How to Render Beef Tallow at Home


Beef Tallow Jar 

Fat seems to come and go in relative estimations of value and devaluation depending on various factors of its content. I’ve in recent years become a fan of pasture-fed, pure beef tallow. It came to me in the form of a sort of gift along with the purchase of a piece of my cousin’s homegrown cow three years ago. Nobody else seemed to want the stuff so I took it; there was no extra charge and it would otherwise have been thrown out.

Health Benefits of Pastured Beef Fat

Then I began to research beef tallow’s health merits. As compared to vegetable shortening or margarine, tallow wins out in many respects. It’s unprocessed, meaning it has no free radicals that can lead to a greater likelihood of cancers. It’s pure, meaning there are no carcinogenic chemicals added. In addition, pasture-fed cows are less likely to have been contaminated by staph as those sold on supermarket shelves. And I know exactly where it came from, how it was treated, and who handled it. Buying from family locally and knowing the animal was pasture-fed is important to me.

I haven’t bought shortening now for over a year, though I still use it for greasing pans now and then. Likewise, I rarely use margarine, though I consider butter an essential ingredient in my cooking. I’ve rendered beef fat into quart jars of tallow two years in a row and consider myself seasoned in the art of avoiding too much of a mess in making it. I did a bit of internet recipe research and through trial and error found how to make the best of my time in the process. The last batch of fat may have weighed about 30 pounds. I wound up with just short of two gallons of tallow, poured into quart jars.

How to Render Beef Tallow

1. First, you need as many big, flat pans and casserole dishes as you can fit into your oven. They each need to have sides that are at least 2-1/2 inches deep and preferably a spout for pouring; if not, a square corner. (Otherwise the fat will be more likely to drip over the rounded sides of the pan.) Fat is not something you want anywhere but inside a vessel. Drips are a problem to be assiduously avoided, needless to say. I’ve found cast iron pans seem to be hotter than others, making the process faster.

2. Next, you need a well sharpened big knife and a large cutting board. Cut the pieces of fat into chunks around one to two inches in diameter; cubes work well but there’s no need to be uniform in shape.

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