HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


absolute fattest meats available?

I am attempting to do an experiment with myself and an "old school" workout plan that emphasizes fat.

My question is what is, without a doubt, the most fattest meat that I can purchase? Hopefully it will be cheap so I can afford it but if not then I will have to see about something else. I am shopping at whole foods now since they are pretty much the only supermarket that will do specialty cuts for me. I asked some other supermarkets a number of questions:

Question #1: Can you cut me some steaks with a ton of fat on it (not trim it)
Answer: No, we are not allowed to sell you specialty cuts of meat with a lot of fat on it since it would be a health hazard.

Question #2: Can you prepare me some ground beef that is not lean and is 50% fat and 50% meat?
Answer: Same as above.

I stopped asking after that. Whole Foods said they will keep as much fat on it as I desire and just give them a day's notice so they can specially prepare the meat in the morning when they are trimming all the meats. (except with the special ground beef, they said I will lose 1/4 lb in the grinder. that sucks since it is so expensive...)

So, what are the fattest meats period that I can purchase?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. in the US contact a rural meat locker.

    in the meantime beef short ribs, or if pork then 'country-style' ribs.

    1. Isn't pork belly largely fat?

      1 Reply
      1. re: cresyd

        yeah really, just shovel bacon. doesn't get much fattier than that.

      2. I've found some links. Seems like beef blade is the fattest. (beef bone marrow good too)

        Also, duck, pheasant, and lamb are supposedly really fatty. Guess, I will try to pick up some of each later this week.


        4 Replies
        1. re: bloodboy

          Water fowl in general (also goose) is on that list. Also, on average sausages, salamis and other cured meats rank very high on fat - but I'm not sure if that's specifically what you're looking for.

          1. re: cresyd

            Domestic duck and goose,very fat...wild duck of goose VERY LEAN
            guineas,pheasant ,very lean

          2. re: bloodboy

            pheasant is NOT fatty it is so lean it really NEEDS barding.
            goose and to a lesser extant duck will cook out all sorts of lusciousness. too much sometimes.

            1. re: bloodboy

              A duck has a lot of fat but it is mostly just under the skin, not marbled through the meat like a steak. If you can find confit duck legs, they have been cooked in duck fat so it permeates the meat and are much richer for it.

              And then there is foie gras, and fatty tuna belly o-toro and chu-toro. What about oily fish like mackerel and sardines? Are you looking for only red meat animal fat or all kinds of fat? Shoulder cuts of lamb and pork tend to be fairly fatty as well.

            2. You can get a slab of fat on a beef brisket that's as thick as the meat itself.
              And if you live in the Southern USA, just pick up a pack of Streak o' Lean. Even bacon's not as fatty as that.

              2 Replies
              1. re: jmcarthur8

                Well, I live in Hawaii so no "Streak o' Lean" here. But it seems that the fattest meats available are:

                goose & duck (water fowl) and pork belly (really thick sliced pork belly = bacon)

                @cresyd - Yeah, I'm looking for strictly raw meats that are the fattest available, not cured meat.

                1. re: bloodboy

                  Hawaii? Then Spam. Canned corned beef is also quite high in fat.

                  It helps to understand where the fat occurs in different animals and cuts.

                  The higher grade beef steaks have a lot of marbling - this is fat that is interspersed with the meat, and makes the cut flavorful and tender. Rump (back leg) beef tends to be lean, since it consists of a few large well used muscles. Front leg and shoulder has more distinct muscles, so there is more fat along with connective tissues between them. On the belly (brisket) much of the fat is on the outside of the cut.

                  Pork has much of the same structure, though there is less marbling. Pork chops, for example, tend to be lean, with a layer of fat on the outside. Pork also has a good layer of fat just under the skin. Pork fat has a lower melting point than beef, closer to human body temperature, so generally tastes better. Asian style butchers tend to leave more fat on pork, along skin.

                  Lamb fat has a higher melting point than beef, so isn't as palatable to most people. I don't think of it as being fatty, with possible exception of the breast meat.

                  In birds, most of the fat is under the skin.

                  With the exception of marbling in beef, most fat is visible and easily identified.

                1. Lardo. Not exactly a meat per se, but can be used in pastas and sandwiches and such. Otherwise pork belly has plenty. Any wagyu like beef products will have more fat.

                  1. Most high end steak houses grind their beef with butter or some other kind of fat to make the burgers xtra "juicy". You could do the same to increase the fat content.

                    Ribeyes have loads of fat. As do short ribs

                    Bacon, pork belly, pork ribs etc have lots of it too. Oh and save the bacon fat for cooking potatoes, etc

                    Duck is notorious for being fatty. In fact I started a thread about jarred duck fat-start cooking eveyhting in that stuff like with bacon fat, eggs, home fries, etc

                    1. Snacking from a huge tub of suet should do it.

                      1. I agree with many others who have suggested that pork belly, short ribs, and duck breast routinely carry a great deal of fat. My next suggestion is that you find a decent butcher who will cut you a prime rib or brisket of beef that has as much fat as you want on it. Hell, I have two butchers locally who will even just sell me beef and pork fat for next to nothing when I ask for it. I grind my own meat and that's how I've come to discover how easy it is to purchase extra fat - try taking that approach. Finally, if you want high fat, get some liverwurst or any of the related ilk - goose liver pate for example.

                        1 Reply
                        1. I disbelieve that a supermarket would refuse to not trim a cut of meat claiming a health hazrd.

                          Several things: As noted above, products such as bacon, fatback and sausage are avaialble at meat departments. Lard is vaialble as a grocery item. My local supermarket will sell a rack of lamb chops and then trim; they sold the customer the fat originally and will in fact give the trim to the customer.

                          1. Boston Butt Pork roast is what is used for pulled pork, very fatty, also called Pork Shoulder.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Nanzi

                              In my experience, the lower part of the front leg of the pig - the picnic ham - tends to be sold with more fat on it than the butt (it seems to be less trimmed by supermarket "butchers").

                            2. Since you're in Hawaii, I'm not sure if your WF carries this yet, but the last time I was there, they had a new cut of meat that I've never seen anywhere else. It was basically short ribs, but a WHOLE piece. As in, the size of a brisket, but boneless short ribs!! It was super high fat and I think my mouth started watering just looking at it raw.

                              1. Well, you can't buy it, but in Japan Kobe beef is available in several grades of fattiness. The highest grades are mostly fat, but I don't know the pecentage. In the US, pork belly is probably the highest. As for ground beef, you can grind it yourself in any food processor, and use as much fat as you like.In chef school, my garde-manger teacher told us that he routinely used 40-50% fat in pates and terrines in Europe, but had to cut it way back for American tastes. Have fun, and don't worry about the Nutrition Nazis---people have been eating fatty meat, butter and eggs, for thousands of years, and the first heart attacks were reported in JAMA in 1912!

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: mwhitmore

                                  @babette feasts - As long as it's the fattest meat I can get and it is raw then that's what I'm looking for. I know a lot of people are not into it but I am trying the raw paleo method with this experiment. So, that means all raw meats only.

                                  @foodieX2 - I love that tip about grounding the beef in some kind of super high fat. I am lactose intolerant so I am thinking of having them grind the beef in lard or some other kind of the fattest animal fat that I can purchase either here or online.

                                  @Violatp - I am going to inquire about this then. I guess I will ask them if they can sell me a “whole piece of short ribs aka boneless short ribs the size of a brisket”

                                  @mwhitmore - They don't ship Kobe beef? I am in Japan usu. once a year so I will have to check that out. I'll have to find the best location in/around Tokyo to obtain it with the highest fat amount.

                                  On that note, have you heard about Japan's pork equivalent of Kobe beef? It's called Tokyo-X (there are others as well.) I have not tried it yet but I have been told that the main processing plant for this very famous super high quality pork is right outside of Yokota Air Base. That is great news and I plan on trying it for sure when I fly into Yokota early next year.

                                  1. re: bloodboy

                                    I looked it up - it's called the Jersey Boneless Short Rib.

                                2. Untrimmed pork belly should do the trick. I believe that is the cut used in the Chinese dish cow yook. Plenty of good fat there.

                                  1. You can always go with pure lard, or putting bacon on everything. If you want a heavy dose of one particular fat - cholesterol - you can't beat brains (hard to find these days, but the 99 Ranch chain, which caters to Chinese, always seems to have them).

                                    I don't buy the health hazard excuse: I suspect it's more of a "this is how we get our meats from the packer and we don't want to admit we don't do any butchering ourselves" line. BTW, if you have a food processor you can grind meat in it. Cut it into small cubes first, then pulse until it's a texture you like.

                                    1. I am currently doing a primal diet focused on vegetables and grass fed cows, lamb etc. I buy grass fed flank steak and make enough for a few days. It doesn't have that much fat but I do top it with grass fed butter. I also love fish so have been eating plenty of cheaper oily fish like mackerel and sardines.

                                      If you have access to a goose, roast one. You will end up with a lot of fat to cook with during the winter.

                                      Edit, just noticed you are lactose intolerant. I guess nix the butter then. I am lucky and handle dairy with no problems. If you want a really fatty collagen rich cut go for oxtails. Tons of fat, marrow and cartilage. Perfect for paleo/primal.

                                      1. I'd agree with the bone marrow, you can usually buy beef bones pretty cheap. Not sure if raw marrow would taste good though, but roasted it's amazing. You can have your butcher cut them length wise or cross section.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Rick

                                          Second the bone marrow. I have it special ordered by the meat counter at a local grocery, split lengthwise, and it's $1.99/lb. Delish roasted and spread on garlic naan!

                                        2. I found something called hog jowl@ a WINCO here in Northern California.It is sort of like pork belly.I believe it was smoked like bacon.It was very inexpensive like $3.00 for a couple of pounds.It is pure pork fat with a tiny bit of meat.I used it in butter/lima beans and potato soup. In the batch of beans I cut it into small chunks and pan fried it crispy then put it into the beans.In the potato soup I threw it in the crockpot uncooked (and it was melt in your mouth fat perfection) but you can actually remove it after it cooks down and crisp it up then too.I had never heard of it and I was looking for some ham remnents for my beans and found the hog jowl. Use it sparingly it is almost pure lard but the flavoring that it renders into those slow cooked soups is delicious.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Lillipop

                                            Jowl is a very good one. I just like to fry up slices of smoked jowl - think bacon. Fresh, there are plenty of uses as well.

                                          2. Check out this site and check out the "fattiest" beef I've ever seen. Probably a bit cost prohibitive, since it's the top-of-the-line Kobe. http://www.kobe-beef-store.com/blog/

                                            1. Make sure to deep fry everything to increase your fat intake (deep fried pork belly wrapped with bacon and served between 2 slices of fried chicken maybe?)

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: westaust

                                                Op said they're eating everything raw.

                                              2. Ox tongue? According to online sources, more than 70% of its calories come from fat:


                                                Tasty and relatively inexpensive, if you can find it.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: vil

                                                  'Unmentional Cuisine' says tongue has half the fat of steak. When talking about calories, keep in mind that fat has more, per gram, than protein.

                                                  My observation is that the base of the tongue, especially the root, is fattier than the tip. Still, after buying pork tongue for some time, I noticed that beef tongue is fattier, overall.

                                                  1. re: paulj

                                                    Didn't know that tongue is so lean.. I just always thought that the melt-in-your-mouth tenderness is because of all the fat content.

                                                    I think it still depends on what cut of steak we are comparing it with. IMO tongues are still at least fattier than the leaner cuts of beef.

                                                2. Great info! Please keep it coming!

                                                  Yes, I will be eating all of this raw. There is no way I could eat much of it cooked. The fattiness is just far too much to handle, I have tried it that way before. But raw, I just get them to cut the meat & fat together into small enough pieces to where I can just swallow them without even chewing it. The reason for this is that trying to chew raw pork belly skin is quite an arduous task, it is much better to simply swallow it whole.

                                                  I don't know if I will ever get a chance to sample that top-of-the-line Kobe and Wagyu beef. It is extremely expensive and I don't think any of my close Japanese colleagues in Japan treat themselves to such expensive treats. Too many other bills to pay.

                                                  10 Replies
                                                  1. re: bloodboy

                                                    Since you are talking about eating this raw, forget about pork and poultry. Ask the butcher for 'tartar' quality beef, i.e. beef that has been handled with enough attention to sanitation to be eaten raw. Anything else is asking for GI problems (or worse).

                                                    1. re: paulj

                                                      I've had raw pork many times in my life, and continue to do so. It's delicious ground up with raw onion, s&p on a breakfast roll.

                                                      Decidedly not a date food, tho.

                                                      1. re: linguafood

                                                        Right on, linguafood! Raw pork AND raw chicken are very delicious! I've never tried it ground up with raw onion though, I will have to try that. Do you have a recipe for that? (for ratio amounts and what not...) Also, what is "s&p" ? ("salt & pepper" ?) And what kind of 'breakfast roll' ?

                                                        Regarding sanitation and whatnot. Meh, I really don't worry it about since I don't believe all the stuff regarding germ theory and parasites and what not. I just eat it. I don't really care where it came from or where they say it comes from. Could all be lies for all I know (not worth the extra price).

                                                        1. re: bloodboy

                                                          Spoken like a person who has never dealt with intestinal parasites. Not pretty. Not easy to get rid of. I predict you will learn more about this in the near future.

                                                          1. re: sandylc

                                                            Sandylc - I do, in fact, have experience with parasites. When I was in Korea, I ate raw meats for an entire year. Brain, heart, liver, and other parts of cow and pig. I only got intestinal parasites once when I was experimenting with eating aged raw meat. I got rid of the parasites by eating a ton of very spicy peppers.

                                                            One can get parasites in a number of ways, not only by consuming raw meat. I have had them before and if I get them again by eating raw meat or just because then I will take care of them. Will it sway me from eating raw meat? Not in a million years.

                                                          2. re: bloodboy

                                                            Avoid eating raw mass produced American poultry. The filthy and unhealthy conditions we raise them in result in a filthy unhealthy product. Raw chicken in different parts of the world is a cleaner healthier product than the factory poultry here in the states.

                                                            We don't expose the surfaces we cut beef, lamb, and pork on to birds. The cross contamination risk is too great.

                                                            Kosher and free range/ specialty birds are much cleaner.

                                                            1. re: bloodboy

                                                              There is no real recipe. It's called Schweinemett in Germany -- just ground pork, salt & pepper. You can add diced onion to the meat itself, or top it with onion slices.

                                                              The breakfast roll I referred to, commonly known as a Brötchen/Schrippe/Semmel in the fatherland, is similar to kaiser rolls here in the US, I believe.

                                                              Just make sure you floss after eating or you won't be getting a lot of dates '-)

                                                            2. re: linguafood

                                                              Makes me feel better about my recent dinner, where I found out, only after cutting, that some of the very thick pork chops were still medium rare. I was so tired and hungry that I decided to continue with eating them. They were delicious btw.

                                                              Any more advice about eating and serving raw pork (and chicken) to share?

                                                              1. re: vil

                                                                I would never cook a pork chop beyond medium-rare. Ok, maybe medium, but on the rarer side of that :-)

                                                                To be honest, I don't even do those Mettbrötchen very often, b/c of the unseemly fat shreds you end up with between your teeth.

                                                                I haven't had raw chicken besides liver, so I can't help you out with that one....

                                                        2. As far as "typical" supermarket cuts, (if you can't get pork belly) pork shoulder can be pretty fatty (or country style ribs).

                                                          Consider grinding your own blend and you can control your fat to lean ratio. Perhaps you can ask Whole Foods if you can just buy their trimmings.

                                                          1. The fattiest muscle meat I usually find is lamb, especially leg of lamb, which generally has a thick layer of fat. Since you plan to eat it raw, I recommend kibbeh, a Middle Eastern dish of raw, ground lamb with bulgar, onion, and mint. Or leave out the bulgar if you want. There's a similar dish, with different spices, from Ethiopia called kitfo.

                                                            7 Replies
                                                            1. re: tardigrade

                                                              I thought kitfo is beef, it is good and spicy and delicious. I can see doing it with lamb instead.

                                                              1. re: hill food

                                                                Didn't Bizarre Foods sample raw camel in Ethiopia? In the town that fed wild hyenas with the offal.

                                                                1. re: hill food

                                                                  God, I love these ideas posted here!! I think I'll start a different thread about ways to eat raw meat without cooking it with fire/electricity. Fermentation, aging/curing, drying, etc. etc.

                                                                  Perhaps, a different thread too for the many raw dishes that seem to exist that I have never heard of. I have always just eaten it sashimi style but it seems that there is a whole other world of ways/recipes to eat raw meat. So exciting reading all this!

                                                                  1. re: bloodboy

                                                                    bboy - I'd post it on the Home Cooking board in that case.

                                                                2. re: tardigrade

                                                                  Where do you get kibbeh served raw? I've only ever seen it cooked.

                                                                  1. re: cresyd

                                                                    My house! I had a large leg of lamb, so I minced some for kibbeh, following a recipe in one of Jeff Smith's books. With raw meat, I find a little goes a long way, so we had about a quarter of it raw the first night, and the rest as meatballs the next day.

                                                                    I know places in the Bay Area that serve steak tartare and raw kitfo, but I haven't seen raw kibbeh.

                                                                    1. re: tardigrade

                                                                      I'm just curious, as I don't see it at all in the Palestinian versions of kibbeh in the Jerusalem/West Bank area. Maybe it's specific to parts of Lebanon or strictly a home cooked item and not a restaurant item.

                                                                3. Beef:
                                                                  Oxtail, ribeye, flap meat, skirt, chuck, brisket, short ribs, marrow bones

                                                                  Shoulder, belly

                                                                  Leg, Wing, thigh

                                                                  1. Find a Mexican grocery and buy some Chicharrón. It can make pork bellt look lean.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: mike0989

                                                                      We already cook with Chicharon. We chop it up and put it in Pinakbet or Ballatong here.