Fat is interesting. It had been demonized for years in exchange for basically chemicals that do the same thing. Recent non-biased research has been showing that natural fat is actually healthier for you, on top of taste proven methods of adding depth and flavor.
As someone who likes to use all of what he purchases, as well as have options to enhance other meals with flavor, I’ve started rendering my own fat. It stores pretty much forever if frozen, and a very very long time in the refrigerator as long as its rendered and used properly.
When trimming cuts of meat before cooking, I throw the fat into a gallon bag and freeze immediately until I have a bag full and its worth making the mess. Making stock, on the other hand, makes it easy, as chilling the stock overnight allows the fat to raise to the top and solidify, making removal a breeze with a spoon.
- If frozen, cut into small 1/2″ or so cubes, if using fat caps from stock just break it into smaller pieces
- Using a 4 quart pot, put all the fat pieces in, put it on low, and let it melt.
- Stir occasionally.
- Bits of meat, skin, and harder tissue, collectively known as cracklins, will rise to the top of the fat as it melts, scoop these out and drain on paper towels for a delicious snack.
- Once all the fat is melted, and the cracklins removed, strain through cheesecloth into a container for storage, I use mason jars.
- Refrigerate until needed, this clean it will last a long time.
- Always use clean utensils when going into the jars. This will keep contamination to a minimum, ensuring long life.
- I use it to saute onions and vegetables, as a replacement for butter in rolls and bread recipes, to season my cast iron, it has endless uses.