Both goose and duck fat are fats that are derived from waterfowl, but do they differ at all?
What is Goose Fat?
Goose fat is simply fat that is rendered from the fat found on a goose. You may not be very familiar with it if you eat a standard American diet, but it is commonly used in Jewish recipes, such as latkes, matzah balls, chopped liver, and chicken soup. There are two kinds of goose fat: blonde and brown. The former (which is lighter in color, hence the name) is rendered in a saucepan, while the latter is rendered from a goose as it roasts in an oven. Both blonde and brown goose fat are spreadable like butter at room temperature. If refrigerated, the shelf-life of goose fat is about three months, though they may taste slightly different. Brown goose fat may have a deeper, more pronounced flavor, as the roasting allows the fat to brown. Though, both blonde and brown goose fat are highly regarded for their rich, flavorful taste, which is absorbed into whatever you cook the fat in. In addition to its flavor profile, goose fat is also nutritious, providing fat soluble vitamins, and a fairly balanced fatty acid profile. Goose fat is famous for slow roasting vegetables in.
What is Duck Fat?
Duck fat is the fat that is rendered from duck. While duck fat is used around the world, it is most commonly associated with French cuisine. Like goose fat, duck fat is highly regarded for its rich and sweet flavor, its smooth texture, and for its nutritional content. When stored in a clean, air-tight container and kept refrigerated, duck fat has a shelf-life of six months or more. Duck fat is famous for roasting potatoes in, as it crisps the outside while making them deliciously rich.
Goose Fat vs Duck Fat: Comparison
Smoke point is the temperature in which a fat or cooking oil will start to smoke and burn. It is best to use these fats at temperatures below their smoke point.
- Goose fat has a smoke point of 375°F.
- The smoke point of duck fat is also 375°F.
Goose fat has many culinary applications, but it might be mostly known for roasting. It can add a delightful richness to any roasted vegetable. Some popular dishes in which duck fat is a great choice include roasted potatoes, fried eggs, baked goods, sautéed cabbage, confit de canard, seared scallops, chicken liver pate, soups and stews, and even grilled vegetables.
Duck fat can also be used in a variety of dishes, but is again primarily used for roasting and sautéing. Some popular uses include the following: pan-frying meats and vegetables, salad dressings, roasted potatoes, french fries, baked pies and pastries, and Confit de canard.
Neither goose nor duck fat are suited for deep frying, or any very high-heat application. Besides the fact that these fats are usually far too expensive to fill a deep-fryer or pot with, they also just have too low of a smoke point and will likely burn. You can lightly pan-fry, but anything hotter will likely cause these fats to burn.
Both goose fat and duck fat are regarded for their flavor profiles, which are rich, yet aren’t too overwhelming. Goose fat is known to have a milder taste than other animal fats such as tallow and lard.
Duck fat is slightly sweet, and extremely rich. Duck fat is also somewhat more neutral than goose fat. The richness and depth that both of these fats add to food has to be tasted to fully understand.
Goose fat is a good source of vitamin E.
Duck fat is a good source of B vitamins and even fat soluble vitamin C, which might be surprising if you only associate vitamin C with citrus fruit.
Fat is composed of saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated acids. The following numbers are generally the fatty acid makeup of duck and goose fat, but these numbers will vary depending on what the animal is fed. Goose and duck fat both have fairly similar fat makeups, only with Goose fat having slightly more monounsaturated fat than duck fat.
Goose Fat vs Duck Fat: The Importance of Sourcing & Recommended Brand
The quality of life of the goose or duck that you source the fat from determines the quality of the fat.
The highest quality goose and duck fat may be found at a farm near you. Some farms may sell already rendered fat, but if not, you can always buy a duck or goose and render the fat yourself. Rendering that yourself is a fun and very informative way to get your cooking fat.
Some questions to ask the farm where you source from:
- What do the geese/ducks eat?
- Do they get to roam outside on pasture?
- Are they fed GMOs?
- Are they fed soy or given antibiotics/hormones?
Ideally, you want the animals to spend as much time outside as possible, and that they do not eat GMO or soy-based feed as this could alter the nutritional content of the fat.
If you do not have any farms near you, or are simply not interested in rendering the fat yourself, there are some other good options.
For goose fat, I recommend this one made by Fatworks.
For duck fat, I highly recommend US Wellness Meats. Their duck fat comes from small farms in the Hudson Valley, NY, and the brand has a good reputation for high quality, pastured animal foods. Fatworks and Epic also make high-quality, pastured duck fat and are good options.
For storage, I highly recommend these Souper silicone trays for airtight storage in the fridge or freezer. I’ve found these trays to come in handy many times, as you can take out small portions to defrost as you need. I also like these Weck shoulder-less glass jars that shouldn’t crack in the freezer.
Goose and duck fat are pretty similar fats in many ways, but their main difference is taste. Duck fat has a slightly sweeter taste that is unmistakable when roasting. Goose fat, particularly brown goose fat, adds a depth of flavor that is unparalleled. Both goose and duck fat are great additions to a foodie’s arsenal and can transform your cooking. I highly encourage you to try both for yourself if you have never tried them.