Flavor without fat!

Discussion in 'YAWYE' started by jirodriguez, Nov 12, 2011.

  1. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I always struggle to balance the full flavor, but less fat. A few things I have found work well for me:
    • Make a pan sauce instead of a gravy! Cook some lean pork loin in a pan with seasonings and olive oil, when the pork is done pull it to rest. While the pork is resting re-heat the pan (it will have little brown bits of tastey stuck on the bottom), once the pan is hot hit it with a splash of 1/2 & 1/2 (about 1/2 a Cup). Keep the heat high and deglaze the pan with the 1/2 & 1/2, using a wooden spoon to scrape up all the yummy bits. Pull pan from heat and use the "sauce" you just created to spoon over the pork loin or mashed potatos. You can use differant liquids to de-glaze you pan with (wine, brandy, beer, broth, ect.), just pick something that compliments your seasonings and meat. (Does not work well with a non-stick pan)
    • Use olive oil! I use olive oil for everything now, only time any other oil gets used in the house is for my wifes baking.
    • Want flavor without a sugary rub? Marinade meats in hot salsa with the juice of two fresh limes for 24 hrs., then smoke or grill as desired. It won't be spicy but it will have a lot of flavor.
    • Make your own Jerk seasoning! Fairly easy to make, and provides huge flavor.
    • Buy spices off of your beaten path. Try new spices, there are a lot of cultures out there that use very little salt or sugar, but still get big flavor. Use the internet to explore differant cuisines and their spices.
    Those are just a few of the things I try to do on a fairly consistant basis to add flavor without adding a bunch of fat. Can't wait to hear what some of the rest of you do - always looking for more ideas!
  2. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Great suggestions! Lots to try, the Salsa Marinade is Brilliant...Nice call on not getting Brown bits in Non-Stick pans...I have a Jerk Marinade I have used for years, but what do you put in your Jerk Seasoning? Never used one...JJ
  3. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Thanks for the tips Johnny!
  4. werdwolf

    werdwolf Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Those are great tips.  Coming at it from the other angle; there isn't much sugar in any of that.
  5. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Also forgot to mention salad dressings! Zesty Italian dressing makes an awesome marinade and brushing sauce, Honey Mustard dressing is a great glaze, and lots of other dressings that are fairly low fat make good glazes and marinades as well.
  6. michael ark

    michael ark Master of the Pit

    Good tips.[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
  7. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Great ideas, EVERYONE!!!

    For another pan sauce idea, try a couple tablespoons of balsamic vinegar for the base flavor to go along with the deglazing of the pan. Might not be a good idea with any dairy ingredients (curdling due to acidity), but if you're using olive oil in the pan, a bit of flour/water for a thickener (unless you're intolerent of gluten) won't hurt a thing. The amount of balsamic to use would be based on three things: the age, type and quality of the balsamic, the amount of sauce desired, and your personal taste.

    I used a balsamic sauce like this with leftover smoked pork loin that I lean trimmed, cubed, steam reheated, then poured the meat/sauce over steamed rice and vegetables for a complete meal...it ate kind of like a chinese stir fry, without frying...pretty darn tasty for a quick, down and dirty, spur of the moment idea, and best of all, we got to make a second meal from the smoked loin with a total prep/cooking time of about 45 minutes for the entire meal. The rice took the longest of anything, actually, just cuz I don't do minute rice, myself. I don't think I took any pics, or I'd post 'em.

    I really like the aged (up to 15 years) balsamic from Sam's Club. It's not expensive...wife said about $17.00 for the 34oz bottle of Star "Special Reserve" Vinegar of Modena, and it seems to be a good quality for the money. The label nutrition info states it contains 5 calories per tablespoon, with 2g total carbs (1% DV, from sugars), all other daily value info is null. Ingredients: Balsamic Vinegar, Potassium Metabisulfite (preservative), 6% acidity. Product of Modena Italy, packed in Spain. 

    I'm by no means an authority on balsamic, but it really opened up my horizons for stove-top cooking. It had about 15 - 18% solids in the bottom of the bottle when I first opened it...took quite a bit of inverting and some shaking to break it all loose and mix it back into the liquid. I did a little research on it several weeks ago so I would know more about what I could expect to be able to do with it. My wife bought it for giggles several months ago, saying she saw a recipe on food network or something that she wanted to try it with. Once I got my hands on it and came up with a few recipes for marinating, pan sauces and wet rubs? Oh, my!!!

    Here's a couple sites I was reading from, if you're one of the "un-trained" in the culinary arts, like me:


    This site explains more detail about what really goes into a high quality, high end balsamic, and some tid-bits about how to identify a really good bottle of these prized, flavorful liquids of goodness...the spendy but good stuff:


    Keep in mind, the various types and qualities of balsamic all have a purpose, and the less expensive, low to mid grades (shorter aged and/or lesser ingredient quality) can be used for general cooking, while the high end stuff is more for individual serving use for special dishes, so, don't think you'll have to spend a fortune to get great results on the plate.

    Keep 'em comin'...I'm likin' this!


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