Author Topic: How to get more healthy, tasty, affordable animal fat in my diet?  (Read 7365 times)

Offline dman

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My diet consists only of meat, fruit, salt, and water. That's it. No herbs, seasonings, vegetables, etc. And by "meat," I mean 100% grass-fed beef and wild seafood.

Currently, I'm struggling to get enough healthy, tasty, inexpensive animal fat in my diet. When I used to have significantly more money and selection, and a grill, it was easier.  I regularly cooked things like short ribs on my grill, and consumed things like uni (sea urchin gonads) raw.

Then I got poor, moved to a town with way less selection, and moved into an apartment where I can't grill.  Fortunately, I found an extemeley inexpensive source of grass-fed beef (a wholesaler who sells to the public), and have been practically living off the stuff.

Problem is, I'm not getting enough fat in my diet, and I'm suffering. I'm so sick of steak--even the fattiest ribeyes and strip steaks I can find--and I'm not a fan of straight marrow.  It seems that short ribs are the only cut fatty enough for me to feel satisfied on a regular basis.  I don't believe my butcher has grass-fed short ribs available. I suppose I could special order them, but I don't think I'd be able to cook them satisfactorily without a grill (though perhaps it's worth trying).

I'm finding myself craving fatty fish like wild sea bass, but it's extremely expensive and not available where I live. I'm not a big fan of salmon, but that's too expensive too.  Fresh sardines, anchovies, and mackerel are relatively cheap, but again, they're not available in the lower class town I just moved to.  I used to love mussels, but I got sick of them. I could practically live off of live (cooked) crawdads, but again, too expensive.  Same with live shrimp (I don't like the taste of shrimp that isn't cooked live). Same with live crab. Clams are ok, but too tough. I don't like most fish, because it's too lean.  Shiro maguro tataki (relatively fatty albacore tuna raw on the inside, seared on the outside by myself) is delicious, but probably too expensive (but maybe worth looking for, since I can store it frozen). Uni is too expensive and not available where I live. Same with geoduck clams (yum).  I'm open to trying other fish if people have ideas. Note that I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, and I like to eat food that is fresh and ideally local.

I know this is a tall order, but does anyone have any ideas?

To read more about my diet, see my food journal at http://cavemanforum.com/food-journals/dman's-extremist-meat-and-fruit-paleo-journal/

Thanks in advance for your help!

By the way, please don't bother suggesting extraneous sources of fat such as butter, grease, oil, lard, or tallow. I want a natural solution that doesn't involve combining foods or supplementing my diet with extracted foods.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2012, 11:12:36 AM by dman »

Offline Artem

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Re: How to get more healthy, tasty, affordable animal fat in my diet?
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2012, 01:38:39 PM »
Why don't you look at ground beef?
The max you can get is 70% lean ground with 30% of the magical fat. Your butcher should have some grass-fed stuff for you. It's cheaper than rib eyes ;)

Animal fat is saturated. Why not substitute with coconut oil/milk? Pure saturated fat, but even better staff.

I hope that helps.

Good luck and stay healthy!

UPD by the way, see my steak website for the recipes: http://www.steakeat.com/

All the best,

Artem


Offline dman

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Re: How to get more healthy, tasty, affordable animal fat in my diet?
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2012, 01:42:38 PM »
Why don't you look at ground beef?
The max you can get is 70% lean ground with 30% of the magical fat. Your butcher should have some grass-fed stuff for you. It's cheaper than rib eyes ;)

Animal fat is saturated. Why not substitute with coconut oil/milk? Pure saturated fat, but even better staff.

I hope that helps.

Good luck and stay healthy!

UPD by the way, see my steak website for the recipes: http://www.steakeat.com/

All the best,

Artem


Thanks Artem.  I'm dairy intolerant. And I don't like coconut oil. Plus, I doubt our ancient ancestors ate either.

I've special ordered 75/25 grass-fed from my butcher, but bored of it quickly.

I just bought some fresh (never frozen) wild king salmon bellies, collars, and trimmings at a steep discount today. Fingers crossed that they do the trick! :)

Offline goodsamaritan

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Re: How to get more healthy, tasty, affordable animal fat in my diet?
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2012, 04:55:56 AM »
raw bone marrow is the best - but expensive

my sister in law buys grass fed butter oil (not technically paleo for some people's taste)

my sister in law also buys grass fed ghee (not technically paleo for some people's taste)

I also get fatty fish sashimi - but again expensive.

I get small fish and fillet them in Japanese vinegar as a ceviche.  The raw fish skin is fatty... depends on the fish.  And these smaller fish are cheaper.

I get raw organic duck eggs... pretty cheap in my country.

I also get avocados when in season.  I also get young coconut meat or older coconut for coconut milk.

Lamb usually has fatty cuts with fat.

I usually would buy fatty steaks with thick raw fat.  See photo below.


Offline dman

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Re: How to get more healthy, tasty, affordable animal fat in my diet?
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2012, 10:57:40 AM »
Thanks, Goodsamaritan, for the ideas.

I'm egg and dairy intolerant.  Fresh, local coconuts are too expensive here (the imported ones are often rotten).  I don't like the gaminess of lamb.  I'm not a fan of avocados or marrow.  Fatty fish sashimi is expensive, fresh small fish aren't available in my area, and I'm tired of steak.  But it's a good list, and I appreciate the effort! :)


Offline Warren Dew

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Re: How to get more healthy, tasty, affordable animal fat in my diet?
« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2012, 11:45:20 PM »
If the issue with the steaks is that they are too lean, perhaps you could see of your butcher can cut some from the primal before trimming the fat.

Offline dman

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Re: How to get more healthy, tasty, affordable animal fat in my diet?
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2012, 07:45:01 PM »
If the issue with the steaks is that they are too lean, perhaps you could see of your butcher can cut some from the primal before trimming the fat.

Thanks, Warren.  It's a good idea, but the problem is that I am an extremely picky eater (if you haven't noticed already), and adding a big hunk of fat to a lean piece of meat doesn't make it much better for me than the lean meat alone.  What I like is well-marbled meat, and it seems that that's very hard to find in grass-fed (occasionally, I get lucky, and find a well-marbled cut, but it's rare).

That said, I do have one possible solution: The most delicious cut I've found is the filet mignon portion of the grass-fed porterhouse steaks from my local butcher.  Problem is, most of the porterhouse is New York strip, which is tender but way too lean.  On the other hand, the pre-cut filet mignons they sell are also very lean, with no fat attached.  But the filet mignons that are attached to the porterhouse always seem to have a nice amount of fat that melts right into the super-tender filet mignon.  So what I'm thinking of doing is asking my butcher to cut me some filet mignon with the fat attached.  I know it's expensive (relatively speaking; it's still 1/3 the price I've found at other butchers, since it's a wholesaler in a poor neighborhood), but it's the only steak I feel like eating these days, since I've become so picky and fat-deprived.

On another note, I pan-fried some grass-fed Korean L.A. style short ribs (also known as "flanken cut") in their own fat (like bacon).  It wasn't quite as good as the short ribs I used to grill, but close.  The flavor is incomparable.  And they were beautifully marbled.  Problem is, short ribs are extremely tough and chewy, unless you slow-cook them (I once cooked them sous vide for 72 hours, and they melted in my mouth), so it's not something I feel like eating on a regular basis.

Finally, the other day, I found some fresh (never frozen) wild king salmon trimmings, bellies, and collars for a fraction of the price of the steaks and filets.  Ironically, I like these scraps better than the more expensive steaks and filets, because they have more fat.  I cooked them in a roasting pan in the oven, which was a bad idea, because they drowned in their own fat and didn't get hot enough.  Next time, I think I'll try broiling (so the fat can drain) and pan-frying, so they can get hotter and get a better sear, followed by a quick drying on paper towels.  I wasn't a big fan of the collars, but the trimmings and bellies were great (though too greasy and not well-enough browned).  Fingers crossed they'll do the trick next time.

I still welcome other ideas, should anyone have any.

Offline dman

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Re: How to get more healthy, tasty, affordable animal fat in my diet?
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2013, 08:18:02 PM »
Ok, I completed two experiments in the last two days.  One was a success; the other was a failure.

First, the success: I tried cooking fresh (never frozen) wild king salmon bellies and trimmings (not collars, which I don't like as much) again.  Last time, I baked at 500 degrees, and the fish was overcooked.  This time, I broiled half, and pan-fried the other half.  In both cases, I used no added fat.

Both were excellent.  In fact, they were the tastiest meats I've cooked since having to give up my grill and eat frugally.  I had a slight preference for the pan-fried; my girlfriend had a slight preference for the broiled.  In the future, I think I'll pan-fry, if only because I have a non-toxic, non-stick frying pan, but no non-stick broiling pan, so the fish stuck much more to the broiler pan, which meant lost meat.

I must say, I much prefer bellies and trimmings to filets and steaks, even though the latter costs about three times as much as the former.  I prefer the bellies and trimmings over filets and steaks for two reasons:

1. More fat.

2. Higher surface area to volume ration, which means a higher percentage of the meat gets seared, which is the part I enjoy the most.  (I prefer 1 inch filet mignons over 2 inch filet mignons for the same reason.)

Of course, trimmings have more bones than filets and steaks, but a little extra time removing bones is definitely worth it to me.

Oh, by the way, I put the fish on paper towelsóas with baconóto sop up some of the grease after cooking, not because I think eating lots of fat is unhealthy (I don't), but simply because it tastes better to me that way.

I'm excited to have discovered such a tasty, healthy, economical meat source.  I plan to continue cooking it and see what else I need to stay satiated.  I suspect that I'll start craving fatty filet mignon after eating salmon for many meals, but we'll see :)

The failed experiment:

I tried slow-roasting three things last night:

-English-style short ribs

-beef shank

-lamb shank

I put them on a rack over a roasting pan filled with water, so that the steam would prevent the meat from drying too much.  I browned them in the oven at 500 degrees for 20 minutes, then reduced the heat to 300 for about 3 hours.

I didn't like any of them.  The lamb was too gamey (even though it was high-quality and 100% grass-fed; lamb is almost always too gamey for me, unless it's very high-quality and highly seasoned).  The beef shank was too tough.  And the short ribs just didn't taste very good.  Not worth trying any of these meats again. 

(The one time I really enjoyed short ribs was when I cooked them sous vide [vacuum-sealed in plastic, them held in a temperature-controlled water bath at a relatively low temperature] for 72 hours, followed by searing with a blowtorch.  It came out extremely tender, and perfectly seared.  However, I quickly lost interest in sous vide, in large part because it doesn't feel "primal.")
« Last Edit: January 03, 2013, 08:32:48 PM by dman »

Offline Warren Dew

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Re: How to get more healthy, tasty, affordable animal fat in my diet?
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2013, 11:26:43 PM »
The salmon sounds good!

While sous vide may not seem primal, pit roasted beef - where you bury a whole cow with hot coals for a day or two - seems pretty primal and has pretty much the same effect of prolonged cooking at relatively low temperature.

Offline dman

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Re: How to get more healthy, tasty, affordable animal fat in my diet?
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2013, 11:38:22 PM »
While sous vide may not seem primal, pit roasted beef - where you bury a whole cow with hot coals for a day or two - seems pretty primal and has pretty much the same effect of prolonged cooking at relatively low temperature.

Good point.  I guess I just like instant gratification, rather than planning long in advance :)

UPDATE: For some unknown reason, I quickly tired of salmon.  It no longer appeals to me.

I have not, however, lost my taste for filet mignon.  That's been my staple for the last couple of days.  Unfortunately, my butcher is unable to cut me fatty portions of filet mignonólike the ones often found as part of a porterhouse or t-bone steakóbecause they receive the meat with the fat already removed, and I get the sense (though I could be wrong) that much of the tenderloin doesn't have much fat attached in the first place.

I did try buying a hunk of beef fat (trimmed off a hunk of meat that was then cut into NY strip steaks) for a dollar a pound, to make up for the leanness of the filet mignon.  However, it didn't really help.  I rendered it and then fried the filet mignon in it.  I found that it led to the inside of the filet overcooking, and it didn't change the flavor of the meat much, either positively or negatively.  I also friend up some pieces of the fat, into what I suppose you could call "cracklin's," as they're sometimes called when they come from pork rather than beef.  They were ok, but not particularly satisfying.  I think I'll probably be throwing away the rest of the fat, as I can find no use for it.

The filet mignons that I buy come prewrapped in strips of bacon.  I used to throw the bacon away, since it's full of unhealthy nitrates and comes from non-pastured pigs.  However, tonight I decided to leave the bacon on the filet, to get some extra fat.  It did the trick in terms of satisfying my fat craving.  However, the extra layer of insulation that the bacon served for the filet led to the inside of the filet being undercooked, and prevented the edges of the filet from being seared.  So for the next filet, I simply unwrapped the bacon and cooked it separately from the filet, which I enjoyed much more.  I may continue to do this for the near future.  However, it is not an ideal solution in the long run, because bacon doesn't seem to be particularly healthy.

I'm thinking of adding avocados to my diet.  Back when I was vegan, years ago, I used to love avocados.  However, since going paleo, I've kind of lost interest in avocados.  Normally, I don't like them much.  But perhaps I could start to enjoy them again, especially if I'm not getting much animal fat in my diet.  We'll see whether I can re-aquire a taste for avocados or not. 

In other news, I noticed that I started craving scallops tonight.  The problem is, good-quality scallops are extremely expensive, and there's no wholesaler close enough to where I live to justify the drive.  Perhaps I need to look harder.  Also, I don't know how much I'd enjoy scallops with no added fat, but I'd like to experiment.  We'll see...

Offline UKtroglodyte

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Re: How to get more healthy, tasty, affordable animal fat in my diet?
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2013, 11:53:05 AM »
Instead of throwing the fat away, you could use it to cook things like mushrooms and courgettes. By soaking up the fat, they make an easy way to eat more fat along with your meat.

You could also cook your scallops in beef fat.

Offline dman

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Re: How to get more healthy, tasty, affordable animal fat in my diet?
« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2013, 07:30:31 PM »
Instead of throwing the fat away, you could use it to cook things like mushrooms and courgettes. By soaking up the fat, they make an easy way to eat more fat along with your meat.

You could also cook your scallops in beef fat.

Good ideas.  However, I prefer not to combine foods.  I like to eat all of my food by itself, as the first cooking homonids might have, so I can rely on my instincts as much as possible to guide the way.

That said, I decided to try frying up the beef fat one more time, and was more successful the second time.  What made it better was: (1) slicing the fat thin, so it cooks all the way through without burning the surface, and (2) removing and discarding the skin before cooking the fat, as the skin is extremely tough and difficult to chew.  Cooking it this way, it was actually pretty tasty.

I've special ordered more fat, which I'll pick up tomorrow, and which I plan to try cooking in the oven.  I'll try to remember to post here how it goes :)

Offline dman

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Re: How to get more healthy, tasty, affordable animal fat in my diet?
« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2013, 04:33:22 PM »
Quick update on cooking straight beef fat: I did a bit more experimentation, and came to the following conclusions:

1. Contrary to what I said before, I strongly recommend cooking it in the oven over cooking on the stove, because:

   A. It cooks more evenly in the oven.

   B. The oven makes the skin crunchy, while the stove makes the skin rubbery.

   C. Less smoke, less splatter, less grease to mop up, less mess.

2. Unlike with other meats, it is best *not* to sear it first at a high temperature.  Reason being that it doesn't cook evenly throughout if one does so, and it's unnecessary because the fat gets well-browned in medium heat.  This time, I roasted it at 300 degrees for 1-1.5 hours, and it came out perfectly.  Check after 1 hour to make sure it doesn't overcook (remove when golden brown).

3. The thinner you can cut it, the better.  I mean cutting the sheets of fat with the blade of the knife parallel to the cutting board, so that you end up with a couple of thin sheets (about 1/8 of an inch).  Tricky, but worth the effort, even if the end result isn't pretty.  Reason being that this gives you more crunchy exterior, and less semi-liquid interior.

Delicious :)