Uses & expiry of duck fat?
October 26, 2010 9:23 AM   Subscribe

There's been a jar of duck fat in my fridge since I last had a duck.. ooh... last December. Should I throw it away, and if not, how should I use it?

I remember roast potatoes in duck fat were delicious.
posted by hannahlambda to Food & Drink (15 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Obligatory how does it smell question.

If it were in the freezer I'd say go for it, but fridge is kind of iffy.
posted by phunniemee at 9:26 AM on October 26, 2010

Heat up a teaspoon of the stuff in a frying pan. You'll know right away whether it's rancid or not. It likely is. Even then, not directly dangerous, but not good to eat. Next time around, fill in jars and freeze.
posted by Namlit at 9:31 AM on October 26, 2010

Best answer: It does go rancid and likely is. But if you're feeling experimental...

I do this duck-fat-rubbed turkey every year for Thanksgiving. Perfection.

Also, yes, duck fat roasted potatoes are to die for:

Barely cover the chopped potatoes in water and a lottttttt of salt (like, 1/4 cup), and bring to a boil. Just when it hits the boil, turn off, strain and lay onto sheet pans to dry. Drying takes about 10 or 15 mins only, but the dryer the better. Then either pan-fry (at a low, slow temp is the best- they'll be crispy on the outside and sooo soft on the inside) or roast (at a high temp) mixed in room temperature duck fat. Finish with chopped rosemary (and more salt if needed).

Mmm duck fat....
posted by Siena at 9:38 AM on October 26, 2010 [11 favorites]

Response by poster: Smells like Christmas duck - orange and cinnamon. Heated it up and tastes fine! (I hope I really would recognise rancid fat..) What's duck fat generally better than other fats for? I'm open to non-food recipes; I couldn't say what though.
posted by hannahlambda at 9:42 AM on October 26, 2010

Best answer: If you're concerned about eating it you could render the fat into tallow and make candles out of it. Or soap.
posted by anastasiav at 9:46 AM on October 26, 2010

Best answer: For future archeological fridge finds, check out
posted by mrsshotglass at 9:54 AM on October 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

If you decide not to use it, you could smear it on pinecones, roll it in birdseed, and hang them in trees for the birds this winter. Although that does mean your local chickadees would be eating the fat of their distant cousins. Maybe scooping clumps of it onto stale bread and putting it out for the omnivores (skunks & raccoons) is a better bet.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 9:56 AM on October 26, 2010

I would try cooking some kale or other greens with it. Put a little, not to much, in a deep pot and heat up, fry a little garlic, some hot peppers in it, throw in the greens, toss while wilting so all the leaves get coated. Then add a smidge of water, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. According to your taste, add cherry tomotoes, sesame seeds, a bit of soy sauce, some bacon chips or ham, or any combination thereof during the simmering.
posted by beagle at 9:57 AM on October 26, 2010

Make some Duck Liver Paté and put it on quackers! Sorry, couldn't resist.
posted by not_on_display at 10:00 AM on October 26, 2010

its always good to fry potatoes in duck fat.
try boiling potatoes to cook them then fry them in duck fat. or grate them then fry them.

Potatoes+duck fat = good.
posted by alkupe at 10:15 AM on October 26, 2010

I've been adding and storing bacon fat in the same mug with clingwrap in my refrigerator for years and I'm still alive.
posted by rhizome at 10:39 AM on October 26, 2010

It lasts a loonng time in the fridge, I still have a duck neck confit'd in a jar of duck fat that I've promised myself I'll eat before the end of the year.

Duck fat is freakin' amazing in greens, and lucky for you, kale and other cooking greens are still in season.

Really, you can use it pretty much like butter or olive oil in cooking. Lubricate your pasta, duckify your risotto, demoralize your fried eggs, whatever.
posted by desuetude at 10:45 AM on October 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

Rancid fat smells and tastes 'off.' Cooking potatoes or kale is pretty cheap, so start a batch, go outside for a bit to clear your sense of smell. If the hot duck fat smells unpleasant, there's your answer.

Duck- (or chicken-) glazed carrots: Put carrots in roasting pan with some poultry broth and poultry fat. Add salt, pepper, rosemary to taste. Roast until really well done, no, really well done. I used carrots under my turkey last Christmas instead of a rack. They were delicious and sweet. Every person who went to the kitchen to fill a serving dish, grabbed some as a bonus.

I use leftover cooking fat to start fires in the woodstove if it's not used for cooking.
posted by theora55 at 12:22 PM on October 26, 2010

My girlfriend and I rendered a bunch of fat for a dinner party with duck confit and I asked this same question of my local butcher (savenor's -- formerly Julia Child's butcher of choice) and was told that properly refrigerated, it takes a couple of years for duck fat to go rancid. We're still using it for potatoes and greens as well as a substitute for bacon in bean and soup recipes and found it was still good a year on.
posted by bl1nk at 1:53 PM on October 26, 2010

I've got a jar of duck fat that's been in my fridge for three years and it still tastes fine.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 1:00 AM on October 27, 2010

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