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Barbecue Secrets

For the love of animal fat

Sep 30, 2008

As long as I can remember, I have always loved animal fat. Whether it's the perfect, silken round of beef fat in a rib eye steak, the crunchy, greasy cracklings on the back of a pork shoulder roast or the glistening molten fat coating a whole lamb on a spit, I can't get enough of it.

Every morning these days I make two pieces of toast and smear each of them with a big dollop of Oyama pork and duck rillettes, which must be about 60 percent fat. I never skim the fat from a roasting pan before I make gravy (What's the point of that?). I always cook and eat chicken with the skin on. And I must be the only guy on the planet that likes to make burgers from regular ground beef mixed with ground pork.

So imagine my surprise and delight last week when I met with my doctor to discuss the results of my latest physical. All indicators from the blood work were positive, including an extremely low bad cholesterol level and a high good cholesterol count.

I am a perfectly healthy 50 year old whose diet consists mainly of fatty meat. Woo hoo!

With this in mind, I was further delighted to see an interview on with Jennifer Mclagan, author of Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, With Recipes. Animal fat, it turns out, is good for us and has nothing to do with the health crisis facing North America these days.  Thank you, Jennifer, for lifting the guilt that's been eating me for quite a few years. I can now tuck into that rib eye with impunity, and continue to ask my favorite question at the family dinner table whenever I see some fat that's been trimmed off a steak: "Are you going to finish that?"