2

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Animal Fat 101 for newbies

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 03, 2011 at 12:36 PM

I understand a bit more about animal fats and what they're called now that I've been around paleo blogs for a while, but are there any good primers on animal fat? Just basic stuff that people who haven't used or been exposed to lots of animal fat might not know, like what terms correspond to fat from which animal, which part of the animal, etc.

For instance:

What is tallow? What is suet? Does any other kind of "beef fat" have a name, like the stuff I skim off my stock?

Is lard a specific type of pig fat? Is bacon grease lard? Why isn't it called that?

Are there fancy names for other kinds of fat? Say I'm vacationing in Iceland and I want to try whale blubber. What's that called?

Does lamb fat have a name?

If there's not a primer maybe someone could make one or we could start one here. If there is a primer, please point me to it. Thanks!

00c8eb3f6e6a1884216044ca29cf868a

on March 03, 2011
at 10:22 PM

Carl: Wet-rendering your tallow will give it a much more neutral flavor than the dry-rendering process they show on MDA, which always comes out tasting kind of burnt.

Af2ad65226384cedd4f5f08825a75b5d

(665)

on March 03, 2011
at 05:29 PM

I actually would make the ghee linked in the above recipe without bay leaves.

Af2ad65226384cedd4f5f08825a75b5d

(665)

on March 03, 2011
at 05:24 PM

You can also find ghee at health food stores like Whole Foods which sells a grassfed ghee, but homemade ghee is cheaper and tastier plus is really easy to make.

Af2ad65226384cedd4f5f08825a75b5d

(665)

on March 03, 2011
at 05:23 PM

Matt, ghee is often equated to being clarified butter strained of the milk solids (the trace lactose and casein that is present in butter). It has a higher smoke point than butter, can be stored with out refrigeration due to a removal of the water content and milk solids present in butter. While some paleos are anti-butter, most are not anti ghee. Here's a simple recipe about how to make ghee http://indianfood.about.com/od/techniques/r/gheerecipe.htm. The important thing with ghee is to use low low heat to make sure that it does not burn, because (supposedly) once burnt that taste will stay

8763119a6ff9dce4bf78d543426b0144

on March 03, 2011
at 05:09 PM

Ok what exactly is ghee, and where can you find it?

Ef9f83cb4e1826261a44c173f733789e

(13635)

on March 03, 2011
at 03:23 PM

I made it in a slow cooker. ~8 hours on low. I would not describe the taste and smell as "burnt," it's just really beefy. It's ok as long as I use it in an applications that calls for the strong flavor.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on March 03, 2011
at 02:17 PM

Carl, was it slightly burned? That will make it strong tasting and smelling.

Af2ad65226384cedd4f5f08825a75b5d

(665)

on March 03, 2011
at 01:34 PM

I'm not an expert on tallow, but I think it depends on where in the animal the tallow comes from as well as what animal it comes from. Lamb tallow is always strongly "lamby" and I know personally I could not eat it. Beef tallow for me has been strong when compared to lard or a coconut oil, but not an overpowering taste. It worked best for certain applications where a subtle beefiness compliments what's at hand. The animal fats I personally prefer are Duck Fat and Ghee. Duck fat is the supreme fat for roasting. Ghee for most other things.

Ef9f83cb4e1826261a44c173f733789e

(13635)

on March 03, 2011
at 01:19 PM

The article says tallow is "relatively mild," but the one batch I made came out with a strong flavor and smell. What is normal?

82a8b7c6e7f67787c2b16bd595db510e

(253)

on March 03, 2011
at 01:11 PM

That's excellent! Thanks. I'd still like to hear from anyone about more "exotic" things.

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2 Answers

4
Af2ad65226384cedd4f5f08825a75b5d

(665)

on March 03, 2011
at 12:54 PM

I don't want to reinvent the wheel so I'll defer to Mark Sisson's great guide to animal fat. It should answer (99%) of your questions.

"A Primal Primer: Animal Fats"

It runs through the most common fats: beef tallow, lamb tallow, lard, goose and duck fat, and chicken fat/smaltz plus ghee. It gives you the name for tallow prior to rendering (suet) and covers the Saturated:Monounsaturated:Polyunsaturated breakdown of the fat.

On the bacon grease question, I believe its call grease as opposed to lard as it is literally the grease left over after cooking the bacon while lard is rendered from solid lard (with leaf lard on the kidneys being most prized since its near flavorless).

82a8b7c6e7f67787c2b16bd595db510e

(253)

on March 03, 2011
at 01:11 PM

That's excellent! Thanks. I'd still like to hear from anyone about more "exotic" things.

Af2ad65226384cedd4f5f08825a75b5d

(665)

on March 03, 2011
at 05:24 PM

You can also find ghee at health food stores like Whole Foods which sells a grassfed ghee, but homemade ghee is cheaper and tastier plus is really easy to make.

Af2ad65226384cedd4f5f08825a75b5d

(665)

on March 03, 2011
at 01:34 PM

I'm not an expert on tallow, but I think it depends on where in the animal the tallow comes from as well as what animal it comes from. Lamb tallow is always strongly "lamby" and I know personally I could not eat it. Beef tallow for me has been strong when compared to lard or a coconut oil, but not an overpowering taste. It worked best for certain applications where a subtle beefiness compliments what's at hand. The animal fats I personally prefer are Duck Fat and Ghee. Duck fat is the supreme fat for roasting. Ghee for most other things.

Ef9f83cb4e1826261a44c173f733789e

(13635)

on March 03, 2011
at 03:23 PM

I made it in a slow cooker. ~8 hours on low. I would not describe the taste and smell as "burnt," it's just really beefy. It's ok as long as I use it in an applications that calls for the strong flavor.

Af2ad65226384cedd4f5f08825a75b5d

(665)

on March 03, 2011
at 05:29 PM

I actually would make the ghee linked in the above recipe without bay leaves.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on March 03, 2011
at 02:17 PM

Carl, was it slightly burned? That will make it strong tasting and smelling.

8763119a6ff9dce4bf78d543426b0144

on March 03, 2011
at 05:09 PM

Ok what exactly is ghee, and where can you find it?

00c8eb3f6e6a1884216044ca29cf868a

on March 03, 2011
at 10:22 PM

Carl: Wet-rendering your tallow will give it a much more neutral flavor than the dry-rendering process they show on MDA, which always comes out tasting kind of burnt.

Ef9f83cb4e1826261a44c173f733789e

(13635)

on March 03, 2011
at 01:19 PM

The article says tallow is "relatively mild," but the one batch I made came out with a strong flavor and smell. What is normal?

Af2ad65226384cedd4f5f08825a75b5d

(665)

on March 03, 2011
at 05:23 PM

Matt, ghee is often equated to being clarified butter strained of the milk solids (the trace lactose and casein that is present in butter). It has a higher smoke point than butter, can be stored with out refrigeration due to a removal of the water content and milk solids present in butter. While some paleos are anti-butter, most are not anti ghee. Here's a simple recipe about how to make ghee http://indianfood.about.com/od/techniques/r/gheerecipe.htm. The important thing with ghee is to use low low heat to make sure that it does not burn, because (supposedly) once burnt that taste will stay

1
76f3ead3aa977d876bcf3331d35a36e9

(4620)

on March 03, 2011
at 02:45 PM

I spent an afternoon once reading all about every kind of fat on none other than Wikipedia. Scroll down to the bottom to see a list of links to edible fats and oils:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suet

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