Dustin Has Something Else To Say About Fat…

Joes Barbell
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But this time its his own fat.  
beef fat rendering in a heavy ass pot

Finished beef tall after cooling
In part one of my posting debut I discussed fats; why and how to use them, where to get them, and even how to get a deal here and there on a great one.  Today I thought it would be cool to talk about animal fats.  There are all kinds to choose from.  Big time chef’s do their dirty work with duck fat.  If I could afford the stuff or find it regularly I’d confit everthing and anything from cauliflower to cake (gluten free of course).   This isn’t a grim story about my issues with delicious duck fat.  It’s a story about good animal fats that you can find and use regularly.   There is lard (pork fat), tallow (beef fat) and schmaltz (chicken fat).   These products can be used and made in the home at a very low cost.  See, there is a happy ending in sight.   The following is a how to or what I do to obtain and make quality cooking agents from animal fats.    
1.      Obtain a source of grass-fed/pasture raised fat of either beef, pork, chicken, duck, etc.  Beef and Pork will probably be the easiest. 
2.      Contact your local butcher whom you know deals in Grass-fed meat.  You can try the mega marts but they most likely won’t have grass-fed product.  Whole Foods or other high end markets may be able to help you.  It can’t hurt to ask.  Just be sure to ask with a smile and don’t be afraid to ask more than once or more than one person.  I use Aala Meat Market.  If you live in Hawaii this is helpful.  If you don’t get to goggling.   
Aala Meat Market 808-832-6650
751 Waiakamilo Rd  Mon-Fri 8-3
3.      Freeze the fat or at least get it cold.  You want the fat between fridge cold and frozen.  THIS STEP IS CRITICAL TO YOUR SUCCESS or it will get all gookie and hard to handle when you attempt step four.         
4.      Rough chop the fat into 1’’-3’’ cubes.  Hint… if your food processor is strong and has sharp blades you can keep the fat in bigger chunks.  If you processor is beat or you’re not sure error on the side of smaller. 
5.      Warm a large heavy stainless or cast iron pot under low heat.  If you have an enamel dutch oven that will work great too.  Big and heavy is good.      
6.      While you’re large pot is warming throw 3 to 4 fat cubes into your food processor and shred.  If it’s the right temperature (cold) it should turn into white fluff or snow.  If the fat is too cold it won’t break down, too warm it will go gelatinous and gunk up your processor and cause it to seize.  This may take practice.  At first error on the side of colder.  Who wants to pick gelatinous fat out of a smoking hot food processor that just seized up.  Plus, that whole process may wake up your landlords sleeping baby… not good.  When you have snow throw it into the warming pot.  Repeat for all cubed fat
7.      We warm our stove at a level 3 but each is different.  In the beginning watch fat.  Look for very light gentle bubbles and absolutely no smoke.  The snow will melt.  I render about 3 lbs at a time and it usually takes about 1 hour for all the fat to go liquid.  Any impurities will fall to the bottom of the pot.
8.      Once completely rendered let cool (not so cool it hardens and turns white), strain with a fine metal strainer, and place into glass jars very carefully.  You can eat the cracklings and would be considered a freaking maniac for just trying them.  Take it from me there terrible.  Please remember you are working with hot fat during this stage.  SPILLING HOT FAT ON YOURSELF WILL RESULT IN TERRIBLE BURNS!!! FAT COATS YOUR SKIN AND TRANSFERS THE HEAT MUCH BETTER WATER!!! PLEASE BE CARFUL!!! TAKE ALL MEASURES TO BE SAFE!!!  I use oven mits and make sure all is clear. 
9.      Place your jarred fat in the refrigerator.  You could also freeze any excess.  If you did right the fat will harden and turn white and guess what?  You’ve just created your very own high quality saturated fat for sautéing vegetables, proteins, even cake (gluten free of course).  This stuff is far more stable than any vegetable oil (in my experience even more so than coconut), tastes better, and is better for you.  Don’t believe me?  Well then here is another list.  Don’t worry it’s not as long and boring as the previous list.  Enjoy. 
4 Reasons to use Beef Tallow
1.  Bone health: Framingham study mentioned in the ‘Nourishing Traditions’ (a book) points out that at least 50% of the dietary fats should be saturated. This is because calcium can be effectively incorporated into the skeletal structure only in the presence of saturated fats.
2. Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA): Recent research points out that conjugated linoleic acid or CLA is a potent cancer fighter and fights all three stages of cancer – initiation, promotion and metastasis. Since most anti-cancer agents block only one of these stages, the high concentration levels of CLA present in grass-fed beef tallow can help in preventing and fighting cancer in humans.
3. Immunity builder: Tallow is a great immunity builder owing to its antimicrobial properties. When used in cooking, it can give instant energy to the body as a saturated fat.
4. Omega-3 retainer: Beef tallow retains Omega-3s in tissues than many other hydrogenated oils or animal fats. This is another plus to tallow as it accomplishes this only on account of its composition as a saturated fat.
Actually that list was boring as hell but super useful, committ those four reasons to memory.  In general I hope my guest appearance helps you stay away from man made and/or highly refined saturated and unsaturated fats.
Seek out the saturated and unsaturated fats occuring more naturally and use them appropriately.  Here is a hint and probably all I really needed to say, use saturated fats for cooking vegetables, meat, eggs and unsaturated fats for cold uses like oil in a vinaigrette or simply finishing a salad or any other dish.
Rememeber folks, I am not a doctor and this is not a health prescription.  Through all of my personal research & development this is my opinion and what works for me;).  I’m just a dude trying to spread the love.  Hope you feel special… you should.