good in salad. People may roast a turkey for Thanksgiving, or pheasant or goose if they're adventurous. But it's rare to see a duck, at least in my experience, which is a shame because duck is incredibly delicious, not that hard to cook, and gives you the generous byproduct of so much precious duck fat.

In the culinary program I'm in, the scraps from the four ducks we made resulted in two quarts of duck fat, which we then used to moisten breadcrumbs and cook potatoes. Two duck breasts will easily give you a cup of fat. And if you're not into cooking the duck yourself—or you're afraid that all that fat will ruin your oven—you can also just buy duck fat on its own. It is more cost-efficient to buy a whole duck, but hey, not everyone has the time or inclination. 

And once you have the duck fat, oh boy. That's when the fun starts. What should you do with your duck fat? Use it on everything. That sounds flip, but really, if it's something you're using a fat for, which is most things in cooking, you can use duck fat. Would I add it to my cereal? Probably not. But it's worth a shot using it in any other application where you'd normally put in butter or olive oil. It's obviously not vegetarian, and it does impart a subtle flavor, so if you really don't want something tasting meaty, skip it. But you'd be surprised how many dishes it works for. 

You can cook eggs in it. You can add it to pie dough as a butter substitute. You can rub chicken with it before you roast it, for a sort of poultry inception moment. You can melt it and drizzle it on popcorn. You can cook steak in it, or root vegetables, or rub it onto kale as an opulent dressing. One person in this thread adds a cube of duck fat to their refried beans, and I can only imagine that it tastes incredible. You can put it in mashed potatoes. 

In fact, duck fat pairs particularly well with potatoes. Toss them in and roast them for a very golden, delicious batch of potatoes. If you only have a little bit, you can sautee wedges of potato in oil first, and duck fat to the pan, and finish them in the oven for very crispy oven fries. 

Duck fat also lasts a very long time in the refrigerator, so you can have some just waiting for your favorite application. If you don't think you'll use it for a month or two, you can freeze it. Just don't go throwing away that precious, precious duck fat. 

 

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