I'm a newbie to paleo cooking, and discovering that many of the oils I used to use may not be as healthy as I thought they were. I hear lots of talk of PUFAs and too much omega-6... What are the best oils/fats that you cook with?
i use coconut oil for high heat stuff, pastured pork lard or bacon fat for special occasions, and ghee for when i want a rich butter flavor. i dont typically use EVOO for cooking. they are great mixed, too- EVOO and ghee for a quick sautee, coconut oil and ghee are yummy together, too.
Naturally raised, pastured animal fat is best for all types of cooking. Grass-fed tallow, lard, butter (clarified or otherwise), etc. Extra virgin, cold pressed, unrefined, coconut oil and palm oil are okay in a pinch although there are issues with all vegetable oils. I find it easier to avoid them.
The only plant oil I use for cooking is coconut, which I use relatively often.
Animal fats I use include bacon fat (I use a lot of that because I collect it), butter, ghee, tallow (rarely), and I intend to try using non-bacon lard.
I mainly use lard, but add to it coconut oil or butter depending on what I'm cooking. I also store my bacon fat and will add that for flavour. I have olive oil for salad dressings, but do not use it heated.
I throw a tablespoon or two of grassfed beef fat or grassfed lamb fat in a pan and heat it gently over a low flame. It renders in a few minutes -- in other words, oil melts out of it -- and that's what I use. I do this for exactly the reasons you describe. I think animal fat is healthier than vegetable fat.
Coconut oil is your safest bet for all types of cooking. Olive oil, which people often use for stir frying, sautéing and the like isn't the best idea. Olive oil isn't meant to be heated to high temperatures, and converts to carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons when it is. Coconut oil, on the other hand, can sustain high heats, is nutritious, and completely safe. Olive oil is great if you only heat it for a minute or so, or use it raw.