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  #1   ^
Old Thu, Jan-14-21, 11:44
Demi's Avatar
Demi Demi is offline
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Default How You Should Be Handling Fat In Your Kitchen

Love this ... THERE’S NO fat-shaming in butchery

How You Should Be Handling Fat In Your Kitchen

We’re done with avoiding it. Indeed, we’re saving it, rendering it and using it to make all kinds of dishes more delicious.

THERE’S NO fat-shaming in butchery. What some might consider a scrap is actually a kitchen asset.

As the cooking credo goes: Fat equals flavor. Science even proves it. “There is a growing body of research that supports fat as a sixth primary taste,” said Nik Sharma, author of “The Flavor Equation: The Science of Great Cooking Explained.” Mr. Sharma ranks what scientists are calling oleogustus—fattiness/richness—right up there with the sweet, sour, salty, bitter and savory experiences that make eating pleasurable. “Fat makes food taste delicious,” he simply explained.

Meat-eaters can go beyond the bottles of oil and butters on hand in their kitchens by rendering out the flavorful fat from scraps they’ve trimmed away from cuts of meat. “It is really cost-effective. You get the most out of what you are paying for,” said Aaron Rocchino, butcher/proprietor of the Local Butcher Shop in Berkeley, Calif. Mr. Rocchino encourages saving fat from pork, beef and poultry. Once you amass enough, you can render it by cooking slowly until the fat melts and separates from the meaty matter it’s attached to, leaving a flavorful liquid medium for all kinds of cooking.

A chef as well as a butcher, Mr. Rocchino worked in such esteemed kitchens as Le Bernardin in New York and Chez Panisse in Berkeley, where he honed his whole-animal butchering skills. Over the years he forged relationships with livestock farmers that eventually propelled him to his own butcher shop. The Local Butcher Shop opened in 2011 with the mission of providing restaurant-quality meat to retail customers while using as much of the animal as possible—fat and all. Beyond prime meat cuts, the shop carries everything from stock to dog food to those delicious rendered fats.

Whether poultry schmaltz, pork lard or beef tallow, rendered fat can take a dish from good to glorious. “Choosing the right fat is key, as different fats have different flavors and different smoking points too,” Mr. Rocchino said. Rule of thumb: The smaller the animal, the milder the flavor; the larger the animal, the stronger the flavor. Chicken, duck and goose schmaltz add a gentle richness without overpowering. They also don’t have a high smoking point, so it’s best to use schmaltz for binding matzo balls, as an enhancement to a pot of rice or a medium for slow-roasting vegetables. (Potatoes roasted in duck or goose fat = bliss.)

Pork fat comes in two types: regular lard and leaf lard. The former has a stronger, porkier flavor and a higher smoke point; it’s great for sautéing and pan-frying. Leaf lard, the fat that surrounds a pig’s kidneys, is lighter, with a mellower porky taste and a more neutral flavor overall. Mr. Rocchino likes it for baking. It makes flaky pie crusts and brings a unique richness to cookies.

A high smoke point makes beef tallow the darling for deep-frying and searing. Because of its strong flavor, Mr. Rocchino recommends blending in a high-smoke-point cooking oil such as safflower oil or refined vegetable oil.

Mr. Rocchino even makes use of lamb fat, but because of its intense flavor he prefers not to cook with it. He uses it as a hand moisturizer or to oil the wood handles of his knives—yet another way fat can be a cook’s friend.

How to Render Your Own Fat in 5 Easy Steps

Use this guide for any fat you cut away from meat and save for this purpose. Different fats render differently; just keep an eye out for burning and adjust the heat as needed.

1. Chop fat into small cubes. (If you want the fat to render more quickly, run through a grinder. Chilled fat makes for easier handling when chopping.)

2. Place fat in a saucepan large enough to hold the quantity in one layer. Add water to just cover bottom.

3. Set over high heat. When liquid starts to simmer, lower heat to medium-low. Make sure it is always at a simmer. If boiling, reduce heat to low.

4. The water will cook off as the fat slowly liquefies. It will be fully rendered when the liquid is an even golden color and the solids are dry and crisp. This can take an hour or longer. Watch for burning and stir on occasion.

5. Turn off heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean jar with an airtight lid.


• Keep rendered fat in a cool, dry place. Rendered fat will keep 6 months in the refrigerator or up to year in the freezer.

• If your fat smells “off” it is rancid. Discard.

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  #2   ^
Old Wed, Nov-29-23, 20:23
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ImOnMyWay ImOnMyWay is offline
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Also, never pour it down the kitchen sink! If you don't want to save it to use for roasting vegetables or what have you, pour it into an empty coffee can. Remove as much of the remainder as possible by wiping out your pan with a paper towel, then wash the pan as usual. Once the grease can is full, throw it in the trash.
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Old Sun, Dec-03-23, 03:12
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Kristine Kristine is offline
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Oh, I must have missed this thread when it was first posted. One of my favourite topics! When olive oil is $10/bottle and butter is $5.99/lb, why waste good cooking fat?

My tips:
  • If you only have a small amount, it's probably not worth rendering on the stove. Small amounts, I'll just keep it in a small container in the fridge and it gets used up pretty quickly. I just keep in mind that it might be "brothy" and is probably going to spatter in the pan.
  • The purpose of rendering is to cook the water out. This helps preserve it. My technique is like above, but basically as if I'm making clarified butter: cook it on the stove low and slow until it stops bubbling. Most of the time I'm rendering, it's fat I peeled off a bowl of chilled broth.
  • Highly recommended: get yourself a stainless steel coffee filter for your cooked-and-cooled liquid fat. It'll take out the blackened bits, meaty bits, and spice chunks left over. It makes a nicer cooking fat less likely to smoke or burn.
  • If you made bacon, the grease is already virtually water-free because it was being pan-fried or baked. By the time the bacon is done, there's little or no water left.
  • Don't be afraid of fats that are from something that was flavoured. Some of the best chicken fat and lard I ever had was from rotisserie chicken, pulled pork, sausage grease, etc. Just jot down what it was so you don't surprise yourself later.
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