Why You Should Save The Fat From Your Country Ham, According To Andrew Zimmern

Andrew Zimmern is a bit of a rara avis. The Travel Channel's foodie eats some of the weirdest foods you can imagine. We are talking foods the majority of us would never let come near our mouths. Some of the absoulte worst foods Zimmern has consumed include the coconut tree grub, harkal, horse rib and rectum, as well as balut. If your gag reflex kicked in just reading that list, we are with you. But hey, everyone's palate is different and some are clearly more adventerous than others, so, chacun à son goût, right?  

But it is that adventerous nature of Zimmern's that makes him such a great chef. He is willing to use leftover EVOO from his artichoke hearts to make a dressing, adds bacon to his savory Chex Mix, and Irish whiskey to his bread pudding. He even told the The Spendid Table that his favorite meal is actually "porcupine fat grilled over an open fire, which I got a chance to eat with the Bushmen of the Kalahari." Adventerous, indeed. So, it makes sense that Zimmern would be unconventional when using fat in his cooking, especially the fat that comes from your country ham.

'Fat is flavor'

As it turns out, country ham trimmed fat pieces are a refrigerator staple for Andrew Zimmern. My Recipes did a Q&A with the "Bizarre Foods" aficionado, who told the online publication that country ham trimmed fat pieces are a must-have. Zimmern shared, ""It's absolutely the most delicious thing you can cook in. It lends a swiney funkiness to anything that's cooked in it." And he continues to push for its use. In a tweet, the cookbook author urged, "Save your fat! Fat is flavor... and the funky fermented stuff is the best of all! Veg dish of the day... stay tuned it's multipart celebration."

This is not the first time Zimmern has argued for this fatty element. He expounded its many virtues to The Spendid Table, noting, "Fat is not an evil word, fat is good." Zimmern further advocated for the use of fat when cooking, saying, "Fat is used all over the world. It's an incredible, incredible vehicle for creating other flavors and bringing other flavors into the pan. I think it's vastly overlooked." If you are feeling iffy, we get it, but try Zimmern's Kilt Salad with Country Ham, which is described as an Appalachian dish that uses wilted greens and ham and bacon fat to make a hot dressing. It may make you a believer.