Can I Cook With Animal Fat?

I was emailed this question after last Wednesday’s post, The Best Fats to Cook With. To be clear, the person isn’t asking whether or not to keep the fat on your steak while you BBQ it, but rather purchasing duck fat or lard (pig fat), and greasing your pan with it.

If you haven’t read the article, it suggests cooking with ‘highly-saturated’ fats because they’re more resistant to oxidation (no unpaired electrons) and therefore less likely to cause free radical damage. And at first glance, it would appear that most animal fats fair quite well – high in saturated fat + low in polyunsaturated fat.


However, the challenge with animal fats is that the quantities you see above are far more awesome than what can be obtained at your local grocery store. For example:

It’s been suggested that the 8% polyunsaturated fat you see above for pork, could be well over 30%, depending on the animal feed given to the pig. 

In other words, those nutritionally degenerate crops (grains, soy, corn) are not only wrecking our bodies, but they’re lowering the quality, and changing the fat composition, of our meat.

For this reason, and the superiority and convenience of the other sources, I’d suggest sticking with tropical oils as your primary cooking oil. Should you decide to experiment with animal fat, look for grass-fed red meat sources, free-run poultry sources, and always antibiotic and hormone-free.

blog - quality animal fat

Sadly, the terms ‘organic’ and ‘natural’ can be misused when it comes to meat. In general, companies are usually advertising or displaying these keywords because they’re NOT free-range or grass-fed. Your best bet is visiting a local farmer that lets you visit and look around at the quality standards.

Stay Lean!

Coach Mike