Monday, April 14, 2014

How Not to Lose Fat In 3 Easy Steps

Today's blog entry isn't so much about discovering a "new" and unusual ingredient worth adding to your pantry as it is about exploring an old one that chances are you've been throwing away for years.  Fat.

Regardless of where you buy your meat, the cuts of meat that you pick and what dishes you choose to prepare with it, you will almost certainly produce some quantity of trimmings while prepping your portions. No matter what amount of 'leftover' fat remains, I implore you, don't throw it away. 

As an alternative, keep several marked containers in your freezer so that whenever you trim fat from a cut of meat; beef, pork, chicken, duck, etc, simply pop it in its labeled container and freeze it again until you've accumulated enough to justify rendering. Of course you can simply purchase fat for this (in Seattle the side-street groceries in Chinatown by far offer the best deal on trimmings) but what you gain in convenience you lose from the thrill of collecting. Such is life.

There are plenty of 'green earth' reasons for saving the 'scraps', humanitarian ones for utilizing the 'whole beast' and economical ones for 'stretching the dollar' but add to these that rendered beef fat (tallow), pork fat (lard) and poultry fat (schmaltz) all fall in the 'healthy' crowd of oils alongside cold pressed olive, coconut and palm oils AND that cooking with these rendered fats has long been a secret weapon of top restaurants to make everything from vegetables to seared meats taste ultra delicious and you have yourself a no-brainer.

The real reason why cooking with these flavorful, rendered fats has remained the property of fine restaurants is that making them properly has been a time consuming, tedious and somewhat labor intensive process.  The traditional process is this:

1- Combine trimmed fat with a small amount of water in a heavy-bottomed pan

2- Place pan over a low flame.  If possible, diffuse the heat by stacking a second, cast iron pan below the first.  This will help prevent burning.

3- Continue cooking over low heat, periodically skimming the fat of solids.

4- When the fat has mostly melted (about 2 hours), remove any remaining pieces of skin and discard. 

5- Continue heating until most of the water has evaporated, about 4 hours

6- Remove rendered fat from the heat and let it cool

7- Use a gravy separator to remove any remaining water.

Total time: Over 6 hours!!

Or.....

There's another, MUCH simpler and surprisingly quick method which incidentally gets to use one of my top 3 'cannot live without' kitchen tools to boot, the pressure cooker! The end product is identical to that of the traditional process, involves less than 10 minutes of 'hands-on' time and takes under 2 hours to complete.

The resulting rendered fat can be stored at room temperature next to your stove for nightly cooking duties for weeks, in an airtight container in the refrigerator for months or in the freezer almost indefinitely. Fats rendered this way will add incredible flavor to the foods cooked with them and they have a very high smoke point making them ideal for searing (finishing sous vide meats), roasting (thick cut potatoes at 350 for 1 hour), sauteing (wild mushrooms and veggies) or any other cooking task that calls for butter or oil. Did I mention it's easy?









Collected Fat

Step 1










  • Almost 50% monounsaturated fat
  • May have positive impact on reducing cancer growth
  • Grassfed beef fat has a high concentration of  “conjugated linoleic acid,” or CLA, which is good for cholesterol levels.

  • Read more at http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2009/11/10/food-for-thought-lard-and-tallow-healthy-fats/#B2ADT74OXqq0uABc.99









  • Almost 50% monounsaturated fat
  • May have positive impact on reducing cancer growth
  • Grassfed beef fat has a high concentration of  “conjugated linoleic acid,” or CLA, which is good for cholesterol levels.

  • Read more at http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2009/11/10/food-for-thought-lard-and-tallow-healthy-fats/#B2ADT74OXqq0uABc.99
    Grind the fat. If you don't have access to a meat grinder, you can simply chop the fat by hand. If you don't have a knife you can puree it with a small amount of water in a blender and use the resulting slurry or hell, you can even pre-masticate it as if feeding a baby bird (enzymes in your saliva however will effect shelf life). The whole idea is to expose the maximum amount of surface area of the fat so just use whatever means is most convenient for you.

    Step 2
    Place ground (chopped, pureed, chewed and spat) fat in a pressure cooker with about 1 inch of water. To make a 'whiter' final product, add baking soda at .4% the weight of ground meat. For example, add 4 grams of baking soda for 1000 grams of ground fat.

    Pressure cook on high pressure for 90 minutes

    Step3
    Strain

    Rendered Beef Fat  - Tallow

    Bottle and enjoy









  • Almost 50% monounsaturated fat
  • May have positive impact on reducing cancer growth
  • Grassfed beef fat has a high concentration of  “conjugated linoleic acid,” or CLA, which is good for cholesterol levels.

  • Read more at http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2009/11/10/food-for-thought-lard-and-tallow-healthy-fats/#B2ADT74OXqq0uABc.99









  • Almost 50% monounsaturated fat
  • May have positive impact on reducing cancer growth
  • Grassfed beef fat has a high concentration of  “conjugated linoleic acid,” or CLA, which is good for cholesterol levels.

  • Read more at http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2009/11/10/food-for-thought-lard-and-tallow-healthy-fats/#B2ADT74OXqq0uABc.99

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