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Steaks ... Do you eat the fat?

When you've grilled your steak, do you eat the fat?

Not talking about the marbling.

But rather that ring of fat around the meat (sometimes referred to as the "bark").

So, do you eat the fat?

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    1. re: mamueller

      Definitely...it is indeed the best part, and I usually save it for last. I have no guilt about eating it either, since I eat steak infrequently. But I do savor the fatty bits. I could almost do without the meat.

    2. Depends on how thick it is. If it's not too thick, and has a tiny bit of char to it, then down the hatch. If it's thick and totally white, in the trash.

      6 Replies
      1. re: danhole

        Same. I will gnaw off the charred bit and gooey bit next to it, then dogs eat the thick solid white.

        1. re: danhole

          In the trash? The trash? With that face on your avatar looking up at you?

          1. re: alanbarnes

            I watch her diet more carefully than I do mine! No fat for her!

            1. re: danhole

              What a lucky Dog! That is so sweet.

            1. re: danhole

              Have to agree; a thin layer of crispy fat is delicious, but a thick layer of partially cooked fat can be off-putting. When I'm cooking at home, I usually trim my rib steaks to about 1/8 to 1/4 inch of fat, but to tell the truth, since I'm watching my weight, I usually buy AA (not AAA) beef, which usually has less visible fat and less marbling. It might not be as tender or juicy, but two friends have had heart problems in the last year, and at 50+.. I worry. Big rib steaks with a fat cap are something I only enjoy once or twice a year, and if I'm eating at a restaurant, I'll cut the fat off.

            2. No. I was always averse to that part of beef ever since I was a kid. I even had problems with the marbling when I was young. Do you know how hard it was to eat a fatty piece of meat like short ribs? Virtually impossible. I would try my best to chew on the leaner pieces of beef and wouldn't touch the fattier ones. Eye of round was my favorite cut because it was so lean. My parents were exasperated with my behavior. Luckily I outgrew that. But I still won't touch the bark.

              6 Replies
              1. re: Miss Needle

                Short ribs and steak are so different, but still, if you are adverse to fat, then that's that! You would have refused to eat the brisket I was served today. It was grandparents day at my grandsons school and the brisket they served me had so much fat on it, and covering it, that I could hardly choke it down. It was 50% fat and 50% meat, but the meat was so coated in fat it was awful. I even tried wrapping it in bread, but I ended up throwing half of it away. UGH!

                1. re: Miss Needle

                  We may have been separated at birth - my parents would always say I was leaving the best part of a pork chop. Today, if the fatty edge of the the chop is crispy, I'll eat a tiny bit for the flavor - it IS good! But even bacon - which I love - has to be one breath away from burned for me to enjoy it. It's a texture thing...... As to ribs, baby back (much leaner) over spares any day.

                  As to beef fat - gag and NEVAH! When served rib-eye, I eat the center and push away the remainder. People look at me like I've grown a second head. The filet part of a porterhouse is workable, but still suspect!

                  1. re: Miss Needle

                    The fat, connective tissue, and muscle all kind of meld into a perfect buttery perfection when short ribs are done correctly. Not to sound accusatory, but if you didnt think the short ribs were among the best of protein experiences you've ever had, they were likely not prepared correctly. Shout out for braising..

                    1. re: ZeTerroir

                      They were indeed prepared correctly in the Korean style of grilled short ribs otherwise known as kalbi. There is a world outside of braised short ribs. While it may not seem palatable to your tastes, quite a lot of Koreans and non-Koreans love it. There is also a Korean braised short rib dish called kalbi jim. I never had a problem with that because the fat and connective tissue did melt together, and I ate it whole with no problem. And if it wasn't clear in my original post, this is how I felt as a kid (meaning around 8 years old). I've overcome my fatty meat phobia, enjoying such cuts as pork belly. Had eye of round the other day and thought it was do damn tough. But I''m still not a fan of gnawing on chunks of fat.

                      1. re: Miss Needle

                        Give me kalbi, kalbi jim or bulgogi and I'm happy.

                        Kim Passadumkeg Chee

                        1. re: Passadumkeg

                          Oh, yeah. How could I forget about bulgogi. While I can happily much down the entire piece of meat in its entirety today, I had to cut around the fatty pieces when I was younger. I was definitely not a Chow Kid.

                  2. I usually allow myself one choice piece of fat and meat to start, especially a nicely charred one. After savoring that, I'll cut off the rest off. But I agree that's the best tasting part as long as it's not too thick.

                      1. re: don515

                        Me too...i trade my "real meat" for my husbands fat as well.

                      2. Rib eyes, the whole thing. Some NY strips need a little trimming before they hit the grill so that all is pleasantly edible.

                          1. re: kchurchill5


                            Do you trim before or after grilling?

                            Or do you avoid it entirely by eating cuts like the filet mignon?

                            1. re: ipsedixit

                              I trim a bit before, but leave enough to give good flavor. I just hate the flavor. I don't eat it on anything, maybe a little on pork chops, but very very little. I love filet, but that isn't all I eat. Marbeling I love, the fat, NOOOOO. Just cant, don't enjoy it. But I do cook with it. It adds tons of flavor.

                              1. re: kchurchill5

                                I'm confused... you "hate the flavor" but cook with it because it "adds tons of flavor"??? Is it a texture issue?

                                1. re: lynnlato

                                  I just hate eating it, but love the flavor it adds. Just texture, I can't eat it. Just tastes wierd as is, but I know it is important to cook with and adds flavor. I just cant eat it. I always trim all my fat all my steak after it is cooked.

                            2. re: kchurchill5

                              With you. Beef fat on its own, just tastes like fat. It renders down and makes a cuddly relationship with muscle in fatty cuts, but on its own, count me out. Pork/Duck/Goose fat is a different story. Of the fats, I would rank beef near the bottom.

                            3. LOVE the fat. I could eat it like candy. But usually after a melt-in-your- mouth piece or two I'll refrain. I don't want my heart exploding in my chest.

                              1. Ugh, this brings back memories. Apparently, when I was very young (so young I don't remember it, or so I like to claim) my parents report that ALL I would eat was the fat, and not touch the meat. Apparently, I experienced a sudden and dramatic about-face (or else gave myself an aversion after eating so much) that I then wouldn't touch the tiniest sliver of fat. To this day I can't stand the taste/texture of the fat and have an almost physical reaction to it. I almost exclusively eat filets and have to dissect them to remove any miniscule bit of fat.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: mjhals

                                  I'm with you there. I don't really eat steak very often at all now, but when I do, I absolutely can't eat the fat. For some reason it just makes me gag if I get a piece of fat by accident.

                                2. i cut small-ish pieces of the fat and double it on my fork with the lean.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: ScubaSteve

                                    I think our steak-eating style is quite similar. I fold the lean over the fat so I don't see it-- that way, it's not really there, is it?!

                                    1. re: Sarah

                                      correct. just like the way you avoid Ravenous Bug-blatter Beast Of Trall.

                                  2. Growing up, my Dad's favorite steak was a Porterhouse. In the 60's and 70's a steak was a whole different beast than it is today, and a Porterhouse then, as it is now, was the best cut. At least it was to my dad, and to me. I would sit next to him and beg like a dog for pieces of the fat, which he shared generously. Mom always bought Fillets for the rest of us, so I coveted that treat that was desert to me.
                                    Probably did a lot to set the stage for what are now unacceptable cholesteral levels, but hey, we didn't know all that stuff back then.

                                    1. She could eat no lean and he could eat no fat...

                                      The fat is one of the best parts. Yum

                                      1. Usually no, but if it's well-charred and not too chewy, then I'll partake.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Lucia

                                          I may try a little and I mean a little if well charred and not chewy. That would be it. I trim after cooking most or all of my off. I just don't enjoy it.

                                        2. If the fat's globby like jello, no way. But if it's a little carmelized, heck yeah! But I'm weird enough to love eating the gristle too...

                                          1. What fat? That white stuff is fat?

                                            1. I always felt guilty eating all the fat on steaks and chops, especially when in the presence of low-fat fanatics who would exhibit revulsion at my fat consumption. It hasn't affected my health one bit - I'm slim with cholesterol counts that are the envy of my physician. So it brings joy to my heart to read all these replies in favor of eating the fat. Glad to know that eating the fat is not aberrant behavior after all!

                                              1. Does it have to be grilled to answer? HAHA.
                                                Like many people, I find the fat has the best flavor.
                                                'Not talking about the marbling': as you know, its the marbling (intramuscular fat) that makes the flavor.
                                                Health issues aside, fat=flavor
                                                Pure fat=pure flavor.
                                                Why stick to steaks? Theres something sublime about that same ring of fat around a pork chop. What about smoked meat? Lean, medium, or fat? FAT PLEASE.
                                                What about proscuitto or lardo even?
                                                OK, I'm running on as usual...yeah I enjoy the fat around the steak. I try to mix and match as I'm eating so the flavor is enjoyed throughout the meal.

                                                1. Unless there is an obscene amount of fat, it is going down the hatch.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: MattInNJ

                                                    I paid a lot for that fat! A bite or two perhaps and the rest is the dog's. Have to drink lots of red wine with it, too... to supplement the Lipitor!

                                                  2. I don’t like a gelatinous blob of undercooked fat. My fat has to be cooked and preferably crispy. When there’s enough, I make sure a get a little piece with each bite of meat. Whether it’s beef, pork or lamb, I eat the fat. Chicken fat is another story.

                                                    9 Replies
                                                    1. re: cuccubear

                                                      Oooh, you made me gag. Chicken fat is disgusting. But fat on a steak? Bring it on, all of it. And I'll take, without shame, any that you're not going to eat. And fat on pork chops is the best part! But chicken... shudder. That goes to the cats & dogs!

                                                      1. re: Catskillgirl

                                                        You find fat on cooked chicken? Seems to me it pretty well renders off if the chicken is properly cooked.

                                                        1. re: BobB

                                                          Bob, I have found that usually with fried chicken, especially on the thigh, there remains a large blob of fat on one end or the other. Breasts, Legs, Wings - not so much. That thigh fat doesn't seem to cook off...

                                                          1. re: cuccubear

                                                            I've seen a very small blob in baked chicken legs as well. Chicken fat is absolutely the worst, but then again I generally have a fat aversion to the point where the blobs make me gag in most any meat. The only kind I can really take is of the bacon fat/marbled in variety.

                                                            1. re: queencru

                                                              You're probably right. I'm not fat-averse so I don't pay it much notice.

                                                          2. re: BobB

                                                            Thomas Keller described his method for roasting a chicken in Bon Appetit a couple of years ago. He told a story about how as a kid him and his brother would fight over the "chicken butt". Which is the little, triangular piece of fatty skin on the bottom side of the chicken cavity. I use Keller's high heat method for roasting chicken and it produces the perfect, crispy, fatty chicken butt you could ever want!

                                                            1. re: lynnlato

                                                              My dad used to call that little flap of fat the Pope's nose. Hee hee. (I am sure he got this term from somewhere else, but I'm not sure where.)

                                                          3. re: Catskillgirl

                                                            How about that chicken fat in some chopped liver?

                                                            1. re: julesrules

                                                              That's schmaltz, fat that's been rendered off the bird to a liquid state, then chilled. Great stuff - though not nearly so great as rendered duck fat!

                                                        2. Absolutely! I try to make sure I get a bit of that delicious fat with each bite. Though if I get a rib eye with a particularly large nugget of fat in the center (not sure what you call that, you know what I mean) it may get left behind since it's not going to have any char on it anyway.

                                                          And forget the cholesterol issue - dietary cholesterol intake has only a marginal effect on your blood cholesterol level compared to heredity. I eat more butter, cheese and red meat than anyone I know and my blood levels are just fine. (I don't mean to brag, just illustrating my point about dietary cholesterol not being the big boogieman everyone seems to think it is).

                                                          1. I LOVE the fat - on any meat. I savor it and save a bit for the last bite!

                                                            Pork roasts in the UK always have the "crackling" on top and it is like heaven for me...crispy on top and soft, melt in your mouth pillows of taste underneath the crispy bit...yummmmm

                                                            1. Love the fat on beef, pork and LAMB (sometimes I want to knaw my DH's discarded chop bones so bad). Oh, and the skin on fatty fish too! For so many years I felt so guilty about this, it was a shameful secret. Growing up so many of the girls I knew were disgusted by fat and what do you know, they were often the skinny ones, while I, was not. Chowhound helped me embrace my inner fat-loving self and be a proud bone-knawer!

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: julesrules

                                                                Yes, I love fish skin and lamb bones too.

                                                                I suspect those girls weren't disgusted by fat so much as, sadly, wrongly, disgusted by themselves, as young girls in a media-dominated society tend to be.

                                                              2. I always enjoyed the fat. I remember my grandmother's beef roasts with delicious fat that I adored and she would reprimand me for eating it.

                                                                And the charred fat on a steak ~~ wonderful.

                                                                But then, some years ago, I read that the fat is where the animal stores the carcinogens. Helped me to break my eating of the fat pretty much. Note **pretty much is not always**

                                                                1. Unfortunately, or not, I have had better tasting charred fat than actual steak.....what a waste of animal. At least the fat never disappoints.

                                                                  1. If it's a small piece, yes, I do eat it. However, if it's too big, I'll suck on it and place it in the corner of my plate when I'm done. What's that too much information?

                                                                    1. I trim to the amount I would eat cooked and crisp.I like RARE beef and cooked fat so I pre-trim to arrive at both.

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: lcool

                                                                        I'm usually in the same quandry.

                                                                        When I get a nice T-bone, I usually make sure it's at least 1.5 inches thick. And when I grill it up rare/medium rare, the fat is still jiggly.

                                                                        So I've started to trim the outer ring of fat before grilling and then grilling it separately to, ahem, enjoy with my beef.

                                                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                          when you are cooking a thick cut,start cooking the fat side first : "prop upright" with skewers

                                                                      2. Say that after you've had your triple bypass like I have! And believe me, we Jews love our chicken fat (schmaltz) (or any concentrated fat)...but there's a price for it.

                                                                        (Actually, my cardiologist said it's not the red meat that is bad, it's the toppings you put on it and the fat that can be cut off that does the damage...the calorie and cholesterol...once in a while ANYTHING is OK in moderate doses...but not to make a habit of it. Good sense.)

                                                                        So enjoy...once in a while. (Ah...schmaltz with herring on rye. Ah Machiya!)

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: MoxieBoy

                                                                          Wouldn't it be great if the doctors could figure out who can eat fat and who can't? Me, the fat doesn't affect. Healthy cholesterol levels and healthy heart, and I eat every bit of fat.

                                                                          Sugar is my enemy.

                                                                        2. This is funny. I LOVE the fat (unless it's just plain gristle). My wife is completely the opposite. When we have each finished a wonderful grilled steak I know I will find a large pile of anything that even looks like fat on her plate. Then, again, she looks about 20 years younger than she is and I don't. :o)

                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                          1. re: Midlife

                                                                            "Then, again, she looks about 20 years younger than she is and I don't."

                                                                            This again is to your benefit. You're the one who gets to look at her everyday!

                                                                              1. re: Midlife

                                                                                Midlife, my hubby and I are the same, in reverse...I like a little amount of bark, say trimmed to 1/4" on my ribeye/NYstrip, etc., and like the steak cooked rare; the bark charred on a raging grill, and will eat every bit of it, whereas my hubby likes a rare/medium rare steak, and will cut off good meat with the bark and leave it! =8-O arrgghhh! I will not comment on the age part except to say that my hubby still looks great after 25 years together.

                                                                          2. This is an interesting argument with cultural overtones. Example: besides fat on steak, duck is served in many countries, particularly in Asia, with lots of fat. Remember, for most of human history, getting enough calories has been a problem, not eating too many. I even have books that describe slave diets in the Caribbean requiring "bone meat with fat attached" as a way to keep the workers alive.

                                                                            My wife loves duck but is squeamish about fat. In one restaurant, the waiter looked at her plate and said, "You no eat best part." My daughter will sometimes say that to her in Mandarin.

                                                                            The amount of fat you consume in one sitting is nothing unless you eat that way every day. So as Tom Colicchio would say, "Respect the protein" and eat the fat.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: lergnom

                                                                              duck, goose, and chicken fat are so good. particularly rendered and saved for cooking eggs or adding to potatoes!

                                                                              btw: from the midwest (Chicago) with an Asian mother and father from SoCal born during the end of the depression....

                                                                            2. I generally eat the fat, and love it. I even chew on the gristle to get the last smidgen of fatty flavor out (only at home, of course). Last week I made stew in the crock pot. This necessitated trimming a large amount of fat off the roast (it doesn't render in the crock and only gets greasy). So I fried up the fat trimmings and ate them for breakfast.

                                                                              1. On almost every occasion, I order filet, and there had better not be much fat. With other cuts, the answer is no. With pork, it depends on the degree of doneness. More is better, for me.

                                                                                Sorry that I do not order cuts, that are likely to have that much fat.


                                                                                1. If there's a good crisp, tasty edge around my steak, you Bet I eat it.
                                                                                  Any large amount of soft fat gets cut away and left on the plate, but if some comes up with the meat, that's okay, too.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: mcsheridan

                                                                                    Exactly- I won't spit out a bite if there's some in there but if I'm not paying attention and get a mouthful of goo, into the napkin it goes. (Remember Seinfeld with the Mutton? The dogs chased Elaine for blocks because Jerry spit the mutton into the antique napkins and stuffed them in his coat pockets, she borrowed his jacket, etc......etc.......)
                                                                                    Bark! Bark! heck yeah!

                                                                                  2. Anyone ever eat the fat rind from a Western Ham?

                                                                                    I was served by a friend some split pea soup (one of my favorites) that had been flavored with the rind of a ham. Not a big piece for flavoring that could be easily taken out, but *ground up*! so the soup had lots of little hard, inedible pieces of grisly fat in every spoonful. In my mind, some fat you just don’t eat.

                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: cuccubear

                                                                                      Sounds like it's the rind (skin), not the fat, that's the problem here.

                                                                                      1. re: BobB

                                                                                        Believe me BB, I was very disappointed. But he learned his lesson and subsequent batches of soup were gristle free.

                                                                                    2. Of course! It's the best part! And then I steal everyone else's =)! Fat is good!

                                                                                      Yes, I'm perfectly healthy and not fat at all.