Never had “Crispy Beef Cracklins”???
I first tried these a couple of months ago. Yes, I was 59 years old when I made my very first crispy beef cracklin!
Now … I am hooked!
Do you like crispy bacon bits? Do you love crispy crunchy pork skins? Then you will LOVE crispy beef cracklins!
Kelly Tee agrees!!! … we love these BETTER than bacon bits or pork skins!
See the picture below.
I’ve eaten a very low carb diet since 2009, successfully self-treating diabetes while losing and then maintaining an 80 lb weight loss. During that time fatty meats have been the cornerstone of my diabetes diet, click here for my diet post.
I have eaten a lot of animal fats over the last dozen plus years. I love all animal fats but as a general rule, the crispier the fat is … the more flavor. Crispy bacon for example is more flavorful than ‘limp bacon’, but also the crunchiness adds another layer of enjoyment.
The same goes for crispy beef fat. I love a nice fatty NY Strip, ribeye, or chuck steak … but when I grill these, if I ‘crisp’ up the fat, it makes it just a bit more flavorful and delicious!
Are you ready to give it a try?
Beef or pork fats work equally as well, any animal fat ‘might’ work, but I’ve only used beef and pork.
I’ve used methods similar to those in this post to make crunchy pork fat cracklins and even delicious crunchy chicken skins! The process for each is a bit different, here are the respective posts, “Homemade Pork Skins” and “Chicken Skin Bacon!“.
Obtaining Animal Fats
1. Trimming excess fat – In the past I have kept a zip lock bag in the freezer, and if/when I trim excess fat from meats I toss them in the bag until I have enough to process a ‘batch’. A batch is usually 2-3 pounds of fat.
I love all beef fat but in my opinion THE BEST cut of beef for this purpose is Beef Brisket! I usually remove a couple of pounds of fat and there is STILL plenty of fat left over for cooking the brisket.
2. Butcher Shops – Either ‘stand alone’ butcher shops or the butcher shops in grocery stores are an excellent source for obtaining animal fats. Call or visit a butcher shop and ask for *FREE* animal fats. This is more likely to work if you are a regular customer and the butcher knows you by name, but some shops may still give out free animal fats… or at least sell the fat for a nominal fee. I’d definitely pay $1 a pound for quality animal fats, if I was running low.
3. Buying Meat In Bulk – With the rising prices of meat, there is no better time than now to start buying meat in bulk. Yes it is time consuming to cut the meat into steaks or roasts but there are many quality Youtube videos on how to properly cut up larger cuts of meat.
The first time I did it, I took my time but these days, a single ‘whole’ chuck roast only takes about 15 minutes to cut up and bag. We recently bought 61 lbs of meat in ‘bulk’ at Costco. The list included whole round roast, whole brisket, whole sirloin tip roast, whole pork loin, a rack of ribs, and 5 lbs of ground beef.
Once you get the hang of it, cutting the meats into smaller steaks and roasts takes very little time and the savings are substantial! We trimmed, cut and bagged 61 lbs of meat in a little over an hour… and we were taking our time.
Not only are the $$$ savings worth it, but you can trim & save the fats!
Saving the fats to crisp up for cracklins is not only economical… it’s delicious!
Making Crispy Cracklins
Ok, you have done your ‘homework’. You have acquired a couple of pounds of beef fat. Here’s what you do next.
1) Cook Down The Fat – simply toss the fat into a crock pot with a cup of water and simmer on LOW overnight. We cooked this recent batch for about 24 hours.
Pour off the liquid fat and strain it with either a strainer or cheesecloth, you want this to be ‘clean’ and clear. This is now premium tallow (if beef) or lard (if pork), and it’s great for cooking!
2) Browning the Fat in a Skillet – Once you have poured off the liquid fat, you can brown the remaining fats in the skillet. I start off on medium heat and vary as needed. You want the fats browned, not burned. You will need to stir up the fats to make sure they brown evenly. Check out the short video below.
Note: This will result in more liquid fat which you can strain as before and add to your tallow or lard.
Once you have ‘browned’ the fat, you can remove and allow to cool… and you are ready to enjoy the deliciousness. However, I like to add a 3rd step to crisp them up a bit.
3) Crisp Up the Cracklins! I like to ‘crisp’ them up in the oven. To do this, I spread the cracklins on a cookie sheet or broiler pan and broil until nice and crispy…. extra crispy if you will. Depending on how brown the fat is, the time it takes to crisp will vary. Be careful not to burn the fat.
Crispy beef fat cracklins prepared this way, the flavor and crunch… are beyond comparison!
With spices or just plain, the flavor and crunch is fantastic!
Spices & Additional Flavorings
Our favorite spices are all perfect for spicing up the cracklins, they include:
- Sea Salt and Pepper – we use sea salt and ground peppercorns.
- Slap Ya Mama – an all the time favorite.
- Apple Cider Vinegar – brings a nice ‘twang’.
- Chili spices including chili powder, cayenne pepper and cumin.
Everyone Can Enjoy Cracklins
I tend to eat highER fat in the fall and winter, while eating lowER fat in the spring and summer. At this time I am actually in a ‘leaning out’ period, having dropped about 8 lbs the last couple of months.
How can I eat and enjoy fatty meats including these crispy crunchy cracklins while losing weight? … it’s all about balance, for me.
These crispy beef brisket cracklins can absolutely be part of a healthy plan to lose or maintain weight.
By trimming the fat and saving it for cooking and eating (cracklins), I am actually spreading out the fat consumption over days and weeks. I will nibble on the cracklins occasionally, but typically I use them much like bacon bits…. I sprinkle a tablespoon or two over my plate of eggs and meat… the additional flavor and crunch adds much to an already delicious meal!
Just like the picture below, I added beef brisket cracklins to a ground beef and onion dish… it was excellent!