How to Render Oil from Beef Fat

| 4/6/2016 10:52:00 AM

Tags: rendering oil, beef tallow, nutrition, healthy fats, Ilene White Freedman, Maryland,

My freezer is full of beef fat and I finally rendered tallow for cooking oil. We raise some pastured beef for our family, and while we enjoy the grass-fed beef, we have been slower to learn the art of cooking with homemade oil.  I pay top dollar for organic vegetable oils and here I’ve got bags of animal fat in my freezer. Why have I been avoiding them?

First, it’s a new skill for me to render oil, albeit a simple one, but something I’ve never done before. It often takes extra motivation to try something new. It might hang out on my wish list for a year before finally making it to the “do it today” list. Then, after I know how to do it, it is easier to integrate into daily living.

It turns out that rendering oil is as simple as heating the fat at a low temperature for a long time and then straining it into a jar. Just like that, a jar of lovely pure cooking oil. Well, why didn’t you say so?!


Rethinking the War on Animal Fats

Second, I didn’t grow up using animal fats except butter. I was raised in the 1970s and 80s, when the oil industry was busy selling us “healthier” oils than butter, tallow, and lard — those were farm products. It might have been my grandmother’s generation that raised the animals and milk to create these foods, but industry worked hard to convince those families that purchased vegetable oils were healthier than the free lard from the meat freezer.

4/6/2016 3:11:17 PM

A crock pot works really well for rendering fats. Add just a little bit of water. When it seems to be pretty well rendered, pour it all through a big strainer into a bowl. Those scraps of fat left in the strainer make great dog treats. Put the bowl of liquid fat in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, you can run a hot water over the bottom of the bowl for a second until the now solid fat releases. Any impurities will be imbedded in the water and will rinse or scrape right off. The solid white block of pure tallow now goes into the freezer and keeps forever. It makes yummy fried potatoes and yorkshire pudding. This also works perfectly for rendering pure lard from pork fat.

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