2

votes

Is refined duck fat any good?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created December 25, 2012 at 7:01 AM

I usually cook with coconut oil or butter, but i would also like to cook with animal fat. Is duck fat any good. I have found a source on-line (Spain), but it says "refined". Any good?

Medium avatar

(10611)

on December 27, 2012
at 12:07 AM

There's another bit of truth omitted here @rob. The primary ancestral sources of omega 3 in ancestral diet was fish, not the sources listed above. Moreover, the table above only considers the two polyunsaturates, and not the unsaturated or monounsaturated contents which are predominant in all animal fats. The O3/O6 ratio is not as important as the bulk fat type. It only becomes important in seed oils, which have high PUFAs of all types.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 25, 2012
at 10:13 PM

My answer wasn't intended to explain why omega-6 fats should be avoided. As I said above, the reasons are stated cogently in Perfect Health Diet by Paul and Shou-Ching Jaminet. I highly recommend their discussion of omega-6 fat to you. They may convince you, as they did me, that omega-6 fat is toxic once intake exceeds a fairly low amount. As for coconut oil's smoke point, I fry occasionally with unrefined coconut oil. It works for me because I avoid high temperatures. Refined coconut oil has a smoke point 100 degrees F higher (450 F). I imagine that would work for just about anyone.

81348acb7b886e2b32ca915d250268f3

(1022)

on December 25, 2012
at 10:11 PM

Hey Rob, thanks for answering my question, right on about the difference between cooking fats and fats rich in Om3...my bad. I've been in the process of trying the different animal fats available for cooking, the last one I bought was duck fat, and coincidentally, my latest is beef dripping (not sure if it's the same as tallow?) which frys really well. Though I'm just sourcing mine from the supermarket, no mention of whether it's grass or grain fed...I'm guessing the later.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on December 25, 2012
at 09:46 PM

And of course you also get to eat the duck.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on December 25, 2012
at 09:45 PM

Duck fat renders easily and has a much higher smoke point than sat fats like coconut oil. I think that the advantage is due to a high degree of monounsaturation, though the rendering process itself probably helps too. http://chartsbin.com/view/1962

Medium avatar

(10611)

on December 25, 2012
at 09:37 PM

I generally like the presentations you do Rob, but I find this one obsessive and a little narrow. For one, our ancestors didn't have the ability to wonk their macros, and you'd be hard pressed to show that we ate refined oils of any kind 40,000 years ago, much less processed exotics like coconut oil and butter. Our ancestors didn't have the luxury of excluding slow-moving birds from their diets, and these would have been more common in the diet than tallow rendered from an auroch. Beyond that, your list of 4 acceptable fats does not consider the effect of cooking. Coconut is too easy to smoke.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 25, 2012
at 05:38 PM

Thanks for the kind words and the correction. I'll fix that right away. :)

2e3477a85563d4b7159814d5f4ea57d3

(435)

on December 25, 2012
at 05:34 PM

+1 for a great resource and someone else who knows duck fat is incredible delightful. In your table though, the last column is labeled as "Omega 3 / Total Fat" but the data reflect "Omega 6 / Total Fat"

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 25, 2012
at 04:50 PM

Hi Rob. I replied above in an addition to my original answer.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on December 25, 2012
at 03:04 PM

I think this is quite possibly correct. Rendering fat is a refinement of sorts.

81348acb7b886e2b32ca915d250268f3

(1022)

on December 25, 2012
at 12:17 PM

...Apart from coconut oil, thats too expensive for every day cooking.

81348acb7b886e2b32ca915d250268f3

(1022)

on December 25, 2012
at 12:16 PM

I didn't know that about the fat profile, thats interesting. What are the best fats for Om3 content?

  • Cbda678b2a6bf0537d8c4ea0ce8aa9ad

    asked by

    (4319)
  • Views
    4.5K
  • Last Activity
    1278D AGO
Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

5 Answers

6
82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 25, 2012
at 07:57 AM

Duck fat is the most delicious of all fats, but unfortunately it's high in omega-6 fatty acids so it's not as healthy as some other fats.

I don't think we can know exactly what "refined" means in this context unless it's a defined term in Spanish or EU regulations. If it's the manufacturer's translation of a Spanish regulatory term, I don't think you can find out what it means unless you ask the manufacturer who may not give you a complete or truthful answer.

Commercially available fats are very often altered chemically. Regulations in the manufacturer's country may not require the manufacturer to tell the buyer that this was done.

Instead of worrying about this commercially processed product whose exact composition you probably can't ever know, why don't you simply buy a duck, cook it, save the fat in a jar, and put the jar in the refrigerator?

Or if you want to invest an extra ten minutes of work to get the fat in purer form, cut the fat off the duck, chop it up, heat it in hot but not simmering water for an hour or two, whisk a strainer through the water a few times to remove the solids, then put the pot in the refrigerator. Next day you'll have a pure solid disk of fat at the top of the water in the pot. The advantage of rendering fat this way is that it stays at the lowest possible temperature, minimizing oxidation.


Rob asked in a comment:

I didn't know that about the fat profile, thats interesting. What are the best fats for Om3 content? ...Apart from coconut oil, thats too expensive for every day cooking.

You asked two questions here: omega-3 and cooking.

The fats that are highest in omega-3 are oils made in factories from salmon, herring, mackerel, and a few other cold-water fish. But we can't use these oils for frying. We can't fry with fats that are high in omega-3 or omega-6 because they are polyunsaturated. Fats that contain a lot of polyunsaturated fatty acids have low smoke points and oxidize easily.

The best discussion of omega-6 that I've seen is in Perfect Health Diet by Paul and Shou-Ching Jaminet. They make a convincing case that omega-6 consumption should be limited.

As for cooking, I assume you mean frying. There are only four widely available fats that can be used for frying that are low in omega-6:

  • Tallow (beef or lamb or sheep fat)
  • Butter
  • Coconut oil
  • Macadamia oil

That's it. That's the whole list. Everything else has an unnaturally high omega-6 level. If that sounds odd, consider that there are no paleo cooking fats except animal fat. Paleolithic people didn't have access to any other fats. We're not adapated to other fats because our ancestors didn't eat them until the neolithic.

Seed oils (safflower oil, corn oil, canola oil, etc.) are so high in omega-6 that they should be avoided entirely in my opinion.

Here's a table showing the omega-6 content of fats in various foods as the percent of total fat by weight. As you can see, coconut oil, macadamia oil, ruminant (beef and sheep) fat, and butter are much better than anything else.

Olive oil and lard (pork fat) are sort of okay but note that they have three or four times as much omega-6 as beef fat.

I couldn't find data for macadamia oil so I put raw macadamia nuts in the table instead. The composition of the extracted oil is probably pretty similar.

is-refined-duck-fat-any-good?

81348acb7b886e2b32ca915d250268f3

(1022)

on December 25, 2012
at 12:16 PM

I didn't know that about the fat profile, thats interesting. What are the best fats for Om3 content?

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 25, 2012
at 05:38 PM

Thanks for the kind words and the correction. I'll fix that right away. :)

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 25, 2012
at 10:13 PM

My answer wasn't intended to explain why omega-6 fats should be avoided. As I said above, the reasons are stated cogently in Perfect Health Diet by Paul and Shou-Ching Jaminet. I highly recommend their discussion of omega-6 fat to you. They may convince you, as they did me, that omega-6 fat is toxic once intake exceeds a fairly low amount. As for coconut oil's smoke point, I fry occasionally with unrefined coconut oil. It works for me because I avoid high temperatures. Refined coconut oil has a smoke point 100 degrees F higher (450 F). I imagine that would work for just about anyone.

81348acb7b886e2b32ca915d250268f3

(1022)

on December 25, 2012
at 12:17 PM

...Apart from coconut oil, thats too expensive for every day cooking.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 25, 2012
at 04:50 PM

Hi Rob. I replied above in an addition to my original answer.

2e3477a85563d4b7159814d5f4ea57d3

(435)

on December 25, 2012
at 05:34 PM

+1 for a great resource and someone else who knows duck fat is incredible delightful. In your table though, the last column is labeled as "Omega 3 / Total Fat" but the data reflect "Omega 6 / Total Fat"

Medium avatar

(10611)

on December 27, 2012
at 12:07 AM

There's another bit of truth omitted here @rob. The primary ancestral sources of omega 3 in ancestral diet was fish, not the sources listed above. Moreover, the table above only considers the two polyunsaturates, and not the unsaturated or monounsaturated contents which are predominant in all animal fats. The O3/O6 ratio is not as important as the bulk fat type. It only becomes important in seed oils, which have high PUFAs of all types.

81348acb7b886e2b32ca915d250268f3

(1022)

on December 25, 2012
at 10:11 PM

Hey Rob, thanks for answering my question, right on about the difference between cooking fats and fats rich in Om3...my bad. I've been in the process of trying the different animal fats available for cooking, the last one I bought was duck fat, and coincidentally, my latest is beef dripping (not sure if it's the same as tallow?) which frys really well. Though I'm just sourcing mine from the supermarket, no mention of whether it's grass or grain fed...I'm guessing the later.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on December 25, 2012
at 09:37 PM

I generally like the presentations you do Rob, but I find this one obsessive and a little narrow. For one, our ancestors didn't have the ability to wonk their macros, and you'd be hard pressed to show that we ate refined oils of any kind 40,000 years ago, much less processed exotics like coconut oil and butter. Our ancestors didn't have the luxury of excluding slow-moving birds from their diets, and these would have been more common in the diet than tallow rendered from an auroch. Beyond that, your list of 4 acceptable fats does not consider the effect of cooking. Coconut is too easy to smoke.

4
81348acb7b886e2b32ca915d250268f3

(1022)

on December 25, 2012
at 07:50 AM

I use 'rendered' duck fat, not sure if thats the same?? To be honest, I'm not sure where it sits on the smoke-point scale, but it really is beautiful to cook with, doesn't smell like lard, and is nice and soft at room temp so you don't have to dig it out of the tub like with ghee or dripping.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on December 25, 2012
at 09:45 PM

Duck fat renders easily and has a much higher smoke point than sat fats like coconut oil. I think that the advantage is due to a high degree of monounsaturation, though the rendering process itself probably helps too. http://chartsbin.com/view/1962

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on December 25, 2012
at 03:04 PM

I think this is quite possibly correct. Rendering fat is a refinement of sorts.

2
B90b8915b7e3d2a8ee760bb6918d53a7

on December 25, 2012
at 01:34 PM

If you bake a duck breast with the skin or duck in the oven, you will get so much fat you won't have to order any from Spain.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on December 25, 2012
at 09:46 PM

And of course you also get to eat the duck.

1
366c23d69eadce094a2b22299c58a424

(2988)

on December 25, 2012
at 02:06 PM

You can buy rendered duck fat from Wagshals in DC (and they also carry lard) -- I'm sure there are other places, try a search on Chowhound.

0
Medium avatar

(10611)

on December 27, 2012
at 12:25 AM

Duck fat is one of my favorite fats to cook with. It has a high monounsaturated fat content and a relatively high smoke point. I render my own, but I would think that the Spanish fat you describe has no more processing than that. Regarding the O6 PUFA comments above, I would've worry too much because the total PUFA content of animal fats is low, especially when compared to seed oils. If you want more O3 PUFA to improve your ratio, fry some salmon or sardines in your duck fat.

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!