Rendering fat

Rendering fat

By
From
Ben's Meat Bible
Makes
1.2 kg
Photographer
Benito Martin

Fats are finally back in fashion! Once much maligned, good old animal fats are now considered better than all the processed rubbish that is out there. The beauty of rendering your own fat is that it promotes the use of the whole animal, or ‘nose-to-tail eating’, a notion that all chefs like to talk about.

Rendering fat entails heating the animal fat slowly enough that it melts and separates from anything else within the fat. You can also buy pre-rendered animal fats: I love Luv-a-Duck duck fat and the wagyu fats available at the markets in Canberra, Australia, and goose fat is quite easy to come by at good supermarkets or specialist food stores. The basic difference between the fats lies in the subtle flavours of each, although they all pretty much perform the same. The only fat that is particularly strong in flavour is lamb fat.

The process of rendering fat is pretty easy to do, and once you have done it, the possibilities are endless. You can use rendered fat in place of oil or butter in many recipes, and it will increase the depth of flavour. To render fat yourself, ask your butcher for your fat of choice (duck, beef, pork, etc.) and have them mince it. Your yield will be about 40 per cent of the weight of the solid fat.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
3kg minced pork back fat or duck fat
4-5 litres cold water

Method

  1. Blitz the fat in a food processor in small batches to break it down. Place the fat in a large saucepan and cover with the cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer over medium heat for about 1 hour, or until the water has evaporated and the fat separates out. At this point you need to be careful and lower the heat slightly to avoid burning the fat.
  2. Line a sieve with muslin (cheese cloth) and strain the fat into a bowl. Allow to cool before transferring to a jar or airtight container. Store in the refrigerator or in a cool, dark place, where it will keep for up to 3 months.
  3. Once you’ve used the fat, you can strain it again for re-use. Simply pass through a muslin-lined sieve again and let it cool in a bowl (any liquid left in the fat will sink to the bottom as it will be denser than the fat). Once cold, you can scoop the fat off to use again, bearing in mind that it may take on the flavour of anything it cooks.
  4. There are many uses for rendered fat: duck fat potatoes are out of this world, as are duck confit and duck rillettes. Fat can be used in pastry, for basting, in terrines, or – if you’re feeling really naughty – to fry up some thick toast.
Tags:
Ben
O'Donoghue
meat
bbq
carnivore
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