The fat edition


How can you not love a market where you can buy goose fat by the tin? And duck fat too. Where’s the market, you asked? Why, Borough, of course. Goose fat makes superb fries, and so does duck fat, although the best oil for fries, I must say, is horse fat.

horse butcher in Nice

When we were in the South of France last year, my friend Mikael sourced some horse fat and we cooked up some french fries -ahem, frites- in it. Gloriously beautiful fries we got from that rendered horse fat.

rendered horse fat

The rendered horse fat was deep golden in color, and it stank the kitchen up to high heaven in the process. The resulting fries were worth every bit of the effort though.

We followed the old rule of frying the potato twice, as meticulously re-explained by Harold McGee in his magnum opusOn Food and Cooking‘. The fries were given one bath at a lower temperature, 325F or 163C, until limp or cooked through, then taken off the oil and let rest until they came back to room temperature. The second frying was at a higher temperature, at 370F or 188C, until they are uniformly brown to a crisp perfection.

I’m sorry I don’t have the photos of the fries to show you. The way my friends were attacking the pile of fries, I had to put down my camera or I wouldn’t get any at all!

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19 Responses to “The fat edition

  • StĂ©phane said:
    August 17th, 2006 at 1:56pm

    What makes horse fat better? Is it its physical properties or a matter of flavor? If it is the latter, is there a way of describing the flavor it imparts to the fries?

  • JO said:
    August 17th, 2006 at 4:37pm

    oh Dear…..

  • Adam said:
    August 17th, 2006 at 4:49pm

    You made Mr. Ed into fries? It’s like that movie title: “They Shoot Horses And Use Their Fat To Make French Fries, Don’t They?” Am I impressed at your culinary gumption? Yes. Would I eat those fries? My answer is most likely NAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY

  • barbara said:
    August 17th, 2006 at 9:14pm

    I want that bike.

  • Amy said:
    August 17th, 2006 at 9:40pm

    I’ve actually had a desire to taste horse fat fries ever since I read Jeffrey Steingarten’s account of the trouble he took to import the fat into the states. Someday perhaps, I will be as lucky as you and taste them!

  • Thanh said:
    August 18th, 2006 at 3:01am

    I didn’t even know there was such a thing as horse fat. I read a lot of things in books where horse carcasses were used to make glue I think. Didn’t think of using horse fat to make fries. I also would like to know how they taste, can you describe it for us please Pim. Is it legal to sell and buy horse fat?

  • Jess said:
    August 18th, 2006 at 10:25am

    Pim, thanks so much for the link–I’ve had a flurry of visitors all courtesy of you! Let me know when you’re next in town for a joint Borough binge.

  • Dr. Biggles said:
    August 18th, 2006 at 2:32pm

    Welp, you got me on the horse fat. I’ve gone out a little far with panther fat (it was some large cat anyways) and bear fat. But I’ve never done horse fat. Very cool.

  • Pim said:
    August 18th, 2006 at 3:00pm

    What Adam are you getting all squeamish on me? There goes your street cred dahling.
    Barbara, I want that bike too!
    Jess, you’re welcome. You are my official Borough correspondant now. Now get me a cheese sandwich!
    Thahn, I have no idea if it’s legal in the US. There are plenty of Boucheries Chevalines in France though.
    Everybody else, I have no idea what it was about horse fat that made it a better oil for frying potatoes. I guess we should ask Harold McGee. In fact, I will! Will keep you all posted.

  • Sean said:
    August 18th, 2006 at 3:39pm

    Ah, so that’s where Jeffrey Steingarten got his inspiration. It seems that there is now corroboration: Horse fat is the way to go for fries. Think they’re carrying it at the Ferry Building yet? 😉

  • jenjen said:
    August 18th, 2006 at 7:39pm

    Interesting, I never knew you could cook with horse fat. I didn’t even think you could get much fat from horses, they look so toned and muscular, but I guess you can. You learn something new everyday.

  • Chubby Hubby said:
    August 18th, 2006 at 10:51pm

    Yikes… I don’t think I could fry my frites in horse fat. I think I’ll stick with duck fat.

  • Bea at La Tartine Gourmande said:
    August 19th, 2006 at 5:58am

    wow, I had not heard about horse fat before! In Dordogne, doing pommes de terre sautĂ©es in graisse d’oie (geese fat), with garlic and parsley, was just not forgettable!

  • Jennifer - Eat Drink Talk said:
    August 21st, 2006 at 7:10am

    Wow – horse fat! Pim I salute you!
    Did you for a brief second consider making homemade mayonnaise or ketchup to go with the frites? Sounds like you didn’t have time before everyone gobbled them up.
    Perhaps your next step should be Heston Blumenthal’s recipe for chips cooked with hay? –

  • Dianka said:
    August 21st, 2006 at 12:13pm

    Wow, the things I learn everyday! What an interesting post!

  • Megan said:
    August 23rd, 2006 at 5:19am

    I completely agree with you – horse fat does make the best fries! I was told that a resto in Paris makes them that way and they really are the best fries I’ve had! Thanks for the great post!

  • Linda said:
    July 4th, 2008 at 7:24am

    I prefer to think of eating animals than making them into glue. I have had ducks, geese and horses as pets in my time. I wonder whether David Walliams might cover himself in horse fat next time he swims the channel? Or would there be an outcry?

  • Rick said:
    July 7th, 2008 at 8:16am

    I am wondering if anybody has any info on where to obtain horse fat (horse lard would be preferred, not looking forward to rendering fat)? If anybody has the hookup, please post a link. I have been lusting to eat french fries baked in horse fat for many many years. I was raised on this stuff back in the Netherlands, I moved to the USA when I was 12. I have never tasted better french fries anywhere. The dutch know fast food, they have many other fast food items that are very unique (Beef/Chicken Crockett, Frikandel). I am starting to salivate just typing about it. Anyways, I tried the 2 step frying method of baking fries using vegetable oil, and that already made a big difference in the way the fry tastes, but I want to experience the french fry the way I remember it, so I won’t stop until I find a way to obtain it. Help!

  • Christophe said:
    August 25th, 2010 at 10:53am

    Please do you know some shop where buy the horse fat by internet for spain ???

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