How To Render Lard & Tallow

by Ann Marie Michaels on July 9, 2009

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lard tallow

Rendering lard or tallow at home may sound intimidating, but trust me, rendering these fats is the easiest thing in the world. And once you’ve tasted pastry made with lard or French fries cooked in tallow, you’ll be hooked.

If you read my blog with any regularity, you know I’m a big fan of lard and tallow. Rendering lard is easy, and it’s the same process for beef tallow. I learned how to render lard and tallow for pie crusts. I also use it for frying chicken nuggets and fried chicken, onion rings and French fries, and plan to try my hand at doughnuts and potato chips. Oh, and let’s not forget about buttermilk biscuits… I’ll be making those soon.

Lard & Tallow in History

Did you know lard was the traditional fat used in China and Japan and in Mexico and throughout Central and South America? Mmm… won tons, egg rolls, fried rice, tempura, refried beans, tamales. There are so many delicious things to make with lard and tallow.

McDonald’s actually used beef tallow for their French fries up until 1983, when they finally succumbed to soybean oil. Tallow (horse and beef) is the traditional fat used for French fries in France.

Foods made with these fats are not only yummy, they’re also very healthy.

What Is Lard? What Is Tallow?

Lard is the rendered fat from pigs. Tallow is the rendered fat from cows, sheep and bison. These fats are extremely stable. They will last a long time in the fridge. They have a high smoke point so they are wonderful for frying, even deep frying.

Soybean, corn, cottonseed and canola oil are all oils with a high smoke point. They’re also very cheap to manufacture, and a convenient way of using up industrial waste. Of course this is why they are so ubiquitous in our food supply. Most processed foods use these oils, and restaurants use them for frying.

However, soybean, corn, cottonseed and canola oil are not good for you for a number of reasons. For one thing, they lack the fat soluble vitamins that are available in lard and tallow from animals on pasture. They are also typically rancid even before they are used for cooking. Not to mention the fact that these oils are almost always made with genetically modified crops.

Health Benefits of Lard & Tallow

One hundred years ago, lard and tallow were used for cooking in every American home and restaurant. They were the most commonplace cooking oils. And heart disease was unheard of. Now it’s our number one killer.

According to Sally Fallon Morell, the first recorded heart attack in America was in 1921 (Source: Local Forage). Just 10 years after Crisco (hydrogenated cottonseed oil) and 50 years after margarine (clarified vegetable fat) were introduced to the American people. Hmm… coincidence?

To read more about the history of cooking oil and disease in America, you can read The Oiling of America online.

There are many health benefits associated with eating lard and tallow. Too many to list here. To summarize very briefly, saturated fats like lard and tallow:

  • Enhance the immune system
  • Build and strengthen bones and teeth (preventing cavities and osteoporosis)
  • Provide energy and structural integrity to the cells
  • Protect the liver
  • Enhance the body’s use of essential fatty acids
  • Do not become rancid easily
  • Do not call upon the body’s reserves of antioxidants
  • Do not initiate cancer
  • Do not irritate the artery walls

Source: The Oiling of America

Why Learn How to Render Lard & Tallow?

Maybe you’ve seen lard on the supermarket shelf. Couldn’t you just pick up a container of that? I don’t recommend it. Why? Because it’s partially hydrogenated, which means it’s full of trans fats, which are known to cause heart disease and cancer. Exactly what we are trying to avoid.

It’s also important to use the fat from animals on pasture — that lard at the supermarket is made from animals in confinement.

So look for fat, or suet, from animals that have been “grass-fed”, and buy suet from pigs who have been raised humanely outdoors. Remember, if the animals are not eating well and soaking up sunshine, they’re not going to have those valuable fat soluble vitamins stored in their fat. Which means you won’t get the health benefits listed above.

How To Render Lard and Tallow

How To Render Lard & Tallow

If you want to learn how to render lard & tallow, I can’t stress how easy it is.

There are three ways to do it. All of them work well. I happen to like the crock pot method the best. No open flame on the stove, and it’s nice on a hot day when you don’t want to heat up your house by running the oven. Best of all, you can set it and forget it.

How long does it take when you’re rendering lard and tallow? It depends on how big of a batch you are making. For about a pound of fat, it should take anywhere from 1-2 hours.

When you strain the fat, the liquid will be golden at first, but it will harden and the change to white (for lard) to a cream color (for tallow)

How To Render Lard and Tallow

Equipment:

Cast iron or enamel pan or stockpot, or crockpot
Metal strainer
Coffee filter, paper towel or cheesecloth
Wide-mouth mason jars (make sure you use wide-mouth for tallow — it’s hard to get the tallow out of narrow jars)

Ingredients:

Grass-fed beef, lamb, bison or pork fat — also called suet, ground (I use a food processor to grind mine — you can use larger chunks of fat cut up by hand but it will take longer; sometimes the farmer will sell it to you pre-ground — for sources of grass-fed beef, bison, lamb and pork fat — where to buy fats
Optional: Water (1/2 cup per pound)

Method 1: How to Render Lard & Tallow on the Stovetop

1. Place the pan on the stove.
2. Add the ground fat.
3. Add the water (optional).
4. Set the heat on the lowest possible setting. Cover and let cook, stirring occasionally.
5. Cook until you’re left with mostly clear or golden liquid with bits of hardened stuff on top.
6. Remove from heat and strain into a mason jar through a metal strainer lined with a coffee filter, paper towel or cheesecloth.

Method 2: How to Render Lard & Tallow in the Oven

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
2. Place the fat into the pan.
3. Add the water (optional).
4. Cook until you’re left with mostly clear or golden liquid with bits of hardened stuff on top.
5. Remove from heat and strain into a mason jar through a metal strainer lined with a coffee filter, paper towel or cheesecloth.

Method 3: How to Render Lard & Tallow in the Crockpot

1. Place the fat into the crockpot.
2. Add the water (optional).
3. Set the crock pot on low heat.
4. Cook until you’re left with mostly clear or golden liquid with bits of hardened stuff on top.
5. Remove from heat and strain into a mason jar through a metal strainer lined with a coffee filter, paper towel or cheesecloth.

This post is a part of Fight Back Fridays at Food Renegade.

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{ 138 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathy July 9, 2009 at 3:00 PM

If you do not want the rendering smell in your house, method number 4 is to cook it down in a stockpot on a grill outside.

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Catherine July 9, 2009 at 3:29 PM

I just have big junks of fat and was just thinking of sticking it into the crock and see what happens. I will have to cut it up into much smaller pieces after seeing your pictures.

Also, I was wondering if the water would evaporate during the cooking process or if it would have to be drained off after the lard has hardened?

Thanks so much for this post.

Catherine’s last blog post..What Your Blood Looks Like After A Fast Food Meal

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Melanie Nader July 9, 2009 at 4:11 PM

Thank you, I was wondering how to do this, now I know. I just want to add one thing about crock pots, some brands add lead into their porcelain glaze, so I recommend doing a google search to find out if your crock pot is safe. I do know that Hamilton Beach has been cleared, some Corel is lead-free, Rival has lead..these are just the ones I know. Some say lead-free, so you just have to check and see…thought you would like to know.

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FarmerKimberly July 17, 2011 at 11:12 PM

I have a really old crock pot. It was my grandmother’s. Do old crock pots have lead? More likely or less likely?

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NMak December 12, 2013 at 2:03 PM

Yep. Glass is made with lead. I don’t use my crock pots anymore. I use titanium pots. You can leave them on the stove all day, they don’t burn up. There are no chemical coatings. Titanium is inert and used in medical applications….
http://www.titaniumcookwarecollection.com is the source I use… quick shipping! Unbelievable performance.

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Wardeh @ GNOWFGLINS July 9, 2009 at 5:22 PM

Thanks for this! I asked for all the fat off our 1/2 grass-fed beef we just bought. I have never used tallow before, but am excited to use it in food and add to my homemade soap, too. It is great to read all the benefits of tallow or lard. I admit to having thought poorly of them all my life. Not so anymore!

Wardeh @ GNOWFGLINS’s last blog post..Soaked Muesli with Fresh, Local Fruit

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Megan July 9, 2009 at 5:26 PM

Thanks for this post, Anne Marie. I make (pork) bacon and then use the grease to cook veggies, sear meat etc. Two questions:

1. Do I need to render the pig fat or is it just a matter of looks? Are the health risks/benefits associated with leaving it/rendering it?

2. This might seem weird, but when you say to use the fat from pastured animals, does that mean I can save the bits of fat from my pastured beef and cook it up when I get enough? Or are you referring to some different kind of fat you have to buy?

Thanks!

Megan’s last blog post..See You in July!

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FarmerKimberly July 17, 2011 at 11:13 PM

I would like the answers to these questions, too.

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Hilary July 9, 2009 at 6:42 PM

Thanks, AnnMarie! I am glad it is so simple. :)

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Mindy July 10, 2009 at 10:10 AM

I used to throw away all that good fat before I realized it was so good for the body. Now I use it regularly. The french fries are fabulous. The place where we get our grass-fed beef butchered gives away tubs of lard for free because most people don’t want it. Great post!

Mindy’s last blog post..Zucchini Harvest

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reamz July 10, 2009 at 12:40 PM

that’s funny, i made lard and tallow just the other day! I actually ate most of the lard by the spoonful (shhh don’t tell anyone!). As for the beef tallow, I made pemmican with that by mixing it with dried beef that i processed in a blender till it was a powdery consistency (and the beef was dried at a low temp so was technically raw). first time i ever made pemmican, and i thought it was really tasty!

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Martha July 10, 2009 at 2:50 PM

I was wondering the same thing as Megan. (Her second question.)

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cheeseslave July 10, 2009 at 3:09 PM

Kathy – I’ve never had any problem with a “rendering smell”

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Mydnite Cynderella December 29, 2013 at 11:14 PM

Having grown up with a Danish Grandmother who never wasted any part of the animals she butchered for food, I was trained very early how to render fat. YOU might not have a “problem” with the smell, but others do. Rendering is a stinky process so if you can move your equipment and fat to the garage or an outbuilding, all the better. You do not want to be cooking off a pot of lard the day before its your turn to host the Bible study group at your house. That is unless they are cooking off their own lard too!

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cheeseslave July 10, 2009 at 3:11 PM

Catherine -

I’m not sure — I think the water does cook down

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Mydnite Cynderella December 29, 2013 at 11:21 PM

The water usually does cook down and you can drain it off after the lard hardens. But make sure there isn’t any additional water on the fat when you put it in the pot, (If mine has just been washed, I make sure it is completely dry before putting it in the pot to cook). Too much water with you “oil” while cooking can cause an explosive situation.

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cheeseslave July 10, 2009 at 3:12 PM

Melanie – Good point about the crockpot. I have the Hamilton Beach which is supposed to be lead-free.

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Shannon July 10, 2009 at 7:12 PM

Thank you so much for this! I just subscribed to this blog and I love reading stuff you have on here! I am hoping to render some tallow and lard soon!

I don’t mean to hijack these comments, but I don’t know where to post this. Since this post is about fats, I am wondering if some of you wonderful moms can give me some advice?

I have a 9-month-old baby named Amelia. She seems to be almost hyper-alert. She doesn’t want to miss anything. I hate to admit it, but I am envious of moms with babies who are calm, peaceful, and serene. Amelia is nothing like that! She is either happy or angry. And when she’s angry, she screams LOUDLY. It makes me feel like I am doing something really wrong or like I could do something to help her.

She never breastfed well. After a month of working with a LC, I pumped for 7 months. Then I had weight loss surgery and had to stop. So she is getting formula. I just found a source of raw milk, so I am going to gather all the supplies to make her homemade formula soon. I have tried to give her cod liver oil and she spits it at me. I have tried mixing it in food and by itself, to no avail. Do you think I can mix it in some raw cream and give it to her?

I have read that a lot of you have babies with temper or crankiness issues when they don’t get enough fat. How do I get more fat into her? She is a very chubby baby and my doctor has me afraid that she’s going to end up being as big as I am (to require surgery). :( I know food with fat doesn’t create fat; he just has me a bit worried.

Do any of you have suggestions about what to feed her? I am not giving her grains yet. Just pastured egg yolks, chicken, beef, and bison, sweet potatoes w/ butter, homemade yogurt w/ extra cream, other “finger foods” like green beans, watermelon, bananas, avocado. She still doesn’t want much to do with food other than yogurt! :) The girl can eat yogurt like crazy.

Also, she doesn’t like cooked egg yolk (so I cook just the yolk a bit on each side and mash it up still runny). She eats it, but she likes just the runny yolk best. Can I put the raw yolk in something for her? Is it safe if they’re from pastured, free-range chickens?

Okay, I just wanted to ask you all for advice. I didn’t know where to post this. I guess I’m just feeling a little overwhelmed. She has had homeopathic medicines from a holistic pediatrician (an MD), but the change in her behavior wasn’t as much as I hoped for.

One more thing: I wanted to try fermented cod liver oil. Should I get a flavor of it or unflavored? And how the heck do I get her to take it?

Thank you so much. :)
Shannon

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cheeseslave July 11, 2009 at 6:08 AM

“Do you think I can mix it in some raw cream and give it to her?”

Yes, or just add it to her formula. I still mix it in to my 2-year-old’s bottle of raw milk.

“I have read that a lot of you have babies with temper or crankiness issues when they don’t get enough fat. How do I get more fat into her? She is a very chubby baby and my doctor has me afraid that she’s going to end up being as big as I am (to require surgery). :( I know food with fat doesn’t create fat; he just has me a bit worried.”

Fat doesn’t make you fat. I gave my daughter pureed fruits, veggies and meats mixed with butter, cream or coconut oil.

“Do any of you have suggestions about what to feed her? I am not giving her grains yet. Just pastured egg yolks, chicken, beef, and bison, sweet potatoes w/ butter, homemade yogurt w/ extra cream, other “finger foods” like green beans, watermelon, bananas, avocado. She still doesn’t want much to do with food other than yogurt! :) The girl can eat yogurt like crazy.”

That all sounds good. You can cook the meats and veggies in butter or bacon grease or coconut oil. I’d also add liver to her diet. I gave my daughter liver pretty much every day from 6 mos – 1 year. You can do liver pate, sauteed chicken or duck livers, or a small amount of beef liver. You can also put a little ground beef liver in with ground beef.

“Also, she doesn’t like cooked egg yolk (so I cook just the yolk a bit on each side and mash it up still runny). She eats it, but she likes just the runny yolk best. Can I put the raw yolk in something for her? Is it safe if they’re from pastured, free-range chickens?”

Yes it is safe. I gave my daughter pastured egg yolks — runny — from the time she was 6 mos until about a year, when I started giving her the whole egg. She got eggs once or twice a day. Now she gets them about every other day.

By the way, my daughter is very healthy and big for her age. She’s 2 and she weighs 30 lbs. And I have definitely noticed that she gets a lot crankier when she doesn’t get enough fat. Her moods are great when I’m making sure she gets enough butter, cream, etc.

The other thing you might look into for mood issues is sleep. My daughter sleeps 12-13 hours a night and she takes one 2-3 hour nap per day — which is 14-16 hours of sleep per day. Most babies don’t get that much — but I think they need it. A book I recommend is “Health Sleep Habits, Happy Child”. That changed our life. Her mood greatly improved once I read that book and started working to get her more sleep.

“One more thing: I wanted to try fermented cod liver oil. Should I get a flavor of it or unflavored? And how the heck do I get her to take it?”

You could try both flavored and unflavored and see what she likes. If she refuses the flavored, use the unflavored. You can also just add it to her formula.

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D. March 14, 2011 at 11:42 AM

Also, you could just coddle the egg in some water brought to a rolling boil and then turned down to a mild boil once the egg is added. Break the shell and just sort of slide the egg into the water and keep the water swirling around. You will be separating the yolk from the white at this age anyhow (until age 1 at least, no whites) so just concentrate on partially cooking the yolk if she likes it runnier.

Also, be sure to add butter to ALL of the foods you make for her, including fruits, meats, veggies and eggs. Be sure to add a little sea salt to all foods (for the minerals) as well. Most cranky babies are short on minerals more than they are short on vitamins — but fats are the most important part. Butter and coconut oil, especially.

When my kids were little the only way I could get cod liver oil down them (to begin with) was to use the base of a syringe. Some drugstores sell them as a means to get babies to take medicine, but we are trying to avoid medicine here, so buy one for the CLO! Just kinda shoot it down into her throat. She may gag at first but it does work eventually. Have baby follow it with a big slug of fresh apple juice or pear juice. When she’s older, just mix the CLO into her juice and she prolly won’t even know it’s there.

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Christina May 5, 2011 at 2:45 PM

I second the shoot-it-down-straight motion. I did that with my daughter starting at age 4 months, and she loves it now. She takes fermented CLO straight, or the chocolate gel flavor as her “dessert.”

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tina July 11, 2009 at 7:35 AM

I have the same question as Megan. Does bacon fat have to be rendered to be healthy? I fill a mason jar with bacon fat and use it whenever needed.

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Mydnite Cynderella December 29, 2013 at 11:28 PM

Please make sure you bacon is not cured with nitrates. There is a great deal of controversy over the carcinogenic properties of nitrates and the potential cancer causing agents produced by cooking nitrates at high temps. There are nitrate free products on the market, please read your labels!

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tina July 11, 2009 at 7:50 AM

I should mention that I cool the bacon fat a bit and strain it in a coffee filter. Not sure if that makes a difference.

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D. March 14, 2011 at 11:43 AM

Heck no! Just leave the bacon chunks in there — adds great flavor to fried eggs or potatoes or whatever you’re using it for. Will keep in a jar in the fridge for a LONG time.

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FarmerKimberly July 17, 2011 at 11:15 PM

That is great to know.

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raj @ the hunry cook July 11, 2009 at 10:18 AM

i stumbled on your blog from the purplefoodie!
im so glad i did. loved the post!! incredibly informative!

raj @ the hunry cook’s last blog post..Churros!

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Jill July 11, 2009 at 10:50 AM

I made beef stock from some meaty, fatty bones. It simmered 36 hours or so. When cooled, it had a 1/2 inch of bright yellow fat on top. Pardon the ignorance …. is that already tallow, or do I need to put it through the process you describe? (Or neither?) Thanks!

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cheeseslave July 11, 2009 at 1:14 PM

Bacon fat does not need to be rendered. Or, more accurately, it already is rendered.

To render simply means to cook down or melt. When you fry bacon, you are rendering the fat — because the fat from the bacon melts. I keep bacon grease in a bowl or jar next to my stove as well, and I use it for lots of things.

I do the same thing when I roast a duck. After roasting, I pour the duck fat into a jar and store it in the fridge. Duck fat fries are delicious! I also like to use duck fat to cook eggs and for making pate.

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FarmerKimberly July 17, 2011 at 11:16 PM

You don’t have to refrigerate the saved bacon fat???

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cheeseslave July 11, 2009 at 1:22 PM

Megan -

Regarding your second question, sure you can save hunks of fat from pastured meat.

However, I like to leave the fat on the meat when I cook it. I don’t think lean meat is that good for you — the vitamins are in the fat. So I don’t recommend removing the fat and skin from chickens and other animals before cooking.

For the same reason I don’t strain the cream off of my whole milk — I drink the milk with the cream in it.

You can just buy the fat (also called “suet”) from the farmer. Many farmers will grind it and sell it pre-ground.

If they don’t grind it for you, just cut it up into large chunks and then throw it in your food processor.

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cheeseslave July 11, 2009 at 2:33 PM

Jill – That is rendered fat. You can warm it and strain it and store it in a jar. You can do the same thing with the chicken fat that ends up at the top of chicken broth.

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tina July 11, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Thanks Ann Marie

I feel really stupid that I didn’t understand what tallow and lard were (exactly) and how easy it was to make them. That I didn’t realize bacon fat was already rendered once cooked makes me feel more like an idiot. I’ll get pass it.

I’ve been buying vegetarian fed bacon and pork chops at my local health food store at ridiculously high prices. I thought I was doing a great thing for my family. I was even a bit smug about it. Imagine now how I feel with knowledge that my meat was from a SOY fed pig! It never occurred to me until very recently that farm factory animals are fed this crap or how bad soy is for our bodies. I thought I just had to worry about farm factory animals eating downed cows. I feel like an idiot.

I contacted a pig farmer. I will get a whole pastured pig in December. I doubt I’ll be able to eat pork until then since it’s nearly impossible to find pastured pork in stores.

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Christine July 11, 2009 at 5:40 PM

How timely. I’ve got a bunch of pork fat sitting in my refrigerator right now waiting to be rendered. I’ve been meaning to search for how to render it & I happened to check your site. The farmer actually gave me a discount because the pork shoulder was so fatty that she was having trouble selling it. I’ll be breaking out the crock pot tonight. Thanks for the post.

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cheeseslave July 11, 2009 at 5:48 PM

Hi, Tina,

Please don’t feel bad! Most people don’t know what tallow is. I had no idea what it was until a year and a half ago.

Also, don’t feel too bad about buying vegetarian-fed bacon and pork. That’s better than the stuff at the regular store. From what I have read, they can only feed the animals a limited amount of soy (there’s a max amount of soy you can feed — otherwise the animals will get sick and die — what does that tell you?!). Even if you’re eating grocery store pork, that’s still better than not eating pork at all in my opinion.

So I say, don’t worry so much. Just do the best you can.

I’m getting a whole pig from a local farm at the end of this month. I’m very excited about it!

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Christina May 5, 2011 at 2:50 PM

“Better than not eating pork at all??” I hope you mean than not eating the soy-fed pork… because normal, run-of-the-mill grocery story pork is something I try very hard to avoid! It’s so full of parasites, disease, and is just awful for you. I mean, pork store all toxins straight in their meat, so if an animal is being fed tons of toxins and never has any chance to purge it before being slaughtered (which they aren’t in standard processes), you get that junk when you eat it, delivered right to your internal organs. If you can’t get to humanely-raised, organic, pastured pork, then I’d say to stay away!

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Aimee April 15, 2013 at 1:41 PM

Hi Ann Marie,
I see (in 2009) you ordered a whole pig, I am very proud of myself and recently ordered a whole pastured-pig of yummy yummy meat from a local farmer for a hefty price tag. And since we picked it up, I have been looking for good traditional “pork recipes.” Pork chops, (fresh) ham, pork shoulder, butt, etc. I have been dismayed to see that there aren’t many, (None in “Nourishing Traditions” pork isn’t even listed in the index. WHAT???) after some further googling apparently the WAPF doesn’t really endorse or encourage eating pork. There is a small exception to it being cured, marinated, etc etc. So, now I am feeling discouraged. I love following your blog because you a)drink coffee (love me 1 or 2 whole milk lattes every morning) and b) now I love you even more because you apparently eat pork and order whole pigs. What are your thoughts on this? I feel personally that with my background (and my husbands) being from Germany that pork isn’t bad for us. I don’t believe that every bit of the pig my great-great grandfather ate would have been cured, smoked, marinated, salted, I don’t know what else and I know that when I eat in Germany that I eat pork that is just cooked, nothing else special. Do you do something special to your pork before cooking it?

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Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship July 11, 2009 at 6:28 PM

I’m so excited – I’m glad you addressed in the comments about the fat at the top of stocks being tallow. I had some from my beef broth (left some in, took some out) and froze it thinking, “I’m pretty sure I should keep this because it’s healthy fat, but I’m not sure what to do with it!” Now I know I can sautee in it, make french fries, or even — really??? — use it in a pie crust! This is good info. Thanks!

Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship’s last blog post..Yobaby Giveaway Winners

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Dana July 12, 2009 at 5:57 AM

Hey Tina–what I really love about this “vegetarian-fed” trend in mainstream grocery stores is the eggs they sell from hens so fed. When did we forget that chickens eat bugs too? It took me a while to wise up to that one and then I felt very, very silly. I think they meant the chickens weren’t fed other chickens, but that wasn’t a good way to convey it. “Fed a natural diet” or “fed a species-appropriate diet” would have been better, but I get the feeling they couldn’t have legally said either, if nothing else because of laws against deceptive advertising. Dunno.

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Shannon July 12, 2009 at 10:44 AM

Thank you, Ann Marie. I also have Weissbluth’s book and have read it, and it has helped tremendously. She sleeps about 12-12.5 hours at night and 2 naps during the day (about 3 hours of naps total usually). So, a total of 15-15.5 hours of sleep a day. Big difference! I still haven’t let her CIO, but she usually sleeps pretty well. But she still seems “on edge” all the time. Like one little thing can set her off. That’s why I’m wondering about nutrition. Thank you for all the insight. It is really, really helpful. :)

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Lauren August 1, 2012 at 1:39 AM

Clearly I’m late to the party here, but I wanted to add for anyone reading now: I wonder if what you need in this case is Raising Your Spirited Child by Kurcinka. Weissbluth talks a little bit about temperament but doens’t really get into it, whereas Spirited Child is about how to work WITH those powerful personalities without trying to quash them into that ‘sweet baby’ mold.

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Cathy Payne July 12, 2009 at 5:29 PM

I need to use the crock pot method next time to render my lard. I used water last time and did not break up into small chunks and ended up with lard and some kind of gel substance I had to wash off. I can’t make tallow because my rancher’s processing plant won’t save the fat for him. Grrr. And I’m out of duck fat. Oh, well.

Cathy Payne’s last blog post..ONL047 FRESH: The Movie – Interview with Producer/Director Ana Sofia Joanes

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Michelle @ Find Your Balance July 13, 2009 at 12:56 PM

This weekend I found a local place to buy lard. This is a step in the right direction!

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Organic and Thrifty July 14, 2009 at 10:54 PM

That’s so funny, JUST today I decided to try rendering my tallow int the crock pot, and so I just dumped the whole mess of fat in there just to see what would happen (I get it for $0.50/lb from my butcher, all 100% grassfed!) and low and behold I have a whole 6 quarts of bubbling tallow! I didn’t even know you could do it in a CP, and so it was encouraging to see that you’ve done it this way too!

Thanks, AM!

Organic and Thrifty’s last blog post..Real-Fast-Nourishing: Miso Soup

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Carol January 19, 2013 at 5:33 PM

Organic and Thrifty, I’m wondering how much beef fat you started with to get 6 quarts of rendered tallow? I want to buy some, but have no idea how many pounds to get.

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Nikki July 15, 2009 at 4:21 PM

I want to mention the delicious bits left in your strainer after making lard should NOT be tossed out!!!! In Italy we used them in focaccia, on top of salads, in piadina Romagnola…..and these heavenly bits are called ciccoli- you can google and find lots of recipes for their many uses.

Heres what you do once you have strained them from you lard:

Spoon out the ciccioli and let the liquid filter through to be collected and added to the other lard.

Lìberally salt the cubes/ bits and close the pieces inside a cheese cloth or dish linen. Squeeze to remove more of the liquid lard.

Fasten it to such an extent that the cicicoli are closed very firmly. This will ensure that they loose their remaining fatty elements. Allow to dry overnight.

They are now ready to eat , and if you can stop yourself from devouring them you can store them in the fridge.

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Erin July 15, 2009 at 6:18 PM

Thank you so much for this post! I finally rendered the fat in my freezer…but after putting the tallow in glass jars in the fridge, it is solid as a rock. Is it best to leave tallow out on the counter or in the fridge? Thanks again!

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cheeseslave July 16, 2009 at 9:00 AM

Erin –

It depends on when you are planning to use it. You can leave the tallow in a cupboard if your kitchen is not too hot. But if you are not planning to use it for a while, store it in the fridge. If you want to keep it for a very long time (months or years), store it in the freezer.

I usually keep mine in the fridge, unless I’m planning to leave in the next few days or week, then I set it out.

If you take it out of the fridge and it’s cold/hard and you want to use it right away, set it in a cup or bowl of hot water. It will melt that way.

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Erin July 16, 2009 at 9:24 AM

Thanks for the info! I noticed the Balthazar recipe for french fries uses a thermometer to check the peanut oil…is it necessary to use a thermometer when frying the fries with tallow? I know it has a high smoke point, but should the tallow be boiling? Thank you!

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cheeseslave July 16, 2009 at 11:33 AM

Yes you want to use a thermometer. The temp fluctuates a lot as you add fries and take them out. I’ll post my French fry recipe one of these days and share how I do it.

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FarmerKimberly July 17, 2011 at 11:20 PM

What temp do you want the tallow for cooking fries?

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tina August 3, 2009 at 12:24 PM

Hi Ann Marie,

I’m making beef tallow right now for the first time. Does beef tallow contain vitamin K like the bison tallow? I assume I can store the beef tallow in the fridge like I do lard. Is that correct?

Thanks!

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cheeseslave August 3, 2009 at 12:35 PM

Yes, beef tallow does contain vitamin K if the animals are on pasture (grass-fed). Yes, you can store it in the fridge. If you want to keep it for longer periods of time, you can freeze it.

I usually leave mine on the counter if I’m planning on using it within a few days. Because it gets very hard in the fridge and takes longer to melt.

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Ron Clayman September 26, 2009 at 10:14 AM

when rendering your own fats, add a couple of bay leaves. that will enhance the aroma.
Chiken skins: agreat treat! 20# of skins gives you about 5# of fried skins and 15# of fat. when making green bean casserole, try the fried chiken skins instead of the fried onions!

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Nita November 1, 2009 at 2:16 PM

Hi~ I love your site! I am trying my hand at rendering grass fed tallow. I’ve actually done it a couple times now. One thing I am not sure about is how hot the tallow needs to get and how long does it need to remain at that temperature after it’s all melted to be safe? I cook it in a big crockpot on low until it’s all melted (about 4 hrs or so for 2.5 lbs.) If it’s all melted, can I just assume it’s safe? At low setting, after it was all melted, I could barely see the start of some little bubbling- does the fat need get just at the bubbling stage to know for sure it’s done? Not a rolling boil- but just very slight.

I got the grass fed pure kidney fat (they even ground it for me- soooo much easier to work with!) and made sure to render it within a couple of days. As there’s no preservatives, I know it’s important to not let it sit in the fridge long before rendering. Also, the butcher said maybe up to 3 months tops in the fridge rendered and do not leave it sitting out on the counter at all. I left it out once for several hours because the tallow was so hard, I thought I’d soften it up, but then I felt wierd about it and threw it out to be safe. By the way, setting it out didn’t actually soften it up that much! Must run warm water over the jar to get it out next time. Yes, it is quite difficult to get the tallow out and I used quart sized big mouth canning jars. I must find some shallower big mouths- I think they’ll work better- I just don’t know where to find them.

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Nita November 1, 2009 at 9:34 PM

Here’s an odd idea I haven’t tried yet- instead of using canning jars for beef tallow (since it’s so hard to get out) -after straining into a heat proof glass measuring cup, maybe try filling ice-cube trays up half way with the rendered tallow.Then pop them out into freezer safe baggies after they cool? Maybe they’ll almost be the right size chunks for making pie too. I have next to no experience with this-just throwing it out there! If someone finds this works, let me know!

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FarmerKimberly July 17, 2011 at 11:21 PM

Sounds like a great idea.

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Cathy December 12, 2011 at 3:07 PM

what an awesome idea! I already do this with extra buttermilk left over after making butter and for extra butter if I have more than my mold but I never thought about using ice cube trays for lard or tallow! I’ve measured how much is in each ice cube tray (on my trays) and it’s 2Tblsp per “cube” which is perfect for use in many recipes.

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Rick March 6, 2013 at 8:28 AM

Freezer bags let in the oxygen. Use glass with metal lids to keep the oxygen out.

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Starr November 9, 2009 at 6:02 PM

I’m so glad I found this posting! I’m rendering lard as I write, from “pork fat” purchased at a local ethnic market. I would have been trying to melt down the solid hunks if your directions hadn’t set me right. Now there seems to be a lot of “lean” in the melting fat, more like diced meat than cracklings. It’s going to be interesting to see how this ends up.

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Annie December 22, 2009 at 2:24 AM

I just looked up rendering lard and found your site. I had just made a big 10 lb canning pot of it on the stove and it stuck and burned on the bottom, and gosh does it ever stink up the house. Maybe a little l lb bit in a crock pot doesnt, but a big lot sure does. I cooked it for about 4 hours till most was melted, if I had cooked it down to cracklins it would have taken longer and had a even stronger smell. I did it a couple times before. Once I did a batch with water in the bottom to keep it from sticking and burning, but then as it got hot and bubbled the water started spitting, like when you drop water in hot fat. So I looked up this site now to see how the old timers did it? Havent found that yet, but the crock pot sounds good for a small batch and what about a smaller pan set in a larger pan of boiling water so it will melt but not burn.? My husband about left the house,it smelled so much and it was fresh fat from the butcher shop same day.Should it not come to a boil?

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Starr December 23, 2009 at 11:45 AM

Annie, I’ve read over your note several times, and I have three thoughts. First, you describe a 10 lb. “canning pot.” hmmm . . . Canning pots that I’m familiar with are fairly lightweight metal, designed for the water baths necessary in canning. It’s very possible that caused your problem with burning and sticking – a canning pot just isn’t heavy enough for hours of cooking. You may have better results if you use a heavier pot, or at least a pot with a good sturdy bottom, like a stock pot or a cast iron dutch oven, which is what I use.

A second possibility might be setting too high a heat. The fat doesn’t need to boil furiously, but it doesn’t need to be kept on “warm,” either. I use a medium low setting, just above a simmer, so the occasional bubble rises to the top. Again, a heavy pot is important.

The third possibility isn’t very nice, but although you got “fresh” fat trimmings from your butcher and rendered them the same day, it’s entirely possible that the shop had these scraps lying around for some time. Maybe they weren’t as fresh as you though. ick. That would explain the nasty smell, which is not at all typical of rendering. If anything, rendering produces a delicious meaty aroma.
Hope this helps – starrskitchen.com
.-= Starr´s last blog ..Happy Healthy Holiday: Fat-Free Honey Spice Cookies =-.

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Kari February 13, 2010 at 11:34 PM

I did it! I just rendered my own tallow! All my friends think I’m officially crazy now! ha! I’m so excited to use it! How easy it was in the crockpot! :) I got the suet for free, when we got a cow that we split with some friends. No one else wanted it, so lucky me! :) Thank you so much!
.-= Kari´s last blog ..Too Young to Date? =-.

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cheeseslave February 14, 2010 at 1:15 AM

Yay Kari!

Good for you! Isn’t it liberating and fun?!

I agree, it is SO easy in the crockpot.

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SharleneT February 18, 2010 at 7:41 PM

Been rendering fats for many years and it’s easier than getting up at night for a baby!
Love the crockpot way of doing it. Used to render fats in a cast iron pot hanging on a tripod over a hardwood fire, switched up to a charcoal grill and, since, have dedicated both a garage sale crockpot and solar oven for my rendering. I feel less guilty with the solar oven because it doesn’t use up fossil fuels. 8-) There shouldn’t be a bad smell, unless you have scraps of meat attached that have spoiled while you were saving to have enough for a full rendering.

Nothing beats lard in piecrusts for flakiness and just plain yumminess! Nothing.

And, if you save all the fats from all the meats you eat, you can make candles and an Ivory-type soap with the hardness of French milled.
.-= SharleneT´s last blog ..A Winter-Hearty Cabbage Soup with Braunsweiger Dumplings =-.

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Debra March 13, 2010 at 12:25 PM

Hi…this is so interesting to me. I rendered tallow yesterday; it turned out beautifully. Can anyone tell me how long it will keep? I want specifics, like 1 year, 6 months, 20 years, etc. A few websites that I found said “1 month in a cool place”, but I don’t believe the storage time is so short. Mostly, I find general info on shelf life, like “a long time”. Can anyone help?? Thanks.

PS I posted this on another website also…just trying to find someone who can answer this question!!

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Starr March 14, 2010 at 8:14 PM

re. Debra, “Can anyone tell me how long it will keep? I want specifics, like 1 year, 6 months, 20 years, etc. . . . ”

I suspect you’re looking for an answer that isn’t out there. My research also turns up answers like, “indefinitely,” so it probably depends on the type and quality of the tallow, contaminants, container type, temperatures, maybe even the health of the animal and butchering methods! The main factor is that tallow will keep longer than other solid (natural) fats, and it will keep longer at cooler temperatures than at warmer temperatures. It is safe to use until it becomes rancid, and you’ll know it’s rancid by the smell.

Sorry this answer is not more specific, but some things in life just don’t accommodate our measurements. …starrskitchen.com
.-= Starr´s last blog ..Someone Else’s Kitchen =-.

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Debra March 15, 2010 at 9:44 AM

Thanks, Starr…yep…the answer probably isn’t out there. Like many of you, I have run into this so many times. With the internet, one has to have a lot of disernment; you can always find an answer but not necessarily a correct answer!!

Another question: I used tallow to pop popcorn and though it tasted great, it left a very definite greasy film in our mouths (not a big hit with the family). If it leaves such a film in our mouth, what about our insides? Doesn’t that cause a problem?

And one more question: What is the difference between tallow and suet? I read different definitions.

Thanks again
Debra

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Starr March 15, 2010 at 1:15 PM

re. difference between tallow and suet: briefly, suet is raw whereas tallow has been rendered. Suet is raw hard fat from beef (cattle) or mutton (sheep.) The fat from different areas of the carcass has different qualities, and suet is the harder, whiter fat. Softer, darker colored fat goes rancid more quickly than suet. When ground or chopped fine, suet is used in baking. For example, old recipes for mincemeat call for suet. Interestingly, suet is also set out with seeds in wild bird feeders. . . . starrskitchen.com
.-= Starr´s last blog ..Someone Else’s Kitchen =-.

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Starr March 15, 2010 at 1:20 PM

re. using tallow on popcorn, with a residual greasy mouth feel. ” If it leaves such a film in our mouth, what about our insides?”

I don’t think you need to worry about any greasy film from tallow on your insides. The digestive acids in our stomachs (much stronger than those in saliva) are more than sufficient to break down greasy tallow.

Having said that, I agree that tallow is too heavy and greasy to be palatable on popcorn. As long as you aren’t worried about saturated fat or lactose intolerance, I’d recommend good ol’ butter. … starrskitchen.com
.-= Starr´s last blog ..Someone Else’s Kitchen =-.

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Gail Johnson November 18, 2011 at 9:36 AM

coconut oil is great for popcorn

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ali February 24, 2014 at 10:23 PM

We’ve used cocnut oil for our popcorn too and have loved it. We just recently have tried avacado oil to pop it in. Fell in love all over again.

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Heather September 2, 2012 at 1:58 PM

I’m with Gail. I love popping our popcorn in coconut oil. It turns out light, crisp, and never leaves a film on your mouth. NEVER use butter to pop popcorn as it has a low flash point and could catch fire. Absolutely drizzle melted butter over your popcorn AFTER it’s popped (probably what Star thought you meant) and I’m sure it will be delicious every time. I’ve refined my popcorn making process to the point that it’s an art. We have fresh grated romano cheese and fresh pressed garlic on ours and we absolutely love it.

I just got two bags of free hog fat from the butcher along with the one from our hog and I am setting about making my very first batch of lard. Thanks so much for sharing.

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Billie March 24, 2010 at 12:58 PM

Help! I did my first batch of tallow and was so proud, then I used some. I used it to scramble some eggs and there was a very strong flavor that I did not enjoy. It tasted just like the house smelled while making the stuff! I thought I’d read somewhere that it wouldn’t have an overwhelming flavor…did I just mess up the batch? I did start it in my crock pot in large chunks because they were frozen. Then after about a day I chopped it up with scissors and let it continue on low till I thought it looked done. It’s been a while so I don’t remember any other details, I was nervous about using it…:) I’m worried that I’ll use it to fry something and it’ll make that taste funny too, I don’t like wasting food. Thanks for any help you can offer!

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Muneer May 7, 2010 at 1:42 PM

Dear Cheese Slave,

Thanks very much for this usefull information,I was experimenting to come close to Mcdonald’s fries, I already got hold of making them crispy, it took me about a week in the trial and error process, My French fries have got the looks but lack in taste as Mcdonald’s fires, after googling I found out that Mcdonald’s were using beef tallow as mentioned in your bolg, so I ended up here. This info is such a relief, because before I read this article of yours I was feeling guilty for poisoning people with fat with my recipe. I am from Pakistan , not sure if you know anyone from here,all the cattle are grass fed am I luck or what :),,just a question , How much tallow a pound of beef can yield, please answer , I appreciate.
Regards.

Muneer.

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Sara August 3, 2010 at 5:49 PM

Woohoo! So glad to find this – now my family will officially think I’m nuts, but who cares!?! I’m gonna have the best tasting pies and fries in the world. We’re getting a side of grass-fed beef this weekend, and the butcher is throwing in the suet for free, since they would just throw it out anyway – bonus!
.-= Sara´s last blog ..Putting Up =-.

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Dana August 10, 2010 at 7:34 PM

I used the oven method for beef tallow, but needed a temp. of 225. It helped at the beginning to half-freeze the suet & then pulse big chunks of it in the Cuisinart to break it up into fine pieces. To make it easy to access in the fridge once done I poured it in a shallow rectangular glass pyrex dish w/ cover. I also worried about how its thick greasiness would affect the bloodstream and am relieved to know it is healthy. Lastly, I added a wick to some tallow I poured into a small mason jar as it set up to test its viability as a candle, added some lavender oil, and after it hardened, I was very happy with how cleanly it burned.

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Jo August 18, 2010 at 1:15 PM

Thanks for this tutorial, Ann Marie! I had the same question as Jill above, so thanks for answering her. I just made beef stock for the first time this week. I simmered it for about 30 hours, and followed the NT recipe. I am excited to start using it in soups and stews. I was wondering what I should do with the tallow and if it should be strained. Surprisingly, NT says to make pemmican with it or feed it to the birds!

Your blog has a wealth of information, and I find that when I have questions with NT, I can come here and someone has usually posted the answer somewhere. Thanks!

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Lynda Moulton November 1, 2010 at 2:31 PM

I have a question about beef tallow. I rendered some from suit we got from our Amish farmer about 2 months ago. I had it in a glass quart jar in the back of my refrigerator. I just got it out and noticed mold looking treads growing up the jar inside…it sort of looks like blue cheese. OMG! What do I do with this now? is it ruined? Can it be saved somehow?

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cheeseslave November 2, 2010 at 1:07 PM

Lynda -

I’d toss it.

Lard doesn’t keep as long as tallow. Best to freeze it if you aren’t going to use it in a few weeks or so.

Also, a good way to freeze it is to pour it into plastic ice cube trays.

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Normajean November 7, 2010 at 4:12 PM

Nice info you have here. I have rendered Tallow quite a few times now and really enjoy this new learning of the old days. I really like reading about doing it in the crock pot. Interesting. Will avoid heating the kitchen up so next time and try this method.
I started doing this for a healthier fat in the kitchen and then learned it was useful for making soap and candles via pioneer days. So that is an upcoming project. *excitement building*
I do wash my tallow like in the soap making process a few times though to lose some of the strong flavor as it does not really agree with all recipes.
I do have a question though. What is the gelatinous blob left over when the Tallow cools and is it useful in any way? It seems to me to be gelatin which has its own health benefits. But is this a safe substance to incorporate into our diets as well. Everything I’ve read so says to throw it way. Seems like a waste as it gels up so very nicely when chilled in the refrigerator.
Thank for all the info you have provided.

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Rae December 31, 2011 at 8:51 AM

I was wondering the same thing about the gel . It seems like it’s similar to bone broth gel, but it comes from the fat and skin of the pig- can we eat it ???

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John Reynolds November 22, 2010 at 6:39 PM

Does vitamin D get destroyed in rendering lard as it does when pasturizing milk?

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FarmerKimberly July 17, 2011 at 10:56 PM

That’s a good question. I hope someone answers it.

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healthybratt December 2, 2010 at 7:45 PM

i’ve been rendering lard for about 3 years. it generally works well. i bake in the oven and strain into canning jars. the last two batches i’ve done have separated in the jar (white chunks and yellow oil). is there something wrong? have you ever had this happen? is it still edible or is it spoiled somehow? any input you have would be appreciated.

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healthybratt December 3, 2010 at 10:10 AM

i think i figured out that i cooked it too long. i’m wondering if it’s still okay to use. it’s soupy instead of solid and a bit darker than another batch that i cooked less.

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Allison December 30, 2010 at 11:01 AM

We rendered lard last fall for the first time… it has been stored in mason jars and refrigerated since then. We still have quite a bit left – do you know what the “shelf life” is?

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D. March 14, 2011 at 11:57 AM

I’m wondering if any of the readers here are from the Black Hills area of SD? My butcher just called and has 60# of pork lard for sale (all ground and ready to go for rendering) and I can no way use up 60# ! If you’re interested in purchasing some email me at debskitchen2003@yahoo.com

99 cents per pound from pastured pigs.

Even if you’re in eastern WY or the panhandle of NE it might not be too far to ship it or come and pick it up, depending on what the weather is up to in the next few weeks. Last week it snowed and was below zero, today it’s 63 degrees at 1:00 p.m.

Shazam.

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Dianne April 15, 2011 at 8:47 AM

Rendered beef fat yesterday. Fat was very white, but even at room temperature, it was hard as a rock. What did I do wrong? Can this still be used? How can this be good for the body when it gets so hard?

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healthybratt April 21, 2011 at 12:04 PM

Diane,

That’s normal. I render beef tallow all the time and yes it’s hard at room temp. This means it has a higher smoke point than most fats (even lard) which means that the composition of the fatty molecules remains intact even at high frying temperatures. At higher temps other oils tend to break down and become damaged and no longer resemble nutritious components of your daily menu. Tallow isn’t the greatest for baked goods because it has a more meaty flavor than lard, but it’s wonderful for the deep fryer. Makes excellent french fries, egg rolls, fried chicken, etc.

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bonnie July 4, 2011 at 6:56 PM

It hadn’t occurred to me to use a coffee filter– I used a sieve and ended up with some grainy bits in the block of tallow. I’ll melt it down again and use your coffee filter trick. Thanks!

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FarmerKimberly July 17, 2011 at 11:08 PM

Can you use lard and tallow interchangeably?

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FarmerKimberly July 17, 2011 at 11:11 PM

IS IT REALLY THAT EASY TO MAKE? WOW! What happens to the water if you add the optional water?

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LeahS July 20, 2011 at 9:38 AM

I have only done crock pot, I want to try your other methods!

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biomusic July 27, 2011 at 4:01 PM

Great site cheeseslave!
I’ve read all the comments about rendering meat and I’m ready to start.
I have chicken skins that I would like to render. How much do you need to use ? If I read correctly. I add them with half a cup of water to the crockpot for 2 hours on high, then strain, and keep the liquid.
The bones I use for broth on a different recipe.
Can I put the skins in a coffe strainer and then put in the crockpot?
Looking forward to reading your posts!

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Lisa August 24, 2011 at 6:39 AM

Sorry if this has been asked and answered already …

About how much tallow will I get per pound of suet?

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Eveletta September 2, 2011 at 4:10 PM

I have about 5 lbs of leaf lard and back fat cut up into pieces and stored in freezer bags. It has been in my freezer for about 3-4 months. Can I still use this to make lard with or will it have gone rancid, decrease the shelf life of my finished lard, etc. I have never made lard before and have no idea how long you can keep fat frozen in your freezer. Any help anyone could give me would be greatly appreciated.

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Cassie September 3, 2011 at 2:09 PM

Thanks! Great post, I plan on using the crock pot method tonight. I have one question, why is the water optional? What does it do?

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Eveletta September 5, 2011 at 10:34 PM

I have never really made lard before but from what I’ve learned from reading and watching how-to videos the water is to prevent the lard from sticking to the bootin of your pot. During the rendering process the water eventually evaporates.

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Eveletta September 5, 2011 at 10:37 PM

That’s “bottom” of your pot. The iPhone spell check likes to make up it’s own words for you sometimes.

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Soccy October 9, 2011 at 10:00 PM

I’ve had Suet in my freezer for about 6 months. Is this still usable? Also, must I chopnit up to render in my crockpot? Do I have to let it defrost or canni just dump the frozen block in there? Thanks. This is my first time rendering tallow.

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hannah November 11, 2011 at 7:28 PM

Thanks for the helpful, clear, information.
I am a huge Nourishing Traditions fan! I am planning on using the fat off our beef to make tallow, and plan to use it in soap, and ect. Anyway, I really appreciate the above info.
Thanks again.

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A. K. Khatri November 13, 2011 at 5:58 AM

Dear Sir, hank you very much for your informative web site which is of deep
interest and do wish everyone to be benefitted out of the details you provided.
Got through your website against the demand for OLEO-STEARINE, was going
through its synonyms and got your details. I am willing to use the rendered tallow
for polishing purpose. Kind regards

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Gail Johnson November 18, 2011 at 9:35 AM

Don’t use a crock pot.. full of lead.. I thought we are talking healthy eating here..

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Lisa November 18, 2011 at 11:35 AM

Hamilton Beach slow cookers are lead free, some other brands are as well.

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Kai December 21, 2011 at 8:07 PM

Can you make lard from bacon greese?

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Cathy December 21, 2011 at 8:58 PM

@ Kai,
Technically, bacon grease has already been rendered, because you’ve cooked it, but as we know it’s got a lot of salt and other stuff still in it. This website has some great pointers on rendering fats, including further clarifying bacon grease. ( http://www.grandpappy.info/wclarify.htm ) You can also just pour bacon grease in a jar for use in cooking later, but if you want to use it for lard type applications like in baking, it would be helpful to further clarify it. Even after further clarifying it, it will have a slightly smoky flavor, but for baking savory type items it is very tasty!!!! (Like pie crust for quiches, yum!)

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judith April 24, 2012 at 11:36 AM

I have just rendered tallow for the firsr time. It came out perfect except for the smell.
It has a sort of rancid smell. Is this normal? I got the tallow from a very reliable source, and rendered it on the stove following your instructions. How long can you keep tallow in the fridge till you render it? Maybe that was the reason for the smell. I did not render it till about 5 days later. Thanks for yor help and always great info. Judith

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ron May 18, 2012 at 12:34 AM

I have been rendering beef tallow for about ten years now, and during that time, learned a lot from my mistakes. First of all, don’t store the unrendered fat in the refrigerator longer than a day; otherwise, you risk it going rancid. With that said, the best way to render it is to grind it in a meat grinder. Then cook it with a low heat the way you would cook ground beef, but in a deep pot, not a frying pan. Once the pot is hot, the fat will render quickly, and once it does, you can start taking it out with a ladle and pour through a fine strainer into a heat resistant dish that you intend on storing it in. Once the tallow cools, it will become white in color and at that time, the dish should be tightly sealed. For the tallow I intend to use within the next month or so, I store in the refrigerator. The rest I freeze till needed. For deep frying, you can use this over and over as long as you strain it each time after use. When it starts to take on a yellow color, its time to get rid of it. (Usually after about five uses) I realize this sounds like a lot of work, however, the taste of the food you make with this will make it all worth while, not to mention the health benefits. If anyone has any questions as to what I posted here, please let me know. I have been doing this so long, I may not have made this as clear as I intended.

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Katrina July 11, 2012 at 8:20 PM

I just came upon this article… in browsing through the comments, I only saw one or two mentioning rancidity.

I’ve never tried to render fat, but I do save the “drippings” from bacon (we use Hormel nitrate-free uncured bacon), and from ground beef, as well as fat scooped off from cooking chicken. I most often just set it aside in a jar or mug to feed to the animals later (dogs and chickens). I notice this goes rancid fairly quickly.

Factors:
In my previous kitchen, there was no AC or ventilation (no windows that could open or doors, no fans) and the house was not shaded… so it was regularly 90-100 degrees in the kitchen during summer. But I experienced rancid drippings at even “room temperatures” of the 70s and in the fridge.

Bits of meat and the juices would remain in the fat.

SO:
Should I be filtering my drippings, and how do I get the other juices (broth, gelatin) out of the mix?

Should I only keep it in the fridge, or should it be OK at room temps if things are done right?

Currently I’m still using “grocery store” beef and chicken, and it has most often been frozen prior to cooking… would this make a difference?

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Cathy November 13, 2012 at 8:47 AM

Always freeze or refridgerate your rendered fats unless you’ve got a cool, root cellar option…room temp= rancidity quickly! Also, try to get out any bits of meat or juice if possible, as this will also make it go bad more quickly, unless you are freezing it. Depending on the quality of your grocery store meats you are buying, it might not be worth the effort to save the fats if the meats are conventionally raised/feedlot/CAFO meats. Not to sound like a food snob, but I am going to go ahead and sound like one here- if the meats you are getting are raised conventionally, the fats from them are the worst part you can eat, because everything toxic an animal eats and encounters is stored in the fat, so do yourself a favor and toss that fat. (People also store toxins in their fat, which is often why people feel like garbage when they diet and lose fat- they are detoxing) Fats from animals that are pasture raised and out in the sun are reversely very nutritious for you, because they are loaded with fat soluable vitamins A and D, besides other good stuff. At least with chicken, one way of knowing whether you have high quality fat or nasty stuff that should be thrown away, is after you make a batch of chicken stock/broth, chill it in the fridge in a glass bowl or jar for 24 hrs or so. The fat will rise to the top and harden. If the fat is really hard and white, it is from conventionally grown chickens with poor diets and/or no access to sun. If the fat is more yellow and a litte softer (but still hard enough to pick off the top and remove), its the good stuff. On the beef tallow fat, I am not as sure on how to ascertain the quality- maybe do some googling and see what you can find.

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Cheryl velez September 16, 2012 at 5:42 PM

I rendered tallow a week or so ago to use as a moisturizer for my dry skin. I strained the tallow into a small mason jar and set it in the fridge to harden.

The next evening I took I it out to use it, and it wasn’t scoopable….at all. I thought I might have done something wrong until I read other posts here about tallow being solid. Since I’ll be keeping this in my bathroom, what’s the best way to make it scoopable with my fingers to spread on my skin? Should i just warm it again and mix in an oil that’s liquid at room temp? (EVOO?)

Also, the smell is clearly “beefish”. Is there a way to avoid this? Or is it just best to scent with an essential oil or something?

Sorry for all the questions! ;)

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Rebecca October 6, 2012 at 8:17 AM

I am so excited, I got my suet yesterday from the butcher shop and will make beef tallow this weekend! I can’t wait to try my homemade tortilla recipe using homemade tallow (vs. crisco or lard).

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Suzanne October 25, 2012 at 4:03 PM

I was just wondering how you did your buffalo tallow? I found a source and I’m really excited to try pie crust with it! I’m currently doing the oven method but it has been in there about 2 hours and there is not much oil yet. I’m thinking about switching it to the stove so I can watch it closer. Does it just take more time?

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cheeseslave October 25, 2012 at 7:33 PM

@Suzanne

I usually do it in the crockpot

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Juss October 26, 2012 at 9:48 AM

What happens if there is liquid in the middle? White on top and bottom, but (maybe?) water in the middle.

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Juss October 26, 2012 at 10:33 AM

I mean, should you throw out the water/liquid? I separated the hardened fat and murky water into two different jars. Just waiting to know I should throw out the water. =)

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Rachel November 12, 2012 at 4:14 PM

Thank you for the information! I was curious about saving fat after making bone broth. How do you do it? How long will it keep in the fridge? Is it a good idea not to flavor it up too much with onions, garlic, etc. so it keeps longer?

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Cathy November 13, 2012 at 8:54 AM

I save the fat from my chicken, beef and turkey stocks all of the time! I let the stock cool in the fridge for around 24 hours, then skim the hardened fat off of the top and store it in a freezer zip lock in the freezer (make sure to label and date it so you don’t forget what it is!) for future use to saute veggies, or throw in with some meat I am cooking at a later point. I’ve also used chicken fat to make rice with instead of using butter, if the rice is going into a chicken dish…very tasty! Just make sure the fats you are saving are coming from animals that are pasture raised and have lived (at least for the most part) out in the sun, so you are sure of getting lots of fat soluable vitamins A and D. Fats from animals that are conventionally raised are better just being thrown out, because that fat is loaded with toxins- yuck! If you season your stock with herbs and other things, just make sure to label the zip lock with your fat from that batch with what type of seasonings you used, so you remember and don’t end up using the fat in something you wouldn’t want the flavor of those herbs added into, etc.

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Barbara Lehr November 13, 2012 at 7:50 AM

Thank you for this post. I was wondering if the fat that rises to the top of a chilling pot of bone broth is the same thing as tallow. Can that fat be used for soap making, for instance, do you think? Or for making pie crusts?

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Gena December 2, 2012 at 4:33 PM

Silly question but after you strain it, which part is the lard, the liquid or the stuff you strained? Do you throw the other part away? Thanks for the post!

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cheeseslave December 2, 2012 at 9:19 PM

Not silly! The lard is liquid. It turns into a more solidified Crisco-like substance when it cools. The leftover strained pieces are called “cracklings” – you can eat them! (just add salt)

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zoe artzi January 17, 2013 at 1:32 PM

Hello, happy to see this post. A question: my aunt used to render chicken fat, and smear a teensy bit on elbows, face, hands and they were always soft. Is there any reason not to do that? Is the rended organic chicken fat also tallow?

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Morgan Burch January 21, 2013 at 5:46 PM

I’m making some tallow soon and was wondering:
How much Tallow will I get per pound of beef fat?

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Eve January 26, 2013 at 3:08 PM

I did this, and after putting it in the fridge, I had a small layer of water on the bottom, underneath the hardened tallow. Is this normal? I poked down through and drained the water but was wondering if the moisture may cause it to go bad?

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Heather January 26, 2013 at 5:08 PM

The moisture shouldn’t be in the oil itself. You probably just didn’t cook it long enough. You should cook it long enough to evaporate any fluid that is there. I would guess that the “water” is broth. It’s unlikely to be plain water. That broth is good in soups or any dish you want a little more flavor in. The flip side is yes, if you did not get all the liquid out, there is a greater risk of it going bad. Be sure to store it in a cool place. I keep mine on the floor of my pantry under the shelves. As long as your lard is white or nearly white, I wouldn’t worry but do be sure to smell it before you use it. If it smells rancid, throw it out. Congratulations on making your very own lard!

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Robin June 11, 2013 at 8:11 AM

Not trying to be disrespectful, I would just like to see the studies done on the health benefits , I would rather make an informed decision for myself rather than depend on someone telling me it has health benefits.

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Trudy Kilfian July 20, 2013 at 10:54 AM

We had a grass fed beef & I’d asked for the bones. I cooked down the bones so that I could have some tasty broth for soups and saved the fat by scraping it off the top after it was chilled. Can I use this to make my lard? Should I add water to it to clean it when cooking it down, then scrape off the top again when chilled? Or, what is the preferred method to render what I have into lard or tallow? (not sure what the difference is in the terms, lard & tallow?)

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Sue b July 26, 2013 at 7:08 PM

The water under the rendered tallow should be discarded. It is carrying the meat,bone chips and other detritus from the original fats.

Lard is from pigs, tallow from beef, lamb, bison horse etc.
Chicken fat is very soft and will not keep like tallow
Boiling the fat in water then letting it cool so the fats set on the water is the best way to render. The oils in the fat float on the water annd the other bits sink to the bottom except for a scum that can be scraped off the tallow before storage.
That way the water holds the meat bits etc and when you lift the hard tallow off the water all you need to do is lightly scrape any grayish residue off the water side of the tallow and it is done. Discard the water I would not use it for stock as fats are not kept under good conditions at the butchers.

You can remelt and add ev olive oil in a 1/10 oil tallow ratio to make skin softener.

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Allison December 22, 2013 at 7:05 AM

Thank you for your comment. I appreciate the way you broke down the information.
I have also enjoyed reading Cheese Slave’s blog and all the comments & questions.
Peace

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Kate July 27, 2013 at 4:15 AM

I am looking forward to giving this a try. I intend to use the fat from the venison we harvest this fall. Can’t get more natural than that. One deer carcass also makes about 5 gals of stock (bone broth).

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Tessa August 8, 2013 at 8:00 AM

Hi, sorry but: 200 C or F?

Thanks for the info!

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Jennifer August 31, 2013 at 10:03 AM

Would you do the same process for venison as you would for the other animals I’ve read about? We harvest our own venison, process the meat here at the house, and I have a lot of bones and fat that we remove and discard. I just want to use as much of the deer as possible and not be wasteful of God’s creatures. Thanks for all your helpful info.

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Diana October 19, 2013 at 10:49 PM

I’m wondering if the type of bones used are important in making tallow. I have made it twice before and both times the tallow came out white. This week I made it from a bag of beef bones I picked up from our farmer, of many shapes and sizes, and the tallow is yellow. Suggestions? Thanks!

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Diana December 13, 2013 at 10:39 AM

Does anyone know the answer to this question? I haven’t seen a response, and I’d really like to know. Thanks!

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Diana December 13, 2013 at 10:41 AM

“It’s also important to use the fat from animals on pasture — that lard at the supermarket is made from animals in confinement.” I don’t think this can be stressed enough, even to the point of being redundant. I did not see this recommendation until after the paragraph on whether it is healthy. Really important that people don’t use factory-raised fat for rendering. Toxic!

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