10 Pounds of Chicken Skin

Ten pounds of chicken skin, rendered in approximately one-pound batches, was carried out—here and there—over one week and yielded close to 10 cups of chicken fat, or schmaltz. I poured the fat into half-pint jars and stored them in the freezer, where it should keep for one year.

Last year I used the stove top to render chicken fat. I tried the oven this year since it requires less supervision.  At a gentle 250˚, the fat on the skins took a couple hours to slowly melt down. Borrowing Chelsey’s dutch oven helped immensely with efficiency, since I could have two pots in the oven—a realization I came to when I was more than halfway through.

yellow scalechickens skins on the scale
chicken fat
rendered chicken fat
chicken cracklins
After all the fat is rendered and drained, you are left with crispy skin, known as cracklins. I recommend eating them fresh and sprinkled with coarse salt.

Tonight I’m using chicken fat to make mushroom dumplings [pdf]. It would be handy to know if chicken fat can be substituted in recipes that call for duck fat. Anybody know?

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3 thoughts on “10 Pounds of Chicken Skin

  1. I know you posted this forever ago, so I’m hoping you actually see this question, but how in the world did you come up w/ that much chicken skin? I really want to get into rendering my own fats, but coming up w/ the “material” is a bit of a challenge. Help?

    • I was certainly surprised by the quantity of chicken skins that arrived in my Oklahoma Food Co-op order! It was listed as a random weight item, so I wasn’t sure exactly how much I would get. Downing Family Farm knew that I am enthusiastic fat renderer, so they probably didn’t hesitate to send me such a large package.
      Unfortunately DFF isn’t a co-op producer anymore, so I’m not sure where I’ll get my chicken skins in the future. (I’m still not out of chicken fat, so I haven’t had to worry about it yet.) I reckon I will likely make a special order with one of the current co-op chicken farmers.
      If you are a food co-op member, perhaps you could do the same. Alternatively, you might consider contacting the DARP chicken processing plant in your neck o’ the woods.
      Please let me know how it goes!

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