In my earlier post about tallow, I mentioned Jennifer McLagan, a “nose to tail” chef and author who writes about the subject in her books Bones, Fat, and the forthcoming Odd Bits. I sent McLagan an e-mail, asking for her help with my suet/tallow conundrum. Here is her helpful response:
From your photos I would say that was suet, it is brittle and has a papery membrane. Technically suet is tallow, the general term for beef and lamb fat, but beef/veal suet can be used without rendering. It is very firm at room temperature, so you can just grate it and then make wonderful tea biscuits, dumplings and steamed puddings. You can still use it for all these recipes, just dice it as would any other fat, but yes, you could have skipped the rendering step.
As you have rendered, it try making french fries with it. They will be amazing.
I recently made one of her salad dressing recipes, but substituted chicken fat for the duck fat. When the dressing turned out quite bland, I realized that chicken fat and duck fat are not interchangeable. Since I have jars of frozen chicken fat I need to use, I asked her when, if ever, it would be appropriate to use chicken fat in place of duck fat.
As for chicken fat vs. duck fat, duck fat is richer and better flavoured than chicken fat. Also duck and goose (even tastier) are lower in polyunsaturated fats than chicken fat, so have a better omega 3/omega 6 ratio. Try using it when you roast or sauté poultry, or add it to the pan to cook eggs — anywhere you are not depending on it for flavour, as in the grapefruit salad dressing.
You could make the gribenes recipe. It’s delicious and I am sure you could confit in it, as the flavour comes from the spicing and what you are confiting. You can cook chicken skin in a pan and make chicken cracklings and add them to a tea biscuit or top a salad or cooked vegetables with them. Also it would be great when you want a neutral fat. So when a recipe says “vegetable” oil that I am sure you are not using, grab your chicken fat.
Hope this helps.
Yours in fat,