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Tender Grassfed Barbecue: Traditional, Primal and Paleo by Stanley A. Fishman
By Stanley A. Fishman
Link to Tender Grassfed Meat at Amazon
By Stanley A. Fishman

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DISCLOSURE AND DISCLAIMER

I am an attorney and an author, not a doctor. This website is intended to provide information about grassfed meat, what it is, its benefits, and how to cook it. I will also describe my own experiences from time to time. The information on this website is being provided for educational purposes. Any statements about the possible health benefits provided by any foods or diet have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

I do receive some compensation each time a copy of my book is purchased. I receive a very small amount of compensation each time somebody purchases a book from Amazon through the links on this site, as I am a member of the Amazon affiliate program.

—Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat

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Real Lard, Great Food

By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat and Tender Grassfed Barbecue

Natural, unhydrogenated, pastured pork lard.

Real pork lard.

Most Americans are horrified by the very thought of eating lard. Some seem to think that even a small amount of lard will stop their hearts, or make them obese, or both. Yet lard was once the most popular cooking fat in America. Lard was also the most popular cooking fat in China.

Lard was demonized so margarine, hydrogenated oils, and other creations of the processed food industry would sell. The artificial fats created by the food industry taste and feel much worse than the traditional fats of our ancestors. This means that the only reason people would buy the factory fats is if real fats are believed to be unhealthy. There are no shortages of scientists and studies that the food industry could and can buy to scare people into giving up real food. Lard, and all saturated fat, was blamed for heart disease, and countless other illnesses.

The truth of the matter is that real lard, from healthy pastured pigs, is very healthy and nutritious, and one of our best sources of vitamin D.

Real lard is one of the very best cooking fats, having a high smoke point, and being unlikely to spatter in most circumstances.

And food cooked with real lard can be incredibly delicious.

 

The Two Types of Lard

Nearly all the lard you will find in the supermarket is hydrogenated, which means that the very molecular structure of the fat has been changed to something that never appears in nature. This lard almost always comes from pigs that have been kept in confinement, may never see the sun, and are fed almost totally on GMO soy and GMO corn. This lard does not need to be refrigerated, which means that it has been processed to the point that it will not spoil. But lard like this has a horrid, greasy, slimy texture, and a truly disgusting taste, at least to me, and many others. It will, in my opinion, ruin any food cooked with it.

Real lard, the lard enjoyed by our ancestors, is not hydrogenated. It comes from pigs raised in the open air, who forage for a great deal of their own food, and see plenty of sun. It is hard to find, but it tastes and feels a thousand times better than the hydrogenated abomination. You can get this kind of lard at some farmers markets, though it can be very expensive. My favorite Internet source is U.S. Wellness Meats, which sells rendered lard from pigs who spend most of their life in the open, foraging for a large part of their food. The price is also quite reasonable.

 

The Benefits of Real Lard

Real lard gives incredible flavor to food. It is great for basting meats, and has been used for that purpose for thousands of years, from Sardinia to China. Meat basted with lard is more tender, retains more of its juices, and tastes fantastic.

Real lard is also great for baking, and played a huge part in traditional European and American biscuits, pies, cakes, and breads. It gives incredible flavor and texture to these dishes, one that is unique and wonderful.

Real lard is perhaps the best fat for frying and sautéing. It has a very high smoke point, spatters rarely, and adds its own wonderful flavor to the food that is cooked in it. We do not have French fries or fried chicken very often, but when we do, it is usually fried in real lard. It is the fat of choice in most of our stir fries. Not only is frying easier, safer, and smoother, but the taste benefits are immense.

And real lard is healthy, to the great surprise of most people. The Weston A Price Foundation, which I consider to be the most knowledgeable food organization on earth, recommends the use of real lard in cooking. Not only does real lard provide a valuable balance of essential fatty acids, it is one of the best sources of natural Vitamin D, and other nutrients.

Today, following the suggestion of a seventh generation English butcher, we fried eggs in real lard for the first time. Awesome.

We use real lard in cooking all the time, and enjoy it immensely.

This post is part of Monday Mania, Real Food Wednesday, Fight Back Friday, and Freaky Friday blog carnivals.

Finding Grassfed Fat, and How to Add Good Fat to Lean Meat

By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat

Grass fed steak coated with pastured butter.

Lean grassfed steak coated with pastured butter before cooking.

All too often, when shopping for grassfed meat, I find myself asking, “Where’s the fat?”

The ugly truth is that far too much grassfed meat has all the visible fat trimmed off, and has very little fat in the meat.

The most nutrient-dense component of grassfed meat is the fat. The fat of grassfed animals is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), and many other nutrients.

The fat also gives great flavor and enhances tenderness. The Weston A. Price Foundation advises always eating meat with fat. Traditional peoples, from the peoples of old Europe, to the Native Americans, to the Chinese, always ate meat with plenty of fat.

Yet many producers and sellers of grassfed meat trim off all the visible fat from their meat, and some deliberately raise their beef to be lean. For me, the most frustrating part of buying grassfed meat is getting meat with enough fat.

The key is to buy meat that comes with enough fat, both visible and internal. This involves careful shopping and lobbying producers. But sometimes, no matter what I do, the meat is just too lean. I have learned to compensate for this, just like our ancestors did.

If the fat is not in the meat, then you can bring the fat to the meat.

Tips for Buying Fattier Grassfed Meat

There are several indicators you can look at to find fattier grassfed meat. Here are some of them:

The Breed of Cattle

Genetics have a lot to do with the fat content in beef. Breeds that have been raised for meat, such as shorthorns and Angus, are much more likely to have more fat. Breeds that are noted for leanness, such as Galloway or Charolais, are much more likely to be very lean.

The Time of Year the Beef Is Processed

Traditionally, cattle were processed for meat in the late spring or early summer, after they had been eating the rich green grass of spring for as long as possible. This was the best natural way to put fat in the cattle, and meat processed at this time has more fat, more flavor, and more tenderness.

There are a number of ranchers and producers who only process their beef at that time of year, and freeze it. If you have enough freezer space, that is a particularly good time to buy a large quantity of meat.

I have also found bison and lamb processed after feeding on green grass for a while to be fattier, more tender, and more tasty.

The Philosophy of the Producer

The attitude and belief of the rancher actually raising the meat animal has a huge impact, as there is much they can do to make the meat fattier or leaner. If the producer brags about how lean and fat free their meat is, the meat is going to be very lean.

If the producer talks about the benefits of grassfed fat and why it is good to leave some fat on the meat, then your chances of getting fattier grassfed meat are a lot better.

If the producer praises the virtues of grassfed fat, and also praises the leanness of their meat, you may have a choice.

Ask!

Many producers and butchers carry both lean and fattier grassfed meat. I have found that just asking for the fattiest grassfed cuts they have makes a huge difference. Asking for fattier meat also tells a wise producer that the demand is out there, and may well increase the supply of fattier grassfed meat.

How to Add Good Fat to Lean Meat

Often, no matter what I do, the meat that is delivered is just too lean, or the meat available is just too lean. Fortunately, our ancestors often faced the same problem, and developed some solutions. Here are some of the solutions I use:

This grassfed steak was cooked with a coating of butter

The same lean grassfed steak (as shown above) after cooking with a coating of butter.

1.      Butter. Pastured butter is the best friend of lean meat. You can coat the meat with softened butter before cooking. You can sauté the meat in butter. You can baste the meat with butter. You can put butter directly on the hot meat when it is served at the table. All of these methods will improve the meat and give you the fat that should be eaten with it.

2.      Beef tallow, lamb tallow, and bison tallow. Tallow can be placed directly on roasting meat, so it can baste the meat as it cooks. You can also sauté meat in melted beef tallow. You can melt some tallow and use it to baste the meat as it cooks. You can melt some tallow in a roasting pan and roll the meat in the melted tallow before cooking.

3.       Bacon. You can place fat slices of bacon directly on a roast, or render the fat from bacon and use it for sautéing.

4.      Natural, unhydrogenated lard. You can rub softened lard all over the meat prior to cooking. You can sauté the meat in melted lard. You can place lard directly on top of a roast, and baste during the roasting.

Tender Grassfed Meat contains a lot of information on how to add fat to meat, and how to cook meat with the right amount of fat.

This post is part of Real Food Wednesday, Fight Back FridayMonday Mania, and Fat Tuesday blog carnivals.

Don’t Trim the Fat—It’s the Best Part!

By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat

Grassfed Herb Roast

This beautiful fat cap helps make a wonderful herb roast.

The half chicken arrived on my friend’s plate, with a wonderful aroma. It was grilled over hickory to browned perfection, the crisp skin redolent with a wonderful spice rub that promised taste heaven. My friend picked up his knife and fork, carefully removed every trace of the magnificent chicken skin—and discarded it.

The prime rib roast looked great on the website photo. The meat was a beautiful cherry red color, crowned by a thick cap of gleaming fat that promised great taste and nutrition. I ordered this magnificent roast, anticipating how wonderful it would look and taste. The roast arrived. Every bit of the magnificent fat cap promised by the photo on the website had been trimmed off.

I ordered a cut-to-order bison Porterhouse for a very important occasion. I made sure to instruct the seller to leave a thick coating of the bison fat on the meat, as bison fat gives incredible flavor. The steak arrived. It was a magnificent piece of meat—except that almost all the fat was trimmed off.

Each of these events point out one of the most insane aspects to our society. We have been trained to discard and throw out one of the most nutritious substances known to humankind—saturated fat from grassfed animals.

Saturated fat from grassfed animals should not be trimmed off and discarded. It should be used in cooking and eaten, just as humankind has been doing for hundreds of thousands of years.

Animal Fat Has Been Unfairly Demonized for Profit

Why does almost everybody fear saturated animal fat? The answer is simple—marketing. The sellers of artificial fats and artificial oils would have no market if people continued to use saturated animal fats that have nourished humankind for eons. The only way to get people to give up these tasty and wonderful foods would be to either come up with something better, or make people afraid to use them. They could not come up with any artificial food that was better or even close to being as good as those developed by nature. This left fear. Adolph Hitler said that if you repeated a lie often enough, and loudly enough, and repeated it with enough fervor, people would come to believe it.

It would be hard to find any concept that has been repeated as much, or stated so loudly, or advocated with such fervor as the “saturated fat is bad” untruth. The truth is that saturated animal fat from naturally fed animals is one of the most beneficial nutrients know. See the following article for more information: Know Your Fats Introduction. A good description of how America was misled is contained in the article The Oiling of America.

Saturated Animal Fat Supports the Natural Functions of the Brain and Body

Your brain is made of fat. So is mine. So is everybody’s. The right kind of fat is crucial to the proper functioning of the brain. A deficiency in fat can lead to mental and physical problems. The right kind of fat is—saturated animal fat. This fat, especially the fat from grassfed animals, contains a huge amount of vital nutrients. Animal fat, including the fat found in organ meats, is the only source of real Vitamin A. (Plants have beta carotene, which is not Vitamin A, but a precursor that a healthy body can use to make vitamin A.) Animal fat is by far the best source of essential fatty acids, which are crucial for nutritional support of the brain and many body functions. Animal fat contains substances that effect digestion, blood sugar, regulate the body’s production of hormones, enable the various parts of the brain to communicate effectively with each other, regulate the weight and metabolism of the body, and provide high-quality energy fuel that our bodies have been using for hundreds of thousands of years. Our bodies and brains are unbelievably complex organisms that are able to deal with almost any physical or mental challenge that is likely to arrive—if they have the nutritional fuel needed to function properly. This fuel includes saturated animal fats. A more detailed examination of the benefits of saturated animal fat can be found in this fine article: The Skinny on Fats.

Traditional Peoples Knew the Value of Saturated Fat

Dr. Weston A. Price spent ten years studying the diets of traditional peoples. The healthy peoples he studied were free of the chronic diseases that ravage our “civilized” world—such as cancer, heart disease, allergies, infertility, asthma, birth defects, etc—as long as they ate their traditional diet. These traditional diets contained far more nutrients than ours. While there was a lot of variety in these diets, all of them included a huge amount of saturated animal and/or fish fat.

This fat, from animals eating their natural diet, has been perhaps the most valued food in the history of humankind. People, from ancient Rome to 19th century Russia, used to write poems celebrating the blessings of animal fats. When animals were sacrificed to the pagan gods, the most valued part of the animal—the fat—was offered. Many peoples had a tradition of having a lot of food after a funeral. Whether it was the Jewish custom of sitting Shiva, or the Irish custom of having a wake, or any of the others, foods high in animal fat were always served. These traditional people knew that these foods would calm the mind and help people deal with their grief. “Living off the fat of the land” was a famous saying that meant living the good life. Modern science has discovered many of the benefits of this most valued food: Some Recent Studies on Fats.

Animal Fat Is Wonderful in Cooking

Meat roasted with a covering of its own natural fat is far more tender and delicious. The fat bastes and cooks into the meat during the roasting process, keeping it tender, and adding superb flavor. Pot roasts and stews also have their flavor and gravies enhanced by this wonderful fat. Sausages and ground meat are much better, both in taste and nutrition, when they contain a healthy portion of life-giving animal fat. Steaks cooked with a rim of their own natural fat are more tender and have superb flavor. In fact, it is commonly accepted in cooking circles that most of the flavor of meat is in the fat.

Traditional peoples cooked with animal fat, with natural pork lard being the most widely used and popular cooking fat in human history. Lamb fat, beef tallow, bison fat, chicken fat, in fact, fat from every kind of meat animal, were also widely used.

I personally use saturated animal fat for cooking grassfed meats. Whether it is beef tallow, or butter, or natural lard, or duck fat, all of them are perfect for frying, basting and sautéing. But nothing can do more for the flavor and tenderness of cooking meat than its own natural coating of flavorful fat.

So I have a favor to ask from meat sellers, butchers, ranchers, and retailers – don’t trim all the fat off. Leave at least one quarter inch on the meat. Just one quarter inch. That’s all I ask.

This post is part of Real Food Wednesday Blog Carnival at Kelly the Kitchen Kop.

This post is part of Fight Back Friday Blog Carnival at Food Renegade.

This post is part of Monday Mania Blog Carnival at the Healthy Home Economist.