Render Poultry Scraps And Gain Excellent Cooking Fat

We all know to save bird bones to make stock, but the excess skin and fat you find yourself with after butchering a piece of poultry is just as valuable. With very little effort on your part, you can render out some of the tastiest cooking fat around.

Photo by 一人寿司-Hitori Sushi.

It may take a few chickens to save up enough scraps for rendering, so just keep a bag in the freezer until you have half a kilo or so. If you're butchering a goose, you'll have enough right off the bat. There are a few different ways you can go about this, and all are dead easy:

  • On the stove: Cut the fat and skin scraps into uniform-ish pieces and throw them in a big, non-reactive pot. Cook over very low heat, stirring every five minutes or so, for about 45 minutes. Once you have a bunch of liquid fat and crispy cracklings, strain the into a jar, and store in the fridge. Eat the cracklings.
  • In a slow cooker: Place the pieces of chopped fat and skin in your favourite slow cooking device and cook on low until the fat is liquified and golden in colour, stirring every hour or so (this may take three hours or it may take six, depending on your cooker). Strain into jars and store in the fridge.
  • In a sous-vide setup: I did this recently with the scraps of a goose, resulting in around 500g of glorious goose grease. Add all your scraps to a sous-vide bag, seal it, and submerge the bag in a 85C water for a couple of hours, until the bag is full of liquid fat and the skin looks like it's given up all it can. You won't get any cracklings this way, but you also won't have to stir or watch anything. Depending on what was in the scrap bag, you may have to use a fat separator before straining your reward into a jar.

Once you have your delicious goose grease, duck fat or schmaltz, use it for everything, particularly roasted vegetables. If there is a vegetable more divine than a goose fat-roasted potato, I have yet to encounter it.

This is part of Eating Trash With Claire, a Lifehacker series where Claire Lower convinces you to transform your kitchen scraps into something edible and delicious.


Comments

    Eastern European Jews have been using rendered chicken fat for hundreds of years. It's called schmaltz ! BTW, the cracklings are called gribenis in Yiddish.

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