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#11486912 - 03/18/16 09:52 PM Mrs. Tucker's shortening query
Catfish Lynn Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 06/03/10
Posts: 1061
Loc: Bryan, Texas
I was just wondering. Anybody here in the Bryan & College Station area buy any Mrs. Tucker's shortening (grease) recently? I am about to do a family Catfish Fry Sunday mid afternoon. My regular supplier was Village Foods on Briarcrest & E. 29th recently sold to another company. From time to time (maybe every 3 years or so) HEB will have it, then it will disappear again. I checked the one on TX 21 & 6, as well as the big one in College Station off Holleman, but none found.

I have been using Mrs. Tucker's since 1979 for fish fries. I have tried the others, as well as oils. Nothing beats Mrs. Tuckers. I proved it last year to one of my co-workers. He liked the way it tasted so much, he went out, bought some & they fried chicken for his family one night. He said the kids were eating it as soon as it got fried. And everybody said that was the best tasting home cooked fried chicken ever.

Not many realize it, but grease, even though they claim oil is better, it may not actually be so. We discussed this matter a few years back on the Forum. It seems that you can get the grease to a higher tempurature than the oil. This in turn fries it very fast if you are deep frying. By cooking faster, less grease is absorbed into the meat (and/or batter). By cooking slower with oil, it absorbs more. When I first start frying, the grease is hot enough to light a match. After the 2nd batch, the grease has levelled out (temperature comes down slightly), then you start getting a golden brown, just right. The ladies that taught me these secrets in the mid 1970s always spoke of using grease (shortening), not oil. Mrs. Tucker's has been around since 1886. My Grandmother swore by it. And we always stood around waiting for whatever she was cooking with her cast iron stove.

I have been compiling a list of stores in neighboring towns, in case I have to travel 20 or so miles away. I called a few already, but so far, have come up empty-handed.
_________________________
Lynn
aka "Catfish"

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#11487197 - 03/19/16 06:32 AM Re: Mrs. Tucker's shortening query [Re: Catfish Lynn]
crappieScout Calvin Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 04/13/01
Posts: 1657
Loc: Springtown, Texas
Hey Lynn,

How much of Mrs Tucker's make a gallon when melted? I have a propane cooker that can hold 3-4 gallons. Wondering how many 42 oz. containers I'll need to get. How hot do you get it before your first drop? My grandmother always used Crisco shortening and it was pretty good. Mrs Tucker's Shortening


fish food,
_________________________
Happy and Safe Fishing,
crappieScout Calvin
----------------------
Don't Forget Your Sunblock

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#11487287 - 03/19/16 08:17 AM Re: Mrs. Tucker's shortening query [Re: Catfish Lynn]
Muzzlebrake Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 12/26/14
Posts: 1004
Loc: Euless
Nothing beats good old hog lard for flavor. I use Armour brand that I get from Kroger. You can find lard at most any Hispanic grocery store.

No difference between shortening and cooking oil. The cooking oil is solidified by adding food grade antioxidant(citric acid)to make shortening blocks.

For starters, lard is made out of animal fat, usually the fat of the pig. There are also a number of different lards that are made out of the fat from other animals such as duck fat and goose fat. On the other hand, shortening is made from a variety of different oils. Most of these oils are extracted from the very same plants and vegetables that are used to make cooking oil
_________________________
Infidel and proud of it.

From Genesis: "And God promised men that good and obedient wives would be found in all corners of the earth."

Then He made the earth round...and He laughed and laughed and laughed!

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#11487295 - 03/19/16 08:23 AM Re: Mrs. Tucker's shortening query [Re: Catfish Lynn]
Cast Offline
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 07/31/12
Posts: 4696
Loc: North Texas - God's Country
Use Lard, or Peanut oil for you high rollers. We used to float a match on the grease to meter the heat. When match lights, it's time to cook. Nowadays a thermometer...

Lard in pie crust will win the cook off...
_________________________
Cast



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#11487573 - 03/19/16 11:25 AM Re: Mrs. Tucker's shortening query [Re: Catfish Lynn]
Catfish Lynn Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 06/03/10
Posts: 1061
Loc: Bryan, Texas
Hmm, OK the 42 ounces is probably not fluid ounces, but let's say the plastic tub is about a quart or so. A quart is 32 fluid ounces.

Hang on, let me do an actual fill test with tub & half gallon OJ jug I just emptied. Time out ... OK results are in. I filled the half gallon OJ jug to about an inch or two below the top. Sometimes they may put a bit less in. We will call that an estimated half gallon. Then I poured it into the plastic (or vinyl) Mrs. Tucker's 42 ounce tub. Naturally the tub is not completely full with grease (shortening) when you buy it. But I filled the tub to the rim & still had about a half inch to 1.5 inches left in the OJ jug. That is close enough to say the tub will be equal a half gallon (64 fluid ounces). So best guess is that it may be fromn 60 to 62 ounces worth.

In deep frying, it is best to get just under, as when the fish gets dropped in, the grease boils & jumps up, plus displacement comes in as a factor too. If it boils over, the grease will light up, then you have to kill the propane (fuel), then re-light the flame afterwards for a "reboot". This takes a little time & knocks the heat level down rapidly.

So ... looks like 2 tubs for about a gallon. 6 tubs for about 3 gallons & 4 tubs for about 4 gallons worth.

As to high high a temp I get it. As you get the grease to the temp to start frying, one of my teachers said to get the grease to smoking. It means it is about where you need it. Another one or two told me to get a match, and slowly stir around in the pot of grease. If hot enough, it will light while in the grease. Pull out very fast & away from pot, so as not to light the pot full, which could ignite, but usually must be just a hair hotter (in bulk). Another trick, is if it does not light in the pot, it may almost be there, & as you pull the match out, swish it back & forth in the air. It will ignite in the air. If so, close enough, let the fry begin.

At this point, the grease is actually too hot to fry. The first two rounds of fish will be slightly darker & fry super fast. By the time the 3rd round cooks, the grease heat has levelled out to just right for continuous frying & be perfect. And it will be a golden brown, as to yellow corn meal batter with a little added flour (this helps to make the corn meal stick better to the fish). However, do not add to much flour, as this will cause the batter to burn, as well as taint the grease. If you are frying a lot (very big amount), water saturation (coming from fish) & burned batter are your biggest enemies. I use the little wire strainers. I refer to them as dip nets. I swish around time to time sifting out the particles to keep the excess batter out as eventually those burnt particles will start clinging to fish the further into the fry.

You can re-use the grease & even take some of the fishiness out (during or after a fry). Two tricks- French fries help, but may add water to the grease more than the fish has done. Too much water & the grease will not fry the fish. Second trick- is what I refer to as Fish toast, which is portions of a slice of bread tossed into hot grease & will fry golden brown, then flip & do the same to the other side, then remove & drain. After it cools off, you can eat it, but remember it is very rich. It should be crunchy (with Mrs. Tuckers). After grease cools down, but not hardened (solidified), you can strain it with a paper towel or two (in a funnel or not). You can also get particles out which may affect your next fry. Be sure the grease is not too hot for the container you are draining it into. The plastic tubs will melt if grease is still too hot.

If I don't re-use the grease, I will leave it in until next fish fry, as it keeps the cast iron pot oiled (greased) & prevents rust. Just don't store it in high heat (such as a camper). It will eventually mold.

Mrs Tuckers uses a special blend of animal fats with some vegetable oils, and they have been doing it since 1886. There are a few articles online from the 40s, 50s, and 60s in archives from newspapers. One of these noted they had been "Trying" Mrs. Tucker's shortening for 42 years. Obviously, they must have like it very well to "try" it for that long.
_________________________
Lynn
aka "Catfish"

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#11487627 - 03/19/16 12:11 PM Re: Mrs. Tucker's shortening query [Re: Catfish Lynn]
Joe Slab Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 07/28/13
Posts: 1273
Loc: NTX
Thanks for the info. Great post Lynn. I've got to try this now. All I've ever used is vegetable oil. thumb

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#11487747 - 03/19/16 02:11 PM Re: Mrs. Tucker's shortening query [Re: Joe Slab]
crappieScout Calvin Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 04/13/01
Posts: 1657
Loc: Springtown, Texas
Thanks Lynn,

I'll have to give it a try! I'm going to do some research as to on best temp for frying. I'm thinking you should be able to use a thermometer. Pretty good article ( Oils and Fats smoking points ). I may try lard first.


fish food,
_________________________
Happy and Safe Fishing,
crappieScout Calvin
----------------------
Don't Forget Your Sunblock

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#11490799 - 03/21/16 09:46 AM Re: Mrs. Tucker's shortening query [Re: Catfish Lynn]
Big Zee Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 02/05/08
Posts: 1781
Loc: East Yegua
Lynn, I know this is late for the fish fry, but Brookshires over in Caldwell might have Mrs. Tuckers. Great post here. I use Louana oil. Going back to Mrs. Tuckers myself now.
_________________________
Merry Christmas to all. May you have a wonderful and blessed Holiday season.

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#11492569 - 03/22/16 02:26 AM Re: Mrs. Tucker's shortening query [Re: Catfish Lynn]
Catfish Lynn Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 06/03/10
Posts: 1061
Loc: Bryan, Texas
Thanks! I'll give them a buzz.

Had to settle for Bake-Rite Sunday. Distributed by the same as Mrs. Tucker's. Labels show to be comparable to each other, but different mailing zip code and last 6 numbers on UPC bar code. Had problems with one of the burners- would never get hot enough & I made the mistake of using the small propane stove for the crinkle cut fries (did not have enough "Umph"). But one burner "sang" like a charm. The first big tub of catfish was a tremendous hit, including Eric (my son-in-law), who commented to my Uncle & Mom that even though he likes to fish, he really does not eat fish, EXCEPT he eats mine, which he noted really says something.

I did find that The Farm Patch on South College Avenue does not have it, but said they can check into it, and may be able to pull it in for me ahead of future "Catfish Fry-s".

Also, I noted that Mrs. Tucker's goes back to 1886. Not exactly sure, as Bake-Rite Dept. of Agriculture seal says established in 404, so obviously that may not be a year, but perhaps an assigned number. But Mrs. Tuckers shortening has been around for many years (I found references to newspaper articles on it online dating back into the 60's, 50s, and I think beyond that), since my Uncle & Mom say my Grandmother always used it. She could make her cast iron stove "sing". Lots of good & delicious food memories from her stove & her cooking.
_________________________
Lynn
aka "Catfish"

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#11492570 - 03/22/16 02:33 AM Re: Mrs. Tucker's shortening query [Re: Catfish Lynn]
Catfish Lynn Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 06/03/10
Posts: 1061
Loc: Bryan, Texas
Here is one snip from a Google search snapshot---

+++++++++++++
The Eagle from Bryan, Texas · Page 19 - Newspapers.com
https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/70347856/
The Eagle (Bryan, Texas), Thursday, December 9, 1954, Page 19. ... its monthly meeting Monday evening in the College Station home of Mrs. O. C. Cooper. ... but they have been “TRYING” Mrs. Tucker's Shortening for 42 years, and this PURE ...
+++++++++++++

Hmm, I think Mom told me the other day that O.C. Cooper (her husband) delivered me (as a baby) as he was covering for my doctor that weekend.
_________________________
Lynn
aka "Catfish"

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#11492573 - 03/22/16 03:08 AM Re: Mrs. Tucker's shortening query [Re: Catfish Lynn]
Catfish Lynn Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 06/03/10
Posts: 1061
Loc: Bryan, Texas
I forgot to add that I pulled these bags of cutup catfish from the small chest freezer- they expanded & interlocked when they froze, about 10 bags in the bottom---
Here is what I pulled (the label from each gallon bag)/ BC is BlueCat & CC is Channel Cat & YC/Op is YellowCat. T-Day is Thanksgiving Day Trip:
1) 11-8-09 / BC & CC
2) T-Day 2009 / BC
3) T-Day 2009 / BC
4) 11-22-09 / 1/2 side of 14# BC uncut (in slabs)
5) 2009/ 1/2 side of Stephanie's Op uncut (in slabs)

I fried up only the first 3 (filled 1 1/2 alum. foil tubs from HEB- HF medium roaster with lids) & refroze #4 & #5 bags (new bags & water) for another day.

I freeze mine in water, and make sure I squeeze the air out as I seal the bag. If a very long time before frying, such as these (6.5 years), I thaw & go thru the cut pieces. I will trim off spots that may have yellowed or were on edge that got freezer burns (it is easy to feel as it is stiffer). The two bags I did not fry, were in slabs, not cut up in fryer portions. I cut & trimmed them, so they wil be ready for next time. When I refreeze fish, it will be in a new bag with new water. And I try to fry them on the next fry.
_________________________
Lynn
aka "Catfish"

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#11494213 - 03/22/16 05:27 PM Re: Mrs. Tucker's shortening query [Re: Catfish Lynn]
Slow Drifter Offline
Pro Angler

Registered: 06/23/10
Posts: 748
Loc: CenTX
Too late to be of any use, but get ahold of a manager at your HEB, if they've ever carried the product and it's still available they'll order some for you, especially if it's available through one of their regular distributors, just something they don't usually carry. I order weird stuff through my HEB all the time. They'll let you know when it'll be there and how to pick it up. For lard, probably by asking at the meat counter.

edited to add: My odd-ball stuff usually has a tag with my name on it. I've never failed to pick anything up but I understand that anything ordered and not picked up just goes on the shelf for general sale. You don't pay for it until you pick it up.


Edited by Slow Drifter (03/22/16 05:35 PM)
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#11495066 - 03/23/16 06:51 AM Re: Mrs. Tucker's shortening query [Re: Catfish Lynn]
Catfish Lynn Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 06/03/10
Posts: 1061
Loc: Bryan, Texas
Appreciate it! It seems we have come to the age where the shelves are getting barer & barer, but we can order it & get it in. Can you imagine what would happen if communication & distribution (including shipping & trucking) were interrupted? Eventually it will & then we will find out the true meaning of "delay". Like setting up dominoes.
_________________________
Lynn
aka "Catfish"

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#11495082 - 03/23/16 07:06 AM Re: Mrs. Tucker's shortening query [Re: Catfish Lynn]
Reynolds Guide Service Offline
Angler

Registered: 07/18/01
Posts: 313
Loc: Ray Roberts
Old Ma Tucker watches me cook fish every time I cook.

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#11496747 - 03/23/16 05:47 PM Re: Mrs. Tucker's shortening query [Re: Catfish Lynn]
1Tacklehoarder Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 02/14/16
Posts: 72
Loc: Couple miles west of College S...
You can order it at HEB's website for $3.88 each
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