Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
18 Jun

How to Render Beef Tallow

fat2As I wrote yesterday’s post, I realized that I’d never actually made my own beef tallow from scratch. I’ve collected plenty of bacon grease in my day, and I’ve made schmaltz and used beef drippings from roasts as cooking fats, but never beef tallow. In fact, I almost never hear about it, even in Primal circles. It’s either lard, duck fat, or ghee getting all the attention. Hey, those are all great, delicious fats, and they deserve their prestige, but I like sticking up for the little guy. I like an underdog. In this case, of course, the little guy comes courtesy of a big cloven-hoofed ungulate.

To render beef tallow, you need to get your hands on some raw beef fat.

It’s called suet, and the best stuff for rendering is going to be solid and firm. Most suet comes from the tissue surrounding the kidneys and the loins, but any hard beef fat will do. What I did was buy steak and roast trimmings from a butcher. It wasn’t grass-fed, unfortunately, but it was from clean, organic meat from a guy who really knew his stuff. It was also incredibly inexpensive (I paid two bucks for around three pounds) and just about the only source of raw beef fat I could find on short notice. If you can find a good butcher that deals with grass-fed meat, I’d imagine buying the fat trimmings is still fairly inexpensive and completely worth the extra effort.

I don’t know whether my batch was suet or not (I suspect there was at least a bit, judging from the thick, hard pieces that felt like cold butter when you sliced into them), and it did look a little ragged and hastily thrown together, but it was still fat. I wasn’t going to let a little uncertainty slow me down, for I was armed with the knowledge that fat can always be rendered.

DSC 0082

I threw my motley crew of beef fat onto the cutting board, grabbed my chef’s knife, and began to cut the fat into cubes. I’d read tons of contradictory information about particle size, with some recipes calling for larger, 1-inch cubes and others claiming finely diced or shredded fat got the best yield. My experience with rendering pre-shredded buffalo kidney fat was painless and easy, so I went for shredded. I figured the more surface area, the better. As I cut more and more and trimmed more and more, however, I realized that tossing a bunch of room temperature fat cubes into the food processor was asking for a congealed mess. The solution? Freeze the cubes.

DSC 0084

So, after trimming the fat completely and removing all attached muscle meat and bloody tissue (see pic of me holding up a speck in my fingers) (this step is crucial, because meat and blood will only burn and ruin the purity of your tallow), I threw the whole lot into the freezer for a couple hours.

DSC 0083

You don’t want completely frozen and you don’t want completely… thawed? You want the middle. You want a texture like sorbet (mmmm, beef sorbet anyone?) or cold butter. After two hours, into the processor they went, and twenty seconds of pulsing got me the shredded (yet still intact) fat I needed.

fat

This is where I had to make a huge decision. Was I going to do a dry-render over the stove in a high quality pot, or was I going to do a wet-render and get the potentially purest tallow by boiling and then separating fat from water? I’d read about several different ways to render fat, but I chose two that seemed to make the most sense. The wet-render sounded tempting, if a bit messy and time-consuming, but I eventually passed on it. I settled on doing the traditional dry-render over super low heat on the stove top along with an oven render at 250 degrees. For both, I used reinforced cast-iron pots (from Martha Stewart, no less!) and about a pound of shredded fat in each.

fat4

The plan was to cook it long, slow, and low while noting the differences between the two methods and ultimately choosing a “winner.” The stove top fat started rendering almost right away, even with just a tiny flicker of a flame doing the heating. After about 20 minutes, the first sign of “cracklins”began to show: light brown shriveled up pieces of (former) fat bubbling around inside the newly rendered fat. I was initially worried that I was going too fast too soon, but that wasn’t the case. The cracklins were great, and they never burned. The fat remained pure and clear.

fat3

In the oven, things were slow going. I had set the timer for two hours, and an hour into it there was a decent layer of rendered fat accruing. There were no cracklins to be seen, only soggy grayish chunks of fat. An hour and a half into it, cracklins were everywhere – almost as many as in the stovetop pot. Neither pot smoked nor burned; neither source of rendering fat gave off a foul odor (although my dog did set up camp right in front of the oven, no doubt hoping for stray splatters). I was a little worried that I’d mess it up somehow, but I didn’t. Both pots of fat fully rendered without burning. The stove top took about an hour and twenty minute to fully render (1 pound, shredded, over ultra low heat), while the oven pot took closer to two hours at 250 degrees F.

I’d also read that I might have to clarify my tallow – to remove random miniscule bits, flecks of meat, crumbled up cracklin that could mar the purity of the fat. Much to my surprise, there really wasn’t a need for clarification. I used a fine mesh strainer and it was completely sufficient. The result was pure, delicious tallow that turned white in the fridge and was easy to scoop. If you look really closely, you can see some specks at the bottom of the jars, but you’d really have to stare.

DSC 0097

From my experience, both methods work equally well. If you like stay in the kitchen and tend to your dishes, go with the stove top method. As long as you keep an eye on it and keep the fat from sticking to the bottom, your fat will render much faster this way. If you want to go do other stuff while it renders, use the oven method. Other than keeping the heat low and occasionally popping in for a quick stir and scrape, you can pretty much set the clock and forget about the rendering.

Anyone ever use the wet-render method? Got any tips for my next batch of tallow? Let me know!

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Great experiment, Mark! What does it taste like?

    I imagine it would be hard to find fat scraps from grass fed beef. If anyone considers using fat scraps from a non organic source, remember that toxins are stored in fat!

    Vin - NaturalBias wrote on June 18th, 2009
    • Please name or define one ‘toxin’ that is stored in fat.
      Thank you.

      sb wrote on April 10th, 2010
      • Pesticides.

        Grok wrote on April 18th, 2010
      • I worked in an environmental contaminants lab for several years. Most of the serious toxins that you read about are lipophilic (or, hydrophobic) and hence will tend to partition into animals’ fat in the wild (i.e. bioaccumulate). Examples include dioxins, PDBEs, PCBs, etc.

        Luke wrote on October 26th, 2010
      • to name one …all animals (for food purposes) are injected with “growth hormones” called cattle implants, this does not leave the animals system. We then consume these into our systems. This causes a lot of grief with human beings as our bodies do not know how to process this. from this, there are many side affect with the human population….obesity, cancers, etc.

        Anna wrote on September 15th, 2011
        • Not all animals, even for the purpose of food, are injected with growth hormones. That statement is false. I grew up on a Black Angus farm and I never saw growth hormones. Beef is always better when you know where it comes from. My father raises bulls and sells them across the Midwest. He has been breeding with superior genetics for years. My grand father actually went to Canada to get the first cattle. Now Black Angus cattle are the only beef bread with their own genomic test. This means that they can bread cattle for better meat and don’t use growth hormones.

          Michael wrote on October 2nd, 2011
      • I don’t get why so many paleo followers believe toxins don’t exist. Can someone explain the logic behind this ignorance.

        Dan wrote on April 13th, 2013
        • As far as I can tell, it’s more a skepticism of “cleanse” and “detox” buzzwords and related marketing. If I recall correctly, a toxin is defined by our ability to solely process it via our liver. Perhaps avoiding fructose and polyunsaturated fats does more to remove such toxins in your system than any so called “cleanse” pill or supplement.

          goneprimal wrote on April 13th, 2013
    • I’ve had 2 sides of grass-fed beef in the past 2 years and I can tell you that there is plenty of fat on it. Note that I’m saying “on” rather than “in”. Most of that fat is on the outside of the cuts and is very easily trimmed off. With the exception of certain cuts, the meat itself is not well marbled. The brisket was one exception. It was surprisingly fatty – about 50% fat. After trimming, the meat pretty much fell apart. I also asked the farmer to give me extra suet – many of the other customers don’t want theirs so he gave it to me.

      Sue wrote on May 6th, 2010
      • I just picked up a whole grass-fed cow from a local producer, and they saved the fat for me. I have bunches of it, much of it in large pieces, purchased specifically to render the tallow, so I was glad to find this article!

        JenZ wrote on June 5th, 2010
      • Not all grass fed beef is created equal. If it has fat on it, there is no reason why it should not have plenty of fat in it too. The reason why it doesn’t have more marbling, with ample exterior fat, is most likely due to genetics. Less marbling means less Omega 3′s. I know plenty of Lowline Black Angus grass steers that have graded USDA choice at 20-24 months. Lowline Black Angus are just like Angus cattle used to be 50-100 years ago, before grain feeding became so popular, so they are the ideal grass cattle. However, even within the Lowline breed, their are certain genetics that are superior to others when it comes to both marbling & tenderness. Today, there are DNA tests that measure both marbling & tenderness traits, so a producer/breeder has the tools available to produce superior grass fed beef, if they so choose to use them.

        TJ wrote on April 1st, 2011
    • OK, I’m a stumbler and was wondering what to do with some recently created beef tallow other than use it for use in lubricating musket ball patches. Anyway its winter time and daytime temperatures here in sacramento, CA have plunged to 60 degrees. That’s soup weather. Having noticed that even packaged Organic beef broth has stuff in it, such as gluten, I was motivated to make my own beef stock. I boiled marrow bones, with some meat and fat still attached, for three hours. This provided about three quarts of soup stock/broth; and, after sitting in the frig for a few days, about a half cup of nice white fat. Still haven’t figured out what to do with it; but, this site will certainly give me some ideas. Thank you.

      Stu wrote on December 19th, 2010
      • make soap

        lesley wrote on August 18th, 2012
    • I buy my grass fed beef by the quarter steer and I give the meat locker the instructions that I want the suet and I render away!

      thriftychic wrote on April 6th, 2011
    • I get mine from grass fed beef. I get all my meat, lard etc. from grass fed beef. I have to have a cow leasse to get it but as a bonus I can get raw milk as well.

      Patricia wrote on August 10th, 2011
    • I use the water method with a crock pot. That way you don’t have to watch it. Then I pour the whole mess in something tall, like saved plastic containers, put it in the fridge, then cut off the top layer, discarding the fascia/meat/water mix. Then I repeat to get really fine tallow for soap that doesn’t “melt”, candles, and cooking. The “kidney” fat is the best, if you can get it, and I agree, you want as close to organic humanely treated fat as you can get.

      Crystal wrote on September 11th, 2012
      • mmmm…fascia…

        tkm wrote on March 6th, 2013
    • I found grass-fed pastured beef suet at a farmer’s market yesterday for $3 a pound. If you can buy grass-fed beef, you can probably get suet as well. Many of the farmers in my area that offer grass-fed beef also offer suet, marrow bones, knuckles, and dog bones for free if you ask for them with your purchase of 1/4, 1/2, or whole cows.

      Celeste wrote on June 9th, 2013
  2. This might be a dumb question, but what do you use it for? In place of oils, like for greasing a pan when you cook eggs? I get my meat locally, and it’s grass fed, antibiotic and hormone free. They process it right there and will probably have fat available…

    Dave, RN wrote on June 18th, 2009
    • It has a high smoking point so it is good for high heat cooking. Many use it for deep frying and baking.

      Fry your eggs in it. Throw it in a beef and veggie stir-fry. Use it in place of butter or coconut oil for a variety of dishes. The list of uses is long.

      Mark Sisson wrote on June 18th, 2009
    • French fries! Or so I’ve heard. I’ve ordered suet at my local organic butcher so I can try cooking french fries in tallow. I’ve head it’s delicious, but I’ve never tried it.

      Serve that with a nice steak and a sauce Béarnaise and you’re in heaven.

      Rune wrote on May 15th, 2012
  3. What about using a crockpot? Would that be low enough for heat or would it be too low?

    Sunny wrote on June 18th, 2009
    • I use a crockpot to render my beef fat and it works out great–on the low setting that is.

      Candus wrote on October 4th, 2009
      • I haven’t read this post in a while but rendered 4 lbs this weekend in the crock pot. Worked Perfectly…not fast but I also didn’t have to watch it. Started with a block of frozen suet, didn’t even chop it up. Set it on warm a few hours till some fat accumulated in the bottom and then upped it to low. Left it overnight and then broke down the soft fat into smaller pieces with a knife and let it go all day into nice clear tallow and cracklins. Got about 5 cups out of it.

        Mariah wrote on May 2nd, 2011
      • When rendering beef fat in the slow cooker, do you have the lid on or leave it off?
        Thanks!!

        Phoebe wrote on February 17th, 2012
        • keep the lid on

          Kathy wrote on October 24th, 2012
  4. You can even use it as an extra healing and penetrating base for many herbal first aid ointments (really much more effective than most plant based oils for healing the human body).

    Kiva Rose wrote on June 18th, 2009
    • Interesting.

      One point to note, however, is that Coconut oil has high levels of lauric acid, which is also has been known to have healing properties. When I’m not eating it, I use it as hand lotion.

      ————————-
      Thanks for the article. I have only seen wet methods so far. I just got some FREE (grass fed) beef fat from the butcher at my co-op. She said they just throw it away so I could have it.

      -they can get lard (and sell it), but so few people are interested in tallow that nobody really produces it locally and it is very hard to get. Can’t beat free I guess.

      Alex Sobieski wrote on January 20th, 2011
  5. Mark I’ve used the wet-render method for lard, but with some modifications.

    I tried to boil the fat, which I cut in small pieces with a knife, but it was taking for ever.

    I got impatient, so decided to throw the pieces of fat into the blender and proceeded to boil the “fat-puree” for 20 mins aprox.

    I got a very thick layer of floating liquid fat floating, and then decanted it the best I could to a separate recipient.

    The problem I experienced is that, due to the prior blending, it was impossible for me to decant the very last amounts of lard due to it being mixed with skin/meat tiny residues, so I lost some of it. Not much though.

    An the end, I was very satisfied with the results:

    http://tinyurl.com/q32avk
    http://tinyurl.com/r53h26
    http://tinyurl.com/r7qdro

    SerialSinner wrote on June 18th, 2009
  6. Not sure whether you have seen Jennifer McLagan’s book “Fat” (http://www.jennifermclagan.com/book_fat.htm) that won this year’s James Beard Award for Cookbook of the Year, but not only does she have some great recipes for a variety of animal fats, but she talks about how to render fats like lard and suet, and goes into the differences between wet and dry rendering, why you might want to do one or the other, and how to do it.

    Sounds like you hit upon some of the key components for suet anyway (freeze it a bit and shred it in a food processor rather than cutting it into cubes as you might with pork fat).

    This is still a fantastic book and well worth buying for anyone who is a cooking enthusiast, and especially a *primal* cooking enthusiast.

    Tommy Williams wrote on June 18th, 2009
  7. I’ve used wet-rendering but don’t any more. IMHO it’s a pain in the butt and I don’t have any better returns than with the stovetop or oven methods.

    I would only recommend it if you know you are too impatient to let the fat melt very slowly, especially at first. The water is there to prevent burning and will do this job. But if you use the oven method, or if you keep an eye on the stovetop, there really is no need.

    Also, I mash my bits with a potato masher from time to time. Speeds the process a little bit.

    Courtney wrote on June 18th, 2009
  8. Mark, Thanks for the great post. I am going to do this next weekend when I have some time to watch the pot.
    Thanks also to Tommy for the tip for the book. Awesome!

    Yummy wrote on June 18th, 2009
  9. Really surprised you haven’t made this stuff before Mark, it is the MAIN ingredient for making good deer sausage. I use organic grass fed beef tallow for my deer sausage and refuse to use anything else.

    Again another awesome post to help those primal eaters!

    George wrote on June 18th, 2009
  10. Mark, if you really want the rendered goodness to last , put about a tsp of fair trade sea salt on the bottom of the container you’re going to store it in. If there is ANY suspended moisture or particulate that settles to the bottom, the salt will do its magic and greatly reduce the possibility of spoilage.

    Chef wrote on June 18th, 2009
    • THanks for the salt tip. LOve that!

      Maria R wrote on December 27th, 2011
  11. Once upon a time McDonald’s fries were done in tallow, or mostly so. Then the healthies and vegetarians came along and they didn’t want it, so here we are.

    Slightly off topic, but where can one get lard w/o the partial hydrogenation? I presume it’s a heck of lot less than hydrogenated vegetable oils, but nevertheless…..

    The ubiquitious John Morrell dark blue packaged lard always had a bit of funky smell, at least to me. I recently bought an El Cheapo regional brand at half the price……and no smell!

    Paul wrote on June 18th, 2009
    • Guess I answered my own question after I went back and read yesterday’s post!

      Paul wrote on June 18th, 2009
  12. So I read this article a few days ago and couldn’t help but think “Man I gots to get me some tallow.” This morning I get a call from my cousin who tells me the local grass fed organic cow was ready to be picked up from the butcher this morning. I get 100lbs of the stuff and I am excited. I ask “any chance of getting some of the offal and suet or tallow?” He says the butcher set aside just the kidneys and the suet just for you. Its about 10lbs of fat in a bag.

    SCORE!

    Daniel Merk wrote on June 20th, 2009
  13. I have asked for fat at whole foods and farmers markets; both say they use it all (there is not much from young grassfed beef) for sauce, sausages, etc. I did manage to get enough pork belly fat to render a half gallon (slow cooker works well for me) but we used it all within a month. So finally I ordered a 5-gallon of tallow from grasslandbeef.com; they also sell in 2.5 lb for those who want to try it.

    jon winchester wrote on June 20th, 2009
    • Go to eatwild.com and find a farmer right by you. Then ask them to sell you the suet.

      Sue wrote on May 6th, 2010
  14. I was just trying to order some beef fat and the butcher said you only want to use the beef around the kidneys is this true?

    Vee wrote on November 6th, 2009
  15. I just made some for the first time today. I cut the fat about 1/4 inch thick and 2 inches long and put it in the pan with about 1/2 cup of warm water and cooked on medium heat for about 45min, stirring occasionally. I think the water kept the fat from sticking to the bottom of the pan, but quickly evaporated so cleanup was super easy and there is no water left in the rendered fat!

    Dane wrote on November 23rd, 2009
  16. Similar to what @Dane said…

    A way to speed up the process of dry rendering is to add a little (keyword little) water to the pot. The steam gets the fat melted down much more quickly on the super low heat setting. The little bit of water evaporates out in no time.

    Grok wrote on December 22nd, 2009
  17. I’ll second the prior comment by grok. I’m a butcher and a chef, and have access to a lot of trimmings, so needless to say I do a lot of rendering. I use precisely the process which Grok mentioned and would add a few other points. First, this method really does work much more quickly than the others but because of the higher heat, as mentioned in the article, it is crucial to get all the lean meat off the fat; it will burn and get you some unpleasant smelling tallow. This process also works with every other animal I’ve tried (pork, duck, goose, chicken, mutton).
    As far as a source of grass fed beef fat, most Whole Foods meat markets carry either a 100% grass fed steer, or a grass fed/grain finished (grain, the final month at feedlot), and many both. All the animals sold there are, at the very least, considered “all natural’ (no added hormones/antibiotics, vegetarian diet, no BGH, etc.) Give them some lead time and they will collect as much trim as they can.

    butcherboy wrote on December 24th, 2009
    • Great tips.

      I still used very low heat. The lowest setting on the stove for oh… 3-4 hours. I first I was worried about sloppiness of leaving some meat on, but mine’s perfect. Almost white as snow.

      I love the cracklins. They make a fantastic big-ass salad topping!

      http://twitpic.com/ur43j

      Grok wrote on December 24th, 2009
  18. Ask your butcher (of the wonderful folks at Whole foods) for ‘K&L’ fat: kidney and lumbar.

    Best flavor to ease of rendering ratio for beef and very very easy to get working. Hint: buy the meat grinder attachment for your kitchenaid mixer if for no other reason than it makes your tallow project an absolute joy.

    chef wrote on December 25th, 2009
  19. I did a couple of batches of tallow this week with some grass fed beef fat from a 1/4 cow we purchased.

    Tried the oven method and some in a slow cooker set on low. Both worked just fine. One batch, I ground up the fat, and one I just dumped the 1-2″ chunks of fat directly in the slow cooker. No difference in taste or clarity.

    I’d say the freezing/grinding step is unnecessary.

    egmutza wrote on January 5th, 2010
  20. I rendered 1.5 lbs this past weekend. I did the dry method – oven at 250F and i left it for 3 hrs. Worked great.

    How do you guys store the rendered tallow? I have probably 10 lbs of the stuff that I need to render still, which is a LOT of fat.

    Rob wrote on January 8th, 2010
    • Fridge or freezer for what you’re not immediately using is a fail-safe. :)

      Grok wrote on January 8th, 2010
  21. What wonderful tips on this subject. Another use that I have for small amount of Tallow is making it into Suet Feeders for Birds. We have a very large area we feed birds in and they love it. Draws many different specied in as well!

    Randy wrote on January 28th, 2010
  22. This is so cool. We, in Croatia that is, still butcher farm animals at home. My grandparents are still doing it and I help. From holding the animal during slaughter and cutting meat to making lard and sausages. So this stuff is totally natural for me and this primal thing is kinda reinventing the wheel. If you really want to see things al natural, just pop by the Balcans and enjoy all the weird old stuff like sour cabbage in thousand ways, blood sausages, cured meats and my personal favorite, cold pig’s head and skins in it’s own juice.

    Domagoj wrote on February 12th, 2010
    • I hope you know how truly blessed you are that this is all just normal to you! I so long for this kind of normal, but it is largely non existent in the US. We are reinventing it and hoping that it becomes normal. We hunt and fish and process everything ourselves and we are VERY different here:)

      Maria R wrote on December 27th, 2011
  23. my factory product rendering fat , lard ,suet for mecking soap.

    javad wrote on February 28th, 2010
  24. I stumbled here by accident while following some soap links. Tallow is a part of levantine cuisine, and in Lebanon it is a traditional mountain food. It is made mostly with lamb fats. Villagers used to make tallow because it lasted through the cold snowy winters of the mountains. We commonly use it to make “awarma”, which is the name used for food cooked in tallow. Egg “awarma” is a very traditional breakfast, where eggs are baked in tallow using claypots, then eaten with pita bread. Also, chickpea awarma, or “humus” awarma, is a plate of humus with a topping of chickpeas and ground meat baked in tallow. MMMMmmmm

    Issam wrote on March 8th, 2010
  25. I just got 3 lbs of beef fat ready to render! Thanks for the post :D

    Lillian wrote on March 12th, 2010
  26. So I just finished rendering some tallow this afteroon. While it is nice and white and clear and I did a great job on the straining, I am wondering if kept it on the stove to long or not long enough.
    What should the end product be like. Mine is very solid after being in the refridgerator…and it for sure has an odor to it…like..well kinda like I was cooking a vat full of fat I guess :)
    I am not sure why I was expecting a clean smell to it but I was.
    Does it typically add a lot of flavor to what you are cooking?
    Thanks
    Ed

    ekseattle wrote on March 15th, 2010
  27. This sounds so incredibly unhealthy!

    Julie wrote on April 22nd, 2010
    • To an uneducated or ignorant person (ie one that does not have all the data) or to a person “educated” with the wrong information (mainstream ie Saturated fats are unhealthy) then you are right. This would sound incredibly unhealthy.

      But thanks to the work of people like Mark Sisson, Dr. Loren Cordain, Gary Taubes, Dr. Weston A. Price, Sally Fallon, Dr. Mary Enig,PhD, and many, many others for bringing to light the health benefits of consuming a diet with plenty of animal fats, and thus plenty of fat soluble vitamins A,D,E,K etc., we now have information that repeatedly shows that not only is naturally raised animal protein and fat healthy, but in most cases, essential to maintaining true health and longevity in humans.

      Jordaan wrote on November 15th, 2011
  28. So how DO you guys store your tallow? I just rendered a ton of it, and I don’t want to devote the fridge space to it. Wikipedia says it’s stable at room temperature: but how do you seal it? Presto says you can’t can it, using either pressure or boiling water canning (as the fat will get under the lid and prevent a good seal). Any suggestions?

    Nicci wrote on May 5th, 2010
    • You can just pour it in a jar when still hot and close the jar immediately. It will stay for at least a year at room temperature (i tried some after 3! year and is still was fine). If you have a cold cellar you can roll a block of tallow in parchment paper and keep it for up to 6 months. I do 40 pounds of suet when i make tallow and that last for a long time. Never had problems keeping it as described above. The only real way to make Belgian fries in to deep-fry them on tallow.

      wouter wrote on September 2nd, 2010
  29. I did some tallow, but from 5 lbs of fat I only got like 2 cups of tallow! And while some of the fat looked like I thought it would and cut like codl butter, most of it was VERY difficult to cut. My Cutco knife (and those are SHARP) could barely cut through it. As far putting it in a blender… no way. It would have to have been powered by a lawn mower engine.
    I’m thinking maybe I got some fat that wasnt’ so great. But what I did get was good. I just need more!

    Dave, RN wrote on September 9th, 2010
    • I just finished rendering 5 pounds as well. Got about a quart and a quarter of tallow as well as a bucket of cracklins, which were darn tasty (only ate a few rest are in the fridge. Butcher sold it too me at a $1.29 a pound. I didnt blend it, just semi froze it and then diced it, it was hard enough to crumble but soft enough to cut.

      Looks like I need 10 to 15 pounds of raw fat to make enough for my deep fryer.

      as for straining, I just ran it though paper towels in a METAL stainer. tried coffee filters but they kept clogging.

      Shadowstep wrote on September 10th, 2010
    • I’m using Cutco Knives too, they are sharp and should be more careful.

      Cutco Steak Knives wrote on September 20th, 2010
  30. I just got 20 pounds of beef fat from my local meat locker at 50 cents a pound..I rendered some of it in water.Then I looked at my nu-wave oven(hardly ever use.)Perfect.I just put a layer of the fat on the rack, turn it on and the grease drips down into the drip pan.It has a timer on it so no forgeting it.I am getting a lot from it so far.i use it for making soap.

    Sharon Dobbeck wrote on September 22nd, 2010
    • try not to use a micro wave oven for food processes. plenty of bad science attached with it.

      Ahmed wrote on December 1st, 2010
  31. I just rendered 0.9 lbs beef suet into 1.5 cups of liquid fat; it’s cooling on my counter in a pint size mason jar and looks terrific, clear pale amber. I expect it will whiten in the frig later. My dog was thrilled to get the cracklings (he deserved a reward for being good today).

    I chopped the suet with a knife and put it in a 3 qt sauce pot with 3 teaspoons water sprinkled on it, gently simmered it for 2.5 hours with no cover, strained it through a paper towel, and it’s perfect! No food processor, no freezing, no problems.

    Gisela wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  32. There’s some new farmers at my local farmers market this season I discovered and they are raising their animals the right way. I’ve been buying a lot of meat from them and have become their best customer. They keep me updated on when they have a steer or hog ready to send to the butcher so I can get first pick of the cuts. I asked them what they do with the fat and trimmings and they said they don’t do anything with it. So I asked if they could have it saved for me and what they would sell it to me for. I guess it’s just a waste product so they just wanted to give it all to me! I talked them into letting me pay them $0.50/# for it. The butcher packaged it up in 10# bags and there are 11 bags! I’m working through the first bag right now in my dutch oven on the stove top, wet method. It took forever to render, but now that there’s enough fat bathing the trimmings it renders much faster now. I think I’ll just start with some fat already in the dutch oven for the next bag so it will start rendering immediately. I’ve gotta hurry and get through all 11 bags because they’ve got another steer ready to go in next week!

    ega278 wrote on October 10th, 2010
  33. I purchased my fat from a Whole Foods that sells grass fed beef, I just had to ask them to save it for me as they unfortunately throw away the cuttings from their grass fed steaks and roasts. I offered to pay for it, but they couldn’t figure out a way to charge me for it, so I got it for free. I’ve ended up with about 15lbs and I’m rendering about 5 lbs at a time. I’ll repost the results

    aslightskeptic wrote on October 26th, 2010
  34. Well just put another home produced cow in the freezer, though this time I am going to render the fat, have never bothered before as with that much meet about the place to find a home for in the freezer there was never time!

    Joe wrote on November 15th, 2010
  35. This was fun reading. Can rendered suet be used in making suet pudding?

    Linda wrote on November 16th, 2010
  36. Suet is used in the classic Christmas/plum/suet pudding, whatever you call it in your locale!

    This was a great post and I enjoyed reading all the comments, too! Although I have rendered lard many times from our home-raised pigs, this will be my first attempt at tallow from a grass-fed steer we bought from friends. So it’s the exact same process! Good to know! Easy peesy! I always use the dry method for lard and will for the tallow, too, in the oven, and in my cast iron Dutch oven (which seasons it!), then strain it through paper toweling into pint sized jars; I then use new dome lids with rings so that it in essence “cans” the lard preserving it. One 5 lb. batch of rendered fat yields 5-6 pints and lasts us 1 year, but we don’t fry much. I’ve heard thus canned like way it’s lasted others 3 years or so.

    Thanks again for the great article!

    Krystal wrote on November 27th, 2010
  37. Great article and comments.

    Ahmed wrote on December 1st, 2010
  38. Thank you for the wonderful instructions. I just used them to make beef tallow for the first time, and it went perfectly. I used a piece of muslin (the kind used in quilting) for my filter, and it even got the teeny specs in one go.

    Amanda DR wrote on February 13th, 2011
  39. I just wet rendered some beef tallow myself tonight. The first batch I got from a Carniceria near my house that happily gave me the fat for free since they usually just throw it out. The second time I went to them I got a different butcher and he charged me 50 cents a pound :/ but I had them put it through the grinder for me to make my job easier. When I got home I threw it into my largest pot with just enough water to cover it and a tablespoon of salt per pound of fat. In about 15-20 minutes all the meat was cooked and tallow melted. I strained off the unwanted chunks of meat and whatever else was in there (cartilage?) And threw it in the refrigerator. I am so excited to wake up tomorrow and retrieve my bright white, clean tallow!!! I’m using it to make soap :)

    Kim wrote on March 21st, 2011
  40. I was able to get about 10 pounds of beef fat / trimmings from the local farm where I buy my grass-fed beef. They charged me $5.00 total, really just for the trouble of getting the trimmngs from the butcher they use.

    I froze half and rendered half. It came out very consistent and clean. I used some to make pemmican and the rest for cooking.

    David Pryor wrote on March 28th, 2011

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