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Old 07-16-2006, 12:48 PM   #1
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Question about lard/suet

I was watching Guy's Big Bite this morning on the food network and he was using what looked like pork lard (that is readily available here in the south) but he kept calling it beef fat. I've never heard of using beef fat to fry in. Was wondering if he was just mistaken and it was really pork fat or if there is such a thing as beef fat used to fry in. He did say it was in most supermarkets. Though some of you might shed some light on this for me.
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Old 07-16-2006, 01:06 PM   #2
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It could have been suet, which is beef fat.

Either that or the chef was wrong in calling it beef fat.
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Old 07-16-2006, 01:14 PM   #3
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I've never seen his show but was hoping for something better from him. I've never seen rendered beef fat for sale in the markets I go to. Maybe you could check the posted recipe on The Food Network and see if it lists lard instead. If so maybe we could give him a rookie pass. I searched beef fat on their site and got two hits, both using fat reserved from something made at home.

Reminds me of a woman name Christine who has a show on PBS. She keeps putting a jalapeno pepper on her cutting board and saying in a grammar school instructional tone, "This is a poblano pepper."

Maybe I'm wrong though and they do sell rendered beef fat and poblanos that look exactly like jalapenos in all the markets except the ones I go to.
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Old 07-16-2006, 01:21 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M.
It could have been suet, which is beef fat.
Hey Andy,
Can you shed any more light on the subject. I googled suet and sure enough it's beef fat, but all the sites were about bird feed.
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Old 07-16-2006, 01:25 PM   #5
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His recipe for carnitas calls for pork lard or suet (beef fat).
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Old 07-16-2006, 01:27 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skilletlicker
Hey Andy,
Can you shed any more light on the subject. I googled suet and sure enough it's beef fat, but all the sites were about bird feed.
Bird seeds are sometimes pressed into a block of suet to provide birds with some extra calories in the winter.
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Old 07-16-2006, 01:56 PM   #7
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You can get beef suet from your supermarket. It is good for adding to venison for making sausage.
I don't understand what is wrong about his using it. Growing up, we had steak on Saturday night and my dad would cut the excess fat from the steak and fry it out to use in the skillet for pan frying the steak. It has an immense amount of flavor--as evidenced by the fact that McDonald's used to use it for frying their French fries.
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Old 07-16-2006, 02:03 PM   #8
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In case any body's interested here is the recipe in question. Basically it's deep frying 3/4 lb pieces of pork butt in beef or pork fat for 1 to 1 1/2 hr. at low temperature, 250F.
Has anybody done it like this?
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Old 07-16-2006, 02:16 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gretchen
You can get beef suet from your supermarket. It is good for adding to venison for making sausage.
I don't understand what is wrong about his using it. Growing up, we had steak on Saturday night and my dad would cut the excess fat from the steak and fry it out to use in the skillet for pan frying the steak. It has an immense amount of flavor--as evidenced by the fact that McDonald's used to use it for frying their French fries.
Gretchen,
I don't say there's anything wrong about his using it. I just had never heard of suet or noticed rendered beef fat in the store, but there's an awful lot I don't know. That's why I appreciate this forum so much.
I keep lard in the ice box all the time and will look for suet next trip to the store.
Furthermore, if anyone confirms they've cooked meat with the method described in Guy's fairly simple recipe I will make it that way in the near future.
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Old 07-16-2006, 02:17 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skilletlicker
In case any body's interested here is the recipe in question. Basically it's deep frying 3/4 lb pieces of pork butt in beef or pork fat for 1 to 1 1/2 hr. at low temperature, 250F.
Has anybody done it like this?
At 250F, I wouldn't really call that deep frying. That's more like confit.

Isn't this the same guy who's only claim to fame was winning the FoodTV's "Next Star" show?
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Old 07-16-2006, 02:24 PM   #11
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As I mentioned earlier, the recipe calls out both suet and lard.

Also, I think the internal temperature he gives for his pork confit is too low for shredding. The meat has to reach an internal temperature of 205-210F so the connective tissue can break down, making the meat shreddable.

I have done this with veal and duck, but not for shredding.
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Old 07-16-2006, 02:25 PM   #12
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"I've never seen his show but was hoping for something better from him."--from your post

I guess this is what I was referring to. Iron Chef is right about it being a sort of "confit" method. Frank Stitt has a recipe for pork butt cooked in fresh pork belly fat in his Southern Table cookbook that I am waiting for cooler weather to fix.
Suet won't usually be seen in the counter--you need to ask for it. Sometimes they have to save it from breaking down their meat carcasses/cryovac packages.

As for the temp--190* is about the temp that the connective tissues have broken down so his is a bit light but can probably be shredded.

As for confit--Charlie Trotter does a tuna confit, using olive oil.
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Old 07-16-2006, 02:27 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ironchef
At 250F, I wouldn't really call that deep frying. That's more like confit.

Isn't this the same guy who's only claim to fame was winning the FoodTV's "Next Star" show?
Yeah, that's the guy.

ironchef, I confess I've never confitted anything, at least not on purpose. Does this method make sense for pork butt to you?
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Old 07-16-2006, 02:31 PM   #14
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For ideas of pork confit, take a look here.
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=pork+confit
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Old 07-16-2006, 03:12 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gretchen
"I've never seen his show but was hoping for something better from him."--from your post

I guess this is what I was referring to.
Yeah, that sounds pretty bad but what I was thinking was that he'd sort of grown on me during the series in which he won the show that recently debuted, and I thought he'd either misnamed an ingredient or said something is widely available that isn't.

Thanks to you, Andy M and ironchef for pointing out my error and good luck to Guy.
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Old 07-16-2006, 03:27 PM   #16
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Actually, not all beef fat is suet. Rather, it's a special type of fat, namely the hard fatty tissue around the kidneys. It's very white, very flaky, and has qualities that make it particularly desirable for baking. My mother used to order it from the butcher around Christmas when she prepared my great grandmother's recipe for plum pudding. Mom insisted that you could not substitute any other fat for suet.

As for regular beef fat, it was the secret ingredient in McDonald's french fries, probably the reason Julia Child raved about them. That ended several years ago due to health concerns -- the practice had come to light when an entire cargo ship filled with beef fat sank on its way from Australia to the U.S.
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Old 07-16-2006, 04:34 PM   #17
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Beef lard used to be very popular in the UK... not so much now since the 'health police' became more vocal!

Suet, on the other hand, is a staple part of many traditional English/Scots dishes, for instance to make a suet pastry for steak and kidney pie or to add a bit of texture to a clootie dumpling etc. Suet is usually sold as packaged stuff, but I can get my local butcher to prepare it for me.

I've never had pork fat.... and to my mind that would be too greasy. Just different tastes in different countries, I suspect.
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Old 07-16-2006, 06:11 PM   #18
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Ishbel, do you ever fry bacon? If you do, try saving the grease and using a little to saute onions for a soup or bean dish.
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Old 07-16-2006, 06:14 PM   #19
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Ishbel...me again. I'm watching Paula Deen in London, and she's in a butcher shope, looking at bacon. She says the English have something they call "back bacon", which is wider and has more meat running through it. Can you tell us about it?
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Old 07-16-2006, 07:53 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skilletlicker
Yeah, that's the guy.

ironchef, I confess I've never confitted anything, at least not on purpose. Does this method make sense for pork butt to you?
LOL this thread is starting to go off-topic (or is it?) but here goes.

The traditional method and defintion of "confit" is to slowly cook a food immersed in it's own fat, beit pork, duck, etc. Now days, confit refers to any type of food that is slow cooked in fat: onions, garlic, tomatoes, tuna, fennel, etc. etc.

Regarding pork, pork is excellent for use in slow cooking methods so I'm sure his recipe would probably taste good. I don't see how it wouldn't with all of that lard. One thing that he fails to do that I would probably recommend would be to sear the pork first. It will brown somewhat in the lard, but I just love the flavor of seared, golden brown pork.
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