Problems with duck fat

Joined Jan 12, 2010
I've recently made a duck dish and saved the skin and fat to render.  The skin seems to have young feathers about a quarter of an inch long.  Is there a fast way to remove it as I was hoping to get some cracklings during the process too.
Joined Feb 27, 2008
It is much easier to remove any feathers when the bird is whole. Are they tiny? If so just render it without worry. They will crisp up with the skin and you will never notice.
Joined Feb 1, 2007
Sounds like what are called pinfeathers; very small, newly emerged feathers. While they can be pulled from a whole bird, it was more traditional to just burn them off.

In any case, just go with Bishops advice. You'll never notice them once the skin has crisped up.
Joined Oct 2, 2010
The simplest way of gathering skin and fat from a duck is to cook it. I did it the 2nd of januari with this bird. I made parralel cuts in the skin and did the same in the other direction. It leaves you with a square pattern in the skin (don't cut in the meat!). In french this is called "quadrillier". The purpose is to release as much fat as possible and to crisp the skin. I simply put it in a 200°C hot oven. Within 20 minutes I poured off a total of around a cup of duckfat (in 2 times). It was then cooked untill done. You then can take the skin off, cut in slices and fry it in a pan to get those delicious cracklings. 2010/eend2.jpg 2010/eend3.jpg

My bird was duckbreast (magret) on the bone. When cooked I took the skin off and put some caramelized orangezeste on top. The sauce is my variation on canard à l'orange. I cooked fennel slices in the orangejuice first (fennel and oranges are perfect matches!). The reduced with sugar into a syrup, added chickenstock and reduced again. There's also a fresh panfried pearhalf Doyenné fried in butter. The fennelslices were cooled after cooking and then panfried in butter. There's also 2 hollowed and refilled small potatoes, simply mashed with truffle olive oil only. 2010/eend4.jpg
Last edited:
Joined Jan 12, 2010
Alright thanks for the great advice.  I was a little worried they might have an effect on the final product of the cracklings, but I'll be more at ease now.
Joined Aug 6, 2010
As mentioned before, these feathers can be singed off with a brulee torch or over a gas stove. Most likely what you have are down feathers (think down pillow or down jacket). When we pluck ducks, we don't worry too much about getting all the down off. Just singe them off, or go ahead and render. Won't be a problem.
Joined Nov 30, 2010
The easiest way to get rid of these feathers is burning them off. However, it is convenient to do with the whole duck, but on with pieces. 
Joined Apr 3, 2010
Chris 's method is same way I do it only be very careful when you are scoring the skin criss cross do not cut into the meat part. You need a good sharp thin bladed knife and a delicate hand. Also after scoring leave in fridge overnight to dry out unwrapped. The ducks I get have no feathers. They are from Canada.
Last edited:
Top Bottom