Friday, June 13, 2008

Caul Fat—The Chef's Friend

I have a fondness for making and eating charcuterie: pâtés, terrines, ballotines, galantines, sausages, hams, and such. One thing you learn early on when making charcuterie is the kinds and uses of various kinds of fat: fatback, kidney fat, bacon, pork belly, and especially caul fat. It constantly surprises me the number of people in this industry that I meet who have never worked with caul fat.

Caul fat, as you can see, is a very thin lacy membrane that surrounds the viscera of animals. I generally use beef or pork. Lamb is also available. I highly prefer pork caul fat, unless I am working with beef.

Caul fat is indispensable when you want to contain and restrain a loose or rolled product. During cooking, the fat largely melts away, leaving you the finished product that you would otherwise have had to tie with string or bind in some other fashion.

Caul fat is excellent for making individual servings of a forcemeat. You can wrap the forcemeat in caul fat and the fat will help it hold its shape until it cooks and the proteins set up to hold it in shape.

Caul fat is even more excellent for restraining rolled meats, such as these boned saddles of rabbit stuffed with a Kurobuta pork forcemeat. Easy to roll and no fooling around with string. No unsighltly string marks messing with the presentation and no messing around removing the string from a hot product.

Caul fat can be very difficult to find if you are not in the trade. Hopefully you can find a good butcher.


  1. where can I find beef caul fat

  2. I don't have any idea. You might be able to buy some from a high end butcher or beg some off of a high end restaurant in your area.

  3. If you have a local butcher that slaughters farm animals, they usually throw the caul fat away, so ask them. I raise pigs, lambs, goats (personal consumption. ) and when the butcher visits, I had to make a point of asking for the caul fat, he said most people just toss it. If only they knew!

  4. We have caul fat all the time. The trouble is finding customers who know what it is and how to use it.

  5. Awesome news, so next time I need some, I will call. Who knew?