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Fat is where it’s at.
My dad has said that for as long as I can remember.
High-quality fats are the cornerstone of a real food diet. Whether you are eating according to paleo, primal, GAPS, SCD, or any number of the other eating styles out there, fat is where it’s at. Fats are nourishing and healing to the body and without plenty of them, our health will suffer.
When I speak of high-quality fats, I am not referring to what standard American nutrition has deemed as “healthy”. I am referring to:
- Coconut Oil
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Duck Fat
- Palm oil and palm shortening (from a sustainable source)
- Some nut and seed oils (in moderation, depending on the source and how they’ve been processed)
These fats are going to be healthy heart and body fats. You’ll notice that most are primarily saturated, which is the best form of fat to consume. Some will contain monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) and your olive, nut, and seed oils will contain some polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs). Some nut and seed oils are going to be much higher in polyunsaturated fats, which are the BAD guys, so for the most part, I steer clear. I do use cold-pressed avocado oil and macadamia nut oils from time to time, and those oils have the lowest amounts of PUFAs.
Please avoid the following:
- Canola oil
- Corn oil
- Soybean oil
- Sunflower oil
- Safflower oil
- Grapeseed oil
- Nut and seed oils that are high in PUFAs
Mark Sisson has a great post on PUFAs if you’re wondering why they are so bad. In a nutshell, they are high in Omega 6’s, which leads to inflammation in the body, which in turn leads to disease.
So, now that we know what fats are good and what fats aren’t, let’s take a look at the delicious fats from Fatworks that I was lucky enough to sample!
Fatworks Fat Review (Tallow, Duck Fat, and Lard)
Fatworks supplies real food lovers with with premium fat from healthy, grass-fed and pastured animals. They were kind enough to send me a jar of their beef tallow and leaf lard, and then I also purchased a jar of the duck fat via their website to try out.
If you’ve never used tallow for your cooking and/or baking, you don’t know what you’re missing. Tallow makes an excellent addition to a real food kitchen and adds a richness to anything you’re making. Fatworks’ tallow is pure, delicious, and stable. Also, because of its purity, it’s more reusable than ordinary tallow. It is made from 100% grass-fed cows that are never given hormones or antibiotics. It is then processed using a low-heat kettle rendering and advanced fine-filtering system that allows their tallow to meet the highest standards of real foodies and gourmet cooks. This is the first Pure Premium Grass Fed Cooking Tallow. Grass-fed tallow is a fantastic source of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which is good for a whole host of things.
Tallow is great for savory dishes and I use like I would coconut oil for frying up hamburger, stir-fry, etc. You can even use tallow like you would shortening in pie crusts. Tallow is reusable too, so you save money since you get multiple uses out of it. People will typically get between 3-6 uses per batch of tallow, but it honestly depends on what you’re cooking. You may get more, you may get less. You can just run the oil through a coffee filter or fine mesh strainer to remove any particles that could contaminate it. Then, you can just stick it back in the jar and use it next time. Tallow has a high smoke point between 400° and 420°. Some people will store their tallow at room temperature, but I prefer to keep mine in the fridge.
These shoestring sweet potato fries were made using the beef tallow and boy were they delicious! I used my spiralizer to cut the sweet potatoes, heated up the tallow in a small saucepan, and then fried the potatoes in small batches until crispy (8-10 minutes). Remove from the oil and let drain on a towel. Generously salt them with sea salt right after they come out of the oil, so that the salt sticks to the outside of the fries.
I don’t eat pork, but my husband was happy to try out the lard. I’d venture to say he was a little excited. The first thing we made was some shoestring fries and he said they were delicious. He couldn’t quite put his finger on why they were so delicious, but many people like to say that lard “just makes everything taste better”. Hubby concurs.
Fatworks leaf lard is quite possibly the finest lard available. Not only do they use 100% pasture raised pigs, they only use the prized pig “leaf” to make their lard. This means that this lard is going to be less “porky” tasting than others types of lard. The leaf lard is known to be delicate, light, and “clean” tasting. There’s a good chance that your grandmother and great grandmother used lard in their cooking and baking. Leaf lard has long been prized for making the most delicate and flaky pie crusts and the most delicious cakes and other pastries without imparting any “porky” flavor. Lard is also a great source of vitamin D.
Leaf lard has a smoke point of 375°, making it perfect for some frying and sauteing. You can reuse lard, just like you can tallow, so when you’re done cooking (as long as the oil has not been heated too much or burned), you can run the fat through a coffee filter or fine mesh strainer and re-use. Some people will store their lard at room temperature, but I recommend keeping it in the fridge.
Fatworks Duck Fat is rendered from pasture raised ducks. The duck fat is processed by combining their proprietary low-heat kettle rendering and advanced fine-filtering system to create liquid gold (it really is a gorgeous golden color). Everyone from gourmet chefs to your home cook will love duck fat and it will quickly become your secret ingredient for many recipes! The smoke point for duck fat is 375°. Duck fat should be refrigerated to retain quality.
Duck fat can be used for any of your savory cooking. Don’t be intimidated by it. Just use it like you would any other cooking fat. You can use it for everything from sauteing veggies to stirfry to pan-fried chicken and the list doesn’t stop there. One of the classic ways to use duck fat is roasted potatoes. I made a batch of oven baked sweet potato chips for myself and a batch of regular baked potato chips for hubby. I sliced the potatoes super thin and then tossed them in a bowl with the duck fat, salt, and black pepper. Heat your oven to 350° and cook for 20-30 minutes, or until crispy. Watch them closely so they don’t burn.