Thursday, April 4, 2013

How to Render Tallow!

We went back to the farm for some more delicious grass-fed beef.  We were happily reading labels and prices and tallying totals when I saw it. 

One of the refrigerators (all of which are labeled with what they contain) stated that on that particular top shelf I would find beef suet. Yay!! 

I was thrilled to discover that I had access to suet from healthy cows, from which I would render the delicious and SO GOOD FOR YOU tallow.  Oh. I was so happy.

I put three packages in my bag, which ended up totaling 6 pounds of suet.

Here they are.  Mmmmm, looks good, right?  No?  Just looks like fat to you?
Oh, but it is so healthy.  (A low-fat diet is not your friend. We've been duped.)  I'll give you a link at the end. Stick with me.

I cut that six pounds of suet into some manageable pieces.  And placed them in two roasting pans.

The looks of it after about two hours.  (You want to render it very slowly, at a low temperature... I do it at 170 degrees.)

This is after eleven hours!  I had to smash the pieces a bit with a fork.

Following one more hour in the oven after I smashed all those pieces that were still trying to stand tall, I put them through "the sieve."  Smash the daylights out of that, too.  You'll be surprised at how much tallow still renders after you think you're done.

That delicious yellow color tells us we have much value here... nutrients. It's a beautiful thing.

Two full quarts, plus a half pint of super-healthy tallow; that's what you get from 6 pounds of suet.

And this is what it looks like after it has cooled.  Completely solid!

Here's how I use it:

"Stearic acid, found in beef tallow and butter, has cholesterol-lowering properties and is a preferred food for the heart." ~Sally Fallon Morell  (source)

And this...
Taking the fear out of eating fat.

I recommend reading the articles linked above.

Linking with Simple Living Wednesdays, Real Food Wednesday, Backyard Farming Connection Hop, Tasty Traditions, Healthy 2day Wednesday


Lynda B said...

I whooped with you at the 'free'! I did this for the first time last month (our farmer didn't offer for free, but very low cost) - I did it on the stove top, but I really like the idea of doing it in the oven - yay, tallow!

Kristen (Smithspirations) said...

Free??? That's amazing! I think I would have danced a bit, too. ;)
I haven't rendered lard or tallow yet, though we use lard often. Do you know if you can do this in a crock pot on low?
Found your link through Tasty Traditions. Have a great weekend!

Pam O'Brien said...

I haven't done it in the crock pot myself, but I've heard it can be done.
Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

Stone Cottage Adventures said...

FREE is a wonderful word! I don't know anything about tallow. Now you have me all curious! Thank you for hopping on board The Great Blog Train! -Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures

Mom said...

Great Pammie....I learn so much from your postings, but I haven't a clue what you plan to do with all this tallow! How is it used?? Just call me a naive city lady. ;-)

Pam O'Brien said...

Mom, I'll use it for frying and sauteing. So far, I've just fried eggs and browned some chicken breasts with it, but soon I'm going to try those mozz balls again using tallow instead of coconut oil (remember, I didn't like the sweetness of the coconut oil for the savory fried cheese). I'll also use it when I make cutlets, etc.

Kelly Blackwell @ Heres My Take On It said...

That is awesome. I must admit I have never done that. Nor have I had the opportunity. Way to go for finding such a great find! Good for you! Thank you for sharing. Maybe some day I will stumble on such a great freebie. :) I'm dropping by and a new follower from the great blog train. So glad I did. I am totally inspired. Hope you can stop by too:

Janice and Gerald said...

I was wondering how you store these jars after their filled with the gorgeous tallow? Are they shelf stable, or do you have to refrigerate? Great blog post!

Pam O'Brien said...

Hi Janice,

In my cold winter kitchen, I store a jar on the counter, with the others in the fridge. That's merely for convenience, as it's as solid on the counter as it is cold from the fridge.
In the summertime, they always have to be chilled, or they'll start to develop mold in a matter of weeks - that could also be from contamination, though. Be sure to always use clean, dry utensils when digging for that solid gold! ;-)
Refrigerated, these jars could last up to a year!

Janice and Gerald said...

Thanks so much for the quick response Pam! I have a bunch of fat from the local (organic) beef we bought last year, and now I'm itching to turn it into tallow! I also have a big bag of local organic pork fat ... can you use the same process for that? We are so incredibly lucky on our little island. We can buy all of our pork, beef and chicken from our neighbours. We have our own goats for milk, cheese, yogurt ... and depending on who arrives in the coming weeks, we may have goat meat in our freezer also in the coming months. Great blog, by the way :-)

Pam O'Brien said...

Thanks for compliment on the blog. I appreciate it. I don't have pork fat available to me (not as readily as the suet), so I have no experience in rendering it... I'm afraid I can't help there. Your "little island" sounds absolutely wonderful! Where is it?!

Janice and Gerald said...

Good morning Pam. We are on a small island off the coast of British Columbia (Quadra Island), between the mainland, and Vancouver Island. We have 5 acres that we have developed from scratch ... okay, are still developing. This may be a life long job :-) I do a blog, but it's by invitation only. If you're interested in following along, just send me your email to and I'll hook you up :)