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Suet


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#1 Luckylies

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Posted 12 November 2005 - 06:15 PM

I just got a hunk of beef fat from the butcher. I'm trying to make pastry (Jamaican beef patties!) but I have no idea how "hunk of fat" becomes pastry. Do I render the hunk? shread it? I looked around the other threads, girl scouts honor....
does this come in pork?

My name's Emma Feigenbaum.

#2 rooftop1000

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Posted 12 November 2005 - 06:26 PM

From my personal Yahooing most pastry recepies say ...Finely Minced...so do the bird feeder ones :blink:


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#3 fifi

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Posted 13 November 2005 - 12:42 AM

I am betting that you need to render it. You can use the same method for lard that is described here. I would go with the more PITA stove top method for the beef fat if you are looking to use it for pastry.

I want one of your pies!!!!! (Damn. I live too far away.)
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#4 jackal10

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Posted 13 November 2005 - 12:54 AM

Suet is the fat from round the kidneys.
To use its easiest to chop fine, or to pass through a mincer with a little flour to stop sticking.
If you render it it becomes lard or dripping which is not the same at alll.

#5 fifi

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Posted 13 November 2005 - 02:01 AM

Hmmm . . . Here in the US, as far as I know, any solid beef fat is called suet. I have never heard that the kidney fat is differentiated. (But I will bet that the kidney fat is superior.)

Also, here the word "lard" is used for pork fat only. It is interesting that rendered beef fat could be called lard in the UK. And, I have always thought of "drippings" as the fat from roasting meat which would be very different from rendered fat. Rendered beef fat would be called "suet" here.

Linguistic differences are really interesting but I am wondering what is meant for the pies. I can see that minced fat versus rendered fat would produce different results.

I still want one of those pies. :biggrin:
Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

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#6 Richard_D

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Posted 13 November 2005 - 03:03 AM

Hmmm . . . Here in the US, as far as I know, any solid beef fat is called suet. I have never heard that the kidney fat is differentiated. (But I will bet that the kidney fat is superior.)

Also, here the word "lard" is used for pork fat only. It is interesting that rendered beef fat could be called lard in the UK. And, I have always thought of "drippings" as the fat from roasting meat which would be very different from rendered fat. Rendered beef fat would be called "suet" here.

Linguistic differences are really interesting but I am wondering what is meant for the pies. I can see that minced fat versus rendered fat would produce different results.

I still want one of those pies. :biggrin:

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Hi,

Over here in the UK the minced kidney fat is suet and has a different texture to normal beef fat. If you're going to use it in pies then I wouldn't render the fat, you won't get the same result especially if you're making shortcrust pastry then it really won't end up as 'short'.

I know rendered beef fat (from the roasted meat) as 'dripping' which is great thinly spread on toast or for frying potatoes in (my arteries are closing up just thinking about it) :biggrin:

#7 fifi

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Posted 13 November 2005 - 05:52 AM

This is an interesting discussion of linguistics. And technique.

I really don't know of a "pie" recipe here that would call for minced fat, but then, I don't know everything. But I could see how that could yield an interesting texture. Is that a traditional technique? I am thinking of the technique of using minced fat rather than rendered fat. I am now wondering if finely minced dense pork fat is ever used in "traditional" recipes here.
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"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

#8 jackal10

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Posted 13 November 2005 - 06:25 AM

Many old boiled pudding recipes call for shredded suet. Rare good ballast for an empty stomach. You can't make really good dumplings without suet.

Essential for Christmas pudding
Beefsteak puddings (not pies) and their variants - steak and kidney, steak and oyster.
To quote Dickens (in Dr Marigold)
"I knocked up a beefsteak pudding for one, with two kidneys, a dozen oysters and a couple of mushrooms thrown in. It's a pudding to put a man in good humour with everything, except the two bottom buttons of his waistcoat"

Also essential for roly poly, either savoury, such as bacon and leek ("dead leg or boiled baby"), or sweet such as jam
Treacle pudding goes without saying
Plum Duff, and any number more...

#9 Luckylies

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Posted 13 November 2005 - 07:20 AM

okay, I rendered it and it's how i thought it would be (like melted fat) I'm sure it will solidify and be easy to cut into flour and thus, make pastry. I can't really imagine trying to knead hardbits of beef fat into flour for pastry...would that really work? Maybe cows have hard and soft fat and I got the wrong kind? I'd really like definitive answers.... :blink:
does this come in pork?

My name's Emma Feigenbaum.

#10 jackal10

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Posted 13 November 2005 - 08:23 AM

It ends up as small pieces of fat in the pastry, soft enough to roll and that melt over the long cooking and give it texture

#11 Luckylies

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Posted 13 November 2005 - 10:10 AM

Yep. The rendered suet came out of the fridge rock solid so I shaved it and waited until it softened up a bit. I then proceeded as usual in making my pastry. I'm quite excited!
does this come in pork?

My name's Emma Feigenbaum.

#12 ruthcooks

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Posted 13 November 2005 - 07:20 PM

OK, here's your definitive answer. Suet is the solid white fat around the kidneys and loins of cattle and sheep. It is usually finely chopped for use in recipes. If you can get someone to show you a piece of suet and a piece of ordinary beef fat, you will readily see the difference in texture. Suet is harder, regular fat is slippery.

When suet is rendered, it becomes useful for making candles and polishing leather, not for cooking purposes. In that case, the rendered fat is called tallow. Rendered regular beef fat is just called beef fat, as far as I know.
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#13 Chris Amirault

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Posted 13 November 2005 - 07:39 PM

Update, please, Emma -- with photos if possible!
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#14 Luckylies

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Posted 13 November 2005 - 07:41 PM

OK, here's your definitive answer.  Suet is the solid white fat around the kidneys and loins of cattle and sheep. It is usually finely chopped for use in recipes.  If you can get someone to show you a piece of suet and a piece of ordinary beef fat, you will readily see the difference in texture.  Suet is harder, regular fat is slippery.

When suet is rendered, it becomes useful for making candles and polishing leather, not for cooking purposes.  In that case, the rendered fat is called tallow.  Rendered regular beef fat is just called beef fat, as far as I know.

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so I made tallow? not good to cook with? uh oh
:sad:
does this come in pork?

My name's Emma Feigenbaum.

#15 Luckylies

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Posted 13 November 2005 - 08:11 PM

Update, please, Emma -- with photos if possible!

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Jamaican beef patty thread
:biggrin:
does this come in pork?

My name's Emma Feigenbaum.

#16 jackal10

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Posted 14 November 2005 - 12:25 PM

Posted Image

Kate and Sidney Pudding

(the secret is a little black molasses in the pastry)

#17 Michael Ruhlman

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Posted 14 November 2005 - 06:47 PM

one of the many reasons i love this site, this discussion of fat.

rendered beef fat is fantastic to cook with. it's highly saturated (why it's so hard at room temp). It's great to cook potatoes in, and adds great flavor to Yorkshire pudding.

preferred fat for pastry is rendered pork fat, lard.

#18 fifi

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Posted 14 November 2005 - 07:58 PM

And . . . For lard for pastry, check out this method. The white stuff is what you want to use for sweet recipes. You get that from the stove top method.

What i want to know is where one can get good suet. I am not afraid of saturated fat. There is emerging evidence that saturated fat isn't all that bad for us. It is the artificially created trans fats that may be a problem. Granted, my genetics may be to blame for my good cholesterol numbers. But, then, I gave up all trans fats that I could get away from (can't say about restaurant food) several years ago. There is no margarine in my house, only butter. After all, we evolved eating saturated animal fats. A little good beef suet probably never hurt anyone.
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#19 McDuff

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Posted 14 November 2005 - 08:14 PM

Rare good ballast for an empty stomach.

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Had to think about that for a second. What's taters?

#20 Michael Ruhlman

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Posted 14 November 2005 - 08:58 PM

And . . . For lard for pastry, check out this method. The white stuff is what you want to use for sweet recipes. You get that from the stove top method.

What i want to know is where one can get good suet. I am not afraid of saturated fat. There is emerging evidence that saturated fat isn't all that bad for us. It is the artificially created trans fats that may be a problem. Granted, my genetics may be to blame for my good cholesterol numbers. But, then, I gave up all trans fats that I could get away from (can't say about restaurant food) several years ago. There is no margarine in my house, only butter. After all, we evolved eating saturated animal fats. A little good beef suet probably never hurt anyone.

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great comments and excellent visuals in the recipe. shows the difference between pork fat that is rendered, the white stuff, fat that has cooked and gotten brown and will have a roasted flavor. I didn't know about the third rendering.

Now: tell me, fifi, why does it seem as though lard has such a greater shortening capacity when you cut it into flour than butter or any other kind of fat used for pastry. ???

Also, suet is regularly at my cleveland grocery store. have your grocery store get it for you, at the very least. won't be grass fed but it will hard and crystalline.

Edited by Michael Ruhlman, 14 November 2005 - 09:00 PM.


#21 jackal10

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Posted 15 November 2005 - 01:50 AM

taters is potatoes, usually roast

#22 fifi

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Posted 15 November 2005 - 03:32 AM

. . . . .
Now: tell me, fifi, why does it seem as though lard has such a greater shortening capacity when you cut it into flour than butter or any other kind of fat used for pastry.  ???
. . . . .

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Well, versus butter, lard is pure fat, no water. I can't say about versus any other fats. I am not a baker so I don't have a lot of experience with the other fats.
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"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

#23 Adam Balic

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Posted 15 November 2005 - 04:05 AM

one of the many reasons i love this site, this discussion of fat.

rendered beef fat is fantastic to cook with.  it's highly saturated (why it's so hard at room temp).  It's great to cook potatoes in, and adds great flavor to Yorkshire pudding.

preferred fat for pastry is rendered pork fat, lard.

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If you ever get access to deer suet, it seems to have an even higher melting point then beef suet. I was given a recipe for a Cloutie dumpling (similar to a light version of a boiled Christmas pudding) from a Stalker's wife that uses this fat and it does give a different character to the pudding.

If you scroll down on this thread you will see a demo I did on suet dumplings.

#24 Michael Ruhlman

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Posted 15 November 2005 - 06:07 AM

. . . . .
Now: tell me, fifi, why does it seem as though lard has such a greater shortening capacity when you cut it into flour than butter or any other kind of fat used for pastry.  ???
. . . . .

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Well, versus butter, lard is pure fat, no water. I can't say about versus any other fats. I am not a baker so I don't have a lot of experience with the other fats.

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of course, what knucklehead i am. thanks.

i've tried making a dough using duck fat--i was hoping to make a laminated dough with it, but it's just too soft at room temp.

and that's interesting about the deer suet--i'll try to get some from my hunter friends.

#25 Corinna Dunne

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Posted 15 November 2005 - 06:56 AM

It ends up as small pieces of fat in the pastry, soft enough to roll and that melt over the long cooking and give it texture

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This is the key difference in how you cook with the two fats. Suet is always added shredded and not cut in or rubbed in as for shortcrust pastry, nor is the dough rolled and turned like flaky pastry. It is a much more rustic type of pastry and does taste much fattier and more savoury although it is very good in jam roly poly too!

Jack, that pudding looks wonderful.
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#26 Michael Ruhlman

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Posted 15 November 2005 - 09:34 AM

It ends up as small pieces of fat in the pastry, soft enough to roll and that melt over the long cooking and give it texture

View Post

This is the key difference in how you cook with the two fats. Suet is always added shredded and not cut in or rubbed in as for shortcrust pastry, nor is the dough rolled and turned like flaky pastry. It is a much more rustic type of pastry and does taste much fattier and more savoury although it is very good in jam roly poly too!

Jack, that pudding looks wonderful.

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don't you render the suet first? there's connective tissue and other stuff, no?

#27 Corinna Dunne

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Posted 15 November 2005 - 09:59 AM

It ends up as small pieces of fat in the pastry, soft enough to roll and that melt over the long cooking and give it texture

View Post

This is the key difference in how you cook with the two fats. Suet is always added shredded and not cut in or rubbed in as for shortcrust pastry, nor is the dough rolled and turned like flaky pastry. It is a much more rustic type of pastry and does taste much fattier and more savoury although it is very good in jam roly poly too!

Jack, that pudding looks wonderful.

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don't you render the suet first? there's connective tissue and other stuff, no?

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No, it doesn't need to be rendered. I've just had a look in Delia Smith (an old hand at traditional British cooking) and she says that if you get the suet from the butcher, it needs to be separated out from the skin etc and grated finely. I have never done this and just used the easier option of store bought suet in a packet. Regardless of whether you are making the suet yourself or not, it is just sprinkled in on top of the flour, seasoned, mixed around a bit, before the water is added very gradually and the whole thing is brought together as a dough. It is rolled out slightly more thickly than shortcrust. Delia mentions that it is always made with self raising flour to give it a lift and lighten the final crust. As Jack mentioned, the heat melts the fat as it cooks. Maybe he can chime in with a bit more detail. I'm no expert on this.
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#28 Adam Balic

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Posted 15 November 2005 - 10:24 AM

The raising agents in self-raising flour are a 19th century addition, I agree that they add extra lightness, but the point of using the suet in the first place is to give a light textured dough. Suet doughs are definately rich, but if they are well made with a gentle hand they should be light.

If puddings are made in a cloth are lighter then those made in a bowl, but it takes skill and practice to make the complicated recipes.

#29 hwilson41

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Posted 15 November 2005 - 11:14 AM

What i want to know is where one can get good suet.

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Fifi, the trick is to find a real, honest to God butcher, not one of the make believe wannabes that populate most supermarket meat counters these days. I go down to the Eastern Market in DC to Union Meat Co, and they either have or will get you anything you want in the meat line. And best of all, they're competitive on price. I'm still fiddling around off and on with trying to make real Texas Hot Links, and want them to be all beef, like the ones we ate when I was growing up in Fort Worth (I think). So I decided I needed suet for the fat. Suet didn't seem to exist in any of the regular supermarkets around here, so I went to Union. Sure enough, he said he could get it for me, but I'd have to take the whole chunk (from an Angus kidney). It was 70 cents per pound, and I ended up with a bit over 12 pounds :wacko:, but that's fine with me because I'll freeze it in 1 pound packs and it will, I'm guessing, keep til the end of time.

I am not afraid of saturated fat. There is emerging evidence that saturated fat isn't all that bad for us. It is the artificially created trans fats that may be a problem.... There is no margarine in my house, only butter. After all, we evolved eating saturated animal fats. A little good beef suet probably never hurt anyone.

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I'm loving this news :raz: :biggrin:. I have suspected this for a long time, and there hasn't been a stick of margerine in our house for at least 25 years, but the new info on trans fats is just starting to get widely circulated. Thanks for sharing that.
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#30 fifi

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Posted 15 November 2005 - 11:49 AM

I have just called around to some of our real butchers and they say they can't get it. :sad: I am finding that hard to believe. My next try will be some restauranteur in the area that does British cuisine and see if they have a source.

As to freezing the suet, I have some questions. I freeze lard all the time. Heck, it keeps in the fridge in a jar forever. I do store all of my fats in canning jars (wide mouth for the freezer) so that they don't pick up off flavors. But, lard has been rendered so there is no enzymatic activity, because of the heat, to cause it to go off. If you freeze suet as it comes from the cow, will there be residual enzymatic activity left in the tissue, even assuming that it is stored in a real freezer at 0 degrees F or lower? I really don't know. I do know that seafood fat, like crawfish fat, doesn't keep worth a damn due to enzymatic activity, even at low temperatures. (Typical boiled crawfish, when done right, doesn't get hot enough to inactivate enzymes. Or, so I am told.)

McGee is mute on this subject.
Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose