I like to render my own animal fat in the crock pot. Of course this requires scraps of fat.
One local grocer occasionally has scraps of organic pastured pork fat and sells them for $1.99/lb. But they don't separate conventional from grassfed beef fat and I don't want to buy the grab bag of who knows what.
And the whole foods butcher always looks at me like I'm crazy.
Does anyone have a good strategy for getting a butcher or grocery store manager (i.e. whole foods) to set aside grassfed beef or pastured pork fat? Any particularly good online sources or strategies of working with a farmer?
Recently, I went to the butcher and asked him if he could cut me a slab of ribeye with as much fat as possible on it. This was at a small independent butcher shop and not at a big grocery store chain. I told him I wanted as much fat as possible and do NOT cut any fat off at all. He said that one was a first for him! But he went back and got me a ribeye steak with a lot more fat on it than normal. We talked a bit and he said he could probably get more fat if cutting out a porterhouse steak but it would also have some bone. I will try that next. What I really want is a piece of meat that is half fat and half red meat. Maybe I will ask him if I can also get some fat saved from other cuts for other people and he could give me that as well. Seems to me, currently, fat is usually cut off so a butcher might be happy to be able to give you that which is usually cut off and then charge you for it. We are asking for what is usually the unwanted part!
Really? Whole Foods gives me the easiest time, here. The other big chains get cuts shipped in already trimmed. I've heard that packaging plants will oblige, as well, but I haven't tried it myself. You might also try calling a place that sells whole cows, because most people probably don't want the fat.
I buy my grass-fed meats directly from a farmer, and he gives me all the fat I want, for free. Unfortunately, I'm not a big fan of tallow.
I buy all my other meats from an organic & bio-dynamic butcher down the road from me, and he is happy to store up free-range pork fat for me, for free :D Fantastic! I'm not allowing myself to get any more to make lard with until I use up my tallow though, so it might be a while... I'm going through a lot of butter instead, which is just silly!! I might have to force myself to use more tallow - maybe I'll develop a taste for it!
I've only done it once, but I got a bunch of suet for free from a grass-fed farm stand at the NYC Union Square farmer's market. The tallow I rendered it into was great and lasted for quite a while. Next time I might try to make soap!
I got some from a local butcher, but the quality was very poor, not really suet, mostly gristle. I finally got some high quality suet... 11 lbs worth. I'm in the middle of rendering that now, and should have tallow for a year, mayne more! Good thing it freezes well. I had to really beg though, over several trips. They normally use it for making soap and really good grass fed hot dogs, which they can make more $$ off of.