Fat on Grassfed Meat is Healthy, Claims Cookbook Author


Grassfed strip loin roast from U.S. Wellness Meats, cut from strip loin primal

Stan Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat has written this guest blog about the need for animal fat in our diet, and how it helps you to achieve culinary greatness.

Bringing Back the Fat Cap – Restoring the Fat of the Land

By Stanley A. Fishman, Author of Tender Grassfed Meat

“Living off the fat of the land” used to mean living the good life. For most of history, eating fat was associated with wealth, luxury, the best food, robust good health, privilege and success. Animal fat was the most prized of all foods, often reserved for nobles, the wealthy, and the privileged. The less fortunate and the great mass of the people had their access to meat and animal fat restricted, and could never get enough. America became known as the nation where even the poor could hunt freely, and get all the fat and meat they wanted. Many immigrants came to America for this reason alone. America developed a meat industry that could provide cheap and nutritious meat and fat to all, which continued to attract immigrants even in the 20th century.

It is so ironic that animal fat became demonized in the United States of America. The most nutritious of all foods became the most avoided.

Health Benefits of Grassfed Animal Fat


Grassfed prime rib roast from Humboldt Grassfed Beef, purchased at local market

It used to be that almost every roast and steak sold in the United States was crowned with a thick, gleaming layer of its own life-giving fat. This was known as a fat cap. Fat caps were considered absolutely essential in cooking roasts. The fat cap kept the meat from drying out, and cooked down into the meat, providing a wonderful flavor and life-giving nutrients. When the fear of fat became dominant, the meat industry cut the thickness of the fat caps to ¼ inch, and soon discarded them altogether. Now, most of the roasts and steaks sold in the United States have just about all of the fat trimmed off and discarded. The trimming of the fat has become so universal that most people do not even know what a fat cap looks like. I have included four photos of meat with fat caps, both before and after cooking.

One of my goals is to bring back the fat cap. The health benefits of fat from grassfed animals are huge. The omega-3s, CLA, and co-factors in grassfed animal fat provide the following benefits:

•    Crucial nutrients such as vitamins A, D, and K in an easily assimilated form
•    Many other minerals, vitamins, amino acids, essential fatty acids (EFAs), all easily assimilated
•    The proper balance of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids
•    Increase the metabolic rate
•    Increase muscle mass while reducing fat
•    Decrease abdominal fat
•    Strengthen the immune system
•    Reduce the risk of cancer
•    Reduce the risk of heart disease
•    Reduce the risk of diabetes
•    Reduce the risk of hyperthyroidism
•    Slow the aging process
•    Reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s
•    Preserve and promote normal brain function
•    And many other health benefits

Fat Caps Improve Taste


Grassfed strip loin roast cooked according to recipe “Strip Loin Roast,” page 91, Tender Grassfed Meat

I also want to bring back the fat cap because it makes the meat taste so much better. As the meat cooks, the melting fat bastes it and enters the meat, giving the meat a wonderful flavor and enhancing tenderness. Whenever we roast meat, we always put plenty of vegetables in the pan, so they can cook in the melted fat. Vegetables roasted in this manner have a wonderful caramelized taste and a magnificent texture. Most of the vegetables we roast this way are organic root vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, leeks, celery, carrots, and others. They all come out wonderful, roasted in the life-giving fat from the cap, which makes their nutrients available and much easier to assimilate. We’ve also found that apples are wonderful when roasted in this manner. The fat also prevents the negative effects associated with the high carbohydrate content of some of these vegetables.

Finally, the hot, crisp, browned fat of a roast or a steak used to be a prized delicacy before fat was demonized. When the roast is cooked, there should be some nice, crisp, browned fat on top of the roast which can be sliced and eaten. This fat is absolutely delicious if eaten hot, and gives you all the nutritional benefits of grassfed animal fat.

Grassfed Animal Fat Helps Weight Loss


Grassfed prime rib roast cooked according to recipe “English Style Prime Rib,” page 86, Tender Grassfed Meat

Many people are surprised to learn that the fat from grassfed animals aids in weight loss and prevents obesity. Before the demonization of fat, most doctors prescribed high fat diets to their patients who wanted to lose weight. These diets were quite successful and Americans were much thinner when they ate a diet high in grassfed animal fat. The CLA and co-factors in grassfed animal fat actually cause the body to increase lean muscle mass and stop storing fat. Nothing is as satisfying to eat as grassfed animal fat, which is so full of nutrients that your hunger is satisfied after eating a relatively small amount. One of the biggest reasons that people overeat is that their bodies desperately crave the nutrients that are missing from factory food. No matter how much they eat, they are still hungry, because the nutrients are not in the food.

Bring Back the Fat Cap

I constantly lobby producers of grassfed meat to leave the fat cap on the meat. Each set of photos shows meat with a nice fat cap, before and after I cooked it. I invite all of you to join me in asking your meat provider to leave the fat cap right where it belongs — on the meat.


Stanley Fishman

Stan Fishman is the author of Tender Grassfed Meat. His book describes in detail how to cook grassfed beef, grassfed bison, and grassfed lamb. The book follows the nutritional principles of Dr. Weston A. Price, and uses only the best natural ingredients. The book can be purchased through  Amazon.com.

Note from Kimberly:

Yesterday, CNN Health did a front page website story on the 28 day Real Food Challenge on Jenny McGruther’s award winning NourishedKitchen.com blog. It even included her instructions for rendering lard! Pigs fat (when the pigs are raised outdoors in the sunshine), is very high in Vitamin D. So, lard can be a very healthy fat, contrary to public opinion.

As you may be aware, Whole Foods Market has a new program Health Starts Here, which tells consumers to strive for a low fat and reduced meat diet, and that the Weston A. Price Foundation has roundly criticized them for the program in the press release, Whole Foods Promotes Militant Vegetarian Agenda. Stanley wrote this post to counter their contention that lean meat or no meat is healthier.

This post is part of the Real Food Wednesday blog carnival, hosted this week by Cheeseslave blog. Go see other homages to real foods, good fats on Cheeseslave.com!

To find grassfed meat, see the Hartke is Online.com Resources page.


  1. I have to agree that the fat adds so much to the taste. Thanks for your comment on my blog, I really appreciate you passing along my post!
    .-= chanelle´s last blog ..Cream Cheese and Whey =-.

  2. While I do firmly believe in the merits of grass-fed fats, I have to admit my husband absolutely detests the way the fat on our grass-fed beef tastes (I believe “gamey” is the word he used to describe it). We’ve been eating grass-fed for almost a year now, so adjustment certainly isn’t an issue any more. To make our beef acceptable I usually have to trim off the fat or cook it very long and slow until the fats melt away completely. Otherwise grass-fed beef doesn’t go over very well in my house. Any ideas?
    .-= Elizabeth´s last blog ..Weight Loss Wednesday: The Cortisol-Weight Connection and How to Balance Cortisol =-.

  3. The idea of the fat melting into the cooking meat and basting it is really appealing. I think it would be a bit of an adjustment for me to slice and eat the fat cap alone, though, even hot.
    I had no idea that doctors used to prescribe high fat diets for weight loss! It’s amazing how far we’ve swung in the opposite direction.
    Hmm. Yorkshire pudding springs to mind.
    .-= Ellen´s last blog ..Why Do I Eat That Way? =-.

  4. Hi Elizabeth,
    Here is something you can try. This is a very old way of “taming” gaminess, but it does work for grassfed meat. Crush an orgainc onion in the blender or however you like until you have a puree. Cover the meat and its fat with the puree, and refrigerate overnight. Wipe off the puree before cooking. This should remove any gamy taste, and make the meat more tender.
    .-= Stanley Fishman´s last blog ..Cooking Real Food — The Most Important Task =-.

  5. How thick should the fat cap be? I buy my beef by the side and want to give cut instructions to the butcher. Thanks

  6. Holly,
    I suggest at least 1/4 inch. 1/2 inch is ideal for me, but 1/4 inch will work fine.
    .-= Stanley Fishman´s last blog ..Cooking Real Food — The Most Important Task =-.

  7. Elizabeth et al, not to shamlessly promote a product BUT i inherited a Ronco Showtime Rotisserie from my dear mom. She adored it and SO DO I! It is the BOMB. I love it! Bring on the fat! I can’t recommend this thing enough.
    .-= Valerie´s last blog ..Please Join me in Taking the NOBARCODES CHALLENGE =-.

  8. More about fat…Briefly, we all have cancer cells in our bodies, cancer cells eat sugar for energy, they can’t eat ketones which are the energy source found in fats. Normal, healthy cells can, in fact it is a much prefered source of celluar engergy (think hunter-gatherer)! This translates directly into a lifelong cancer prevention approach which includes very little sugar. Anyone diagnosised with cancer should eliminate everything in the diet that metabloizies into sugars; potatoes, sweet potatoes, grains, even proteins will metabolize as sugars, and unfermented dairy. (In general it is best for adults to drink FERMENTED raw milk, there is a lot of sugar in unfermented milk)! Please take a moment to read Dr. Thomas Cowans complete article from the latest Weston Price foundation Journal, Wise Traditions:


    On this ketogenic diet the cancer cells starve and the normal cells thrive. Read the whole article for advice on how to add more healthy fats to your diet.
    .-= Valerie´s last blog ..Please Join me in Taking the NOBARCODES CHALLENGE =-.

  9. This is our second year purchasing 1/4 grass fed beef in bulk, and we love it! The first year we weren’t thrilled with the gamey smell and taste. We didn’t receive bones or fat with the cuts either. This year we purchased from a different farm, and it is excellent! There is no gaminess at all, and every cut has a nice fat cap, and most have bones as well. I now serve dinners at home that rival the very expensive, high end restaurants where we’ve eaten in the past.

  10. Kimberly Hartke says:

    Wow, Jen that is great! I have had ups and downs with grassfed meat, mainly the downs were from overcooking it. Stan’s book is helping me in the learning curve. Thanks for sharing your experiences with the blog!

    Elizabeth, I highly recommend Stan’s book Tender Grassfed Meat for recipes and cooking techniques. It might go over better after you follow his methods!

  11. I’ve also heard that it helps to try a different farmer if you don’t like the taste of your grass-fed meat… Now I’m wondering if my butcher is trimming the fat cap from the roasts I’ve been buying. I’ll have to ask. Thanks for the info!
    .-= Melissa @Cellulite Investigation´s last blog ..A Cellulite Success Story from Eat Fat, Lose Fat =-.

  12. Stanley, thanks for your suggestion. I will have to try that next time!

    Kimberly, it sounds like I could use this book! I’ll have to stick it on my reading list.
    .-= Elizabeth´s last blog ..Weight Loss Wednesday: The Cortisol-Weight Connection and How to Balance Cortisol =-.


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