Sunday, November 15, 2009

Rendering Beef Tallow

Today I tried rendering beef tallow for the very first time, and I think it turned out ok.

We just purchased some great grass-fed beef and the processor threw in the tallow for free. For those that don't know, tallow is the beef version of lard from a pig. It's a natural fat that is commonly used in frying or even in soap-making.

All the explanations that I could find online spoke about first having to take the time to chop up the fat into small pieces. Fortunately, when we received ours from the processor, it was already ground up like you see ground beef in the grocery store. So I breezed on through to the next step. I used two methods to render my tallow. I put two large pots on the stovetop and one large pot in the oven.

For the stovetop method, I placed a significant amount of tallow in the pot, set it on the stovetop on very low heat and walked away. I did occasionally stir the bottom to make sure nothing was sticking, but that's pretty much it. After about two hours, the fat was melted and crumbly meat/fat was floating on top.

For the oven method, I lowered my oven rack to one of the lowest settings and preheated the oven to 250 degrees. Then I placed a significant amount of tallow in a large pot, set it in the oven, and walked away. I did occasionally stir the bottom of this pot as well. After about 1-1/2 hours, this pot was finished.

Then I found some extra glass jars that I had around, placed a metal strainer on top to catch the crumbly meat/fat, and poured the rendered tallow through the strainer. I set the meat/fat aside because I'm going to try feeding it to a stray cat that comes to visit us every once in a while. I thought that our cat friend would really enjoy that treat. Anyhow, this is what I ended up with.

When it was time for bed, I placed the lids on the jars and continued to let them sit on the counter overnight. This is what they looked like this morning.

So, I'm pleased with my first tallow-rendering adventure. If anyone has any advice or suggestions, I would certainly welcome them! Also, if anyone knows a better use for the leftovers (besides kitty food!), then I'd like to know that as well.
Now I can't wait to cook with my great grass-fed beef tallow!


  1. I did not know this had a name. This looks just like the stuff my mom used to keep in the fridge from collecting the grease after she would cook breakfast meats. She always used it in her breakfast gravies.

  2. I also keep a mason jar of bacon grease in the fridge. I love to add a spoonful of it whenever I make green beans...yum!

  3. I would love that to make soap!! I'm doing soap for Christmas gifts this year, but I've only used Lard, Crisco, coconut oil, veggie, and olive oil. Haven't tried the tallow, but would love to sometime.

  4. Marcee,

    How neat that you do that! I would love to learn to make soap. It's definitely on my "List of Things To Learn." I think it would be a great homeschool activity for the kids to participate in once they get older.