Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tuesday's tip: Cook ground beef mince in its own fat

It took me the longest time to figure out this cooking tip. Previously, (ie. before I had read Nourishing Traditions) my mince cooking routine was an exercise in bad diet advice gone wrong.

How I used to prepare and cook mince
  1. Pay a lot of money to buy lean beef mince, which has had its excess fat removed. 
  2. Spend more money on olive oil to cook the mince in, destroying any nutrients in the olive oil and turning them toxic, since olive oil has a low smoke point and shouldn't be used for cooking at high temperatures.
  3. After browning the mince, tip any excess fat and cooking oil out in an attempt to create a "healthier" low-fat meal.
Now, I've cottoned on to the fact that animal fats are way better for cooking in than olive oil, because they have a higher smoke point. Any fats that are solid at room temperature do, so that's a simple rule to go by when choosing fats/oils to cook in. Coconut oil is good. So is beef tallow and chicken schmaltz.

Animal fats are also great to eat because they help your body process fat soluble vitamins like A, D, K and E. Without the right fats, your body can't process fat soluble vitamins, so eating animal fat with your meat and vegetables is a great way to get true nourishment from those foods.

How I prepare and cook mince now
Mince and onions cooking in the natural mince fat.
  1. Buy the cheapest ground beef mince at the supermarket, which also happens to be the fattiest. (Bear in mind that I'm talking about New Zealand beef mince here, where even the cheapest comes from pastured animals raised on their natural diet of grass.)
  2. Throw mince into a frying pan on a medium high heat and brown it in its own fat. At first the fat is solid so the mince sticks to the pan slightly, but I just keep stirring until the fat melts enough to protect the mince from sticking. 
  3. Leave all that lovely, nutritious beef fat in the pan with the mince, and carry on adding the rest of the ingredients my recipe calls for.
Does anyone else cook their ground beef mince this way? 

Linked to Monday Mania on The Healthy Home Economist.


  1. Interesting! Do you think it's tastier this way than your previous method?

    1. Good question! Although I haven't really thought about it. I usually add soooo many herbs and flavours to my mince that I can't taste the mince itself.

  2. I love when the pastured organic beef we buy has lovely fat on it, great for cooking & flavour. I am about to start buying organic pork fat too, to render for lard. I have been getting into the 'nourishing' way to cook, & am currently reading Real Food by Nina Planck! For the last 6 months or so, I've been converting to coconut oil, and keeping olive oil & macadamia oil for salad dressings/ dips. Can't wait to read more on your blog!

    1. I haven't read "Real Food", but I'll look out for it now that you've mentioned it. The whole real food concept makes so much sense. I don't know why I didn't think of it myself. It was reading "Nourishing Traditions" that made everything click for me. What a life changer.

  3. I think I will have to start doing that since I buy premium mince and then cook in beef dripping, when the cheaper mince has it all there, mince and fat in one and saving dollars at the same time.


  4. Have you tried cooking with avocado oil? It is good for high temperature cooking as it has a high smoke point. NZ produces lovely avocado oil.

    1. No I haven't. I'll look into it. Thanks!

    2. I like being able to cook things in their own fat as well, but sometimes that's just not possible.

      Extra-light olive oil is another option (242°C), but not as good as avocado oil (271°C):



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