Beef Tallow French Fries

French fries have been around since the Middle Ages. They are said to have originated in Belgium in the 1600s. Known as pommes frites in France and chips in Great Britain, French fries are immensely popular all over Europe, as well as in America.

Did you know French fries can actually be good for you? If cooked in the right kind of fat, French fries are nourishing, healthy and full of vitamins.

Fats in History

One hundred years ago, liquid vegetable oil was not invented yet. People cooked with lard, tallow, and butter. Cancer and heart attacks were also unknown.

Fats & Oils in the Food Supply: 1890 vs. 1990

(in descending order of market share)

Chicken Fat
Olive Oil
Palm Oil
Coconut Oil
Peanut Oil
Cottonseed Oil

Soybean Oil (70% partially hydrogenated)
Rapeseed Oil, or Canola Oil (usually partially hydrogenated)
Cottonseed Oil
Peanut Oil
Corn Oil
Palm Oil
Coconut Oil

(source: Mary Enig, PhD, Know Your Fats)

What's Wrong With Vegetable Oil?

Vegetable oil is a highly processed modern food. It is refined, bleached, deodorized, hydrogenated, and totally devoid of any nutrients. An empty food — and harmful to boot. (To learn more about why vegetable oil is bad for you, read this article: The Oiling of America.)

Grass-fed Tallow: Rich in Fat Soluble Vitamins

Tallow, on the other hand, is easy to render in your own kitchen from beef fat you can buy from your butcher or farmer. And tallow from grass-fed cows is full of fat soluble vitamins, including vitamin K2, which is instrumental in building bones and teeth.

Who knew that eating French fries could help us prevent cavities and osteoporosis? Now you can tell your children they they can skip the salad, but they must finish all their French fries — so they can grow big and strong. (Source)

Tallow: The Traditional Cooking Oil For French Fries

Tallow is also the fat traditionally used for French fries. And many say it is the beef tallow that makes the fries much more flavorful. Did you know McDonald's made their French fries with beef tallow until 1983?

The taste of a french fry is largely determined by the cooking oil. For decades McDonald's cooked its french fries in a mixture of about seven percent cottonseed oil and 93 percent beef tallow. The mixture gave the fries their unique flavor — and more saturated beef fat per ounce than a McDonald's hamburger. Source: Eric Schlosser in The Atlantic.

Actually, in France, they used beef tallow and horse tallow — but it may not be so easy to find horse tallow these days so we'll stick with beef tallow.

Beef Tallow French Fries

Beef Tallow French Fries

  • Author: Ann Marie Michaels


  • Russet potatoes (enough to feed your family — figure one large potato per person)
    Filtered water
  • Grass-fed beef tallow (6-8 cups)
  • Sea salt


1. Peel the potatoes and cut lengthwise into French fry size (1/4 inch to 1/2 inch in width, and the length of the potato).

I used this super handy-dandy French fry cutter. It is so cool! Made the job a whole lot easier.

2. Cover the potatoes with filtered water and let sit for at least 30 minutes, and as long as overnight (in the fridge). I've tried this for as little as an hour and as long as 12 hours — and quite honestly, I couldn't really taste a difference. I think an hour is sufficient, but you can do it ahead if you like and leave the potatoes soaking in the fridge overnight.
3. Put the beef tallow in a heavy pot or a deep fat fryer. I found this neat deep fat fryer with a glass bowl (the only one I've seen without a non-stick bowl made of Teflon).

However, take caution. If you use this particular fryer (called Kaloric), read the directions. Ahem — all of the directions. You have to warm the tallow very slowly — until it is liquid. If you try to heat it up full blast when it is still solid, it will smoke like the dickens and set off your fire alarm. (Yes, this happened to me. Another Bridget-Jones-in-the-kitchen moment.) If using a heavy saucepan or stock pot, attach the thermometer.

4. Dry the potatoes very thoroughly (if they are wet, it's dangerous — as it can cause the hot oil to pop) with clean dish towels. Line a cookie sheet (preferably one with a lip) with parchment paper, a Silpat, or paper towels.
5. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees (or the lowest setting). Heat the tallow to 370 degrees, and then gently and very carefully, add some of the potatoes. Don't overcrowd them. Watch for spitting hot oil and make sure there are no children around when you do this.
6. Fry for 3 minutes, then, using the tongs or the basket from the fryer, transfer the fries to the cookie sheet.
7. Wait until the tallow heats up again to 370 degrees, then add another batch of potatoes. Fry for 3 minutes, and continue in this manner until you have done all the potatoes.
8. Now it's time for the second fry. Bring the tallow to 380 degrees (mine only goes up to 375, so that's what I did) and then add some of the fries you cooked once. Fry for 3 1/2 minutes this time, then transfer back to the paper- or Silpat-lined cookie sheet.
9. Sprinkle with salt. Don't be stingy with the salt.
10. Repeat with the rest of the fries.
11. Transfer to warm oven while you finish whatever else you're cooking (hamburgers, fried chicken, what-have-you).

If you're just having fries (not such a bad idea), serve immediately. With ketchup. And milkshakes if you've got 'em. Ooh — even better — chili and cheese. Yeah, now we're talking.

Postscript: I reuse my tallow a few times. I'm not sure how many times it's OK to use it — I figure 3-5 times? If anyone knows, please comment.

Anyway to strain your tallow so you can use it again, after you're done frying (and eating), let the hot oil cool a bit. Then strain it through coffee filters, paper towels or cheesecloth.


I modified this recipe from the one in The Balthazar Cookbook. It requires that you soak the potatoes in water and double fry them. Both of these steps will help to produce a crispier fry.

Regarding the tallow and possible oil substitutions: I have also made French fries with expeller-pressed coconut oil. However, you can only heat the oil to just below 350 degrees, which is the smoke point of coconut oil — hence, the fries will not be as crisp. You really want to heat the oil to 375 degrees to get the fries crisp. Beef tallow has a very high smoke point — between 400 and 420 degrees. Palm oil would also work, as would lard. I haven't tried either of those yet.

This recipe also works great with duck fat (although the smoke point for duck fat is 375 degrees — so you want to go a little lower on the heat).

Please note that this recipe is fairly labor intensive. And you can't really make it ahead of time since fries are best eaten right after they are cooked.

That said, these fries are so delicious, it's well worth the effort. When I make these French fries, my 2-year-old daughter refuses to eat anything else. At least I know they are good for her!

Did you make this recipe?

Share a photo and tag us — we can't wait to see what you've made!

Equipment Needed for This Recipe

Deep-fat fryer or a heavy bottomed enamel or stainless steel sauce pan or stock pot
If using sauce pan or stock pot, you will need a candy thermometer — the kind that attaches to the side of the pot
Cookie sheet
Parchment paper, Silpat mat or paper towels

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Beef Tallow French Fries

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Ann Marie Michaels

I have 25 years of experience in digital and online media & marketing. I started my career in Silicon Valley and Los Angeles, working at some of the world’s top ad agencies. In 2007, after my first child was born, I started this little food blog which I grew to over 250K monthly unique website visitors and over 350K social media followers. For nearly 15 years, I've helped my audience of mostly moms and women 25-65 cook for their families and live a healthier lifestyle.

 The year after I started the blog, I founded a blog network in the health & wellness space called Village Green Network. I started the company on my coffee table and bootstrapped the business to over $1.3 million in annual revenue within 5 years. During that time, I helped a number of our bloggers become six figure earners. After being censored on almost every social media platform for telling the After being censored on almost every social media platform from Facebook and Instagram to Pinterest and Twitter, and being deplatformed on Google, I am now deployed as a digital soldier, writing almost exclusively about politics on my blog Because who can think about food when we are fighting the second revolutionary war and third world war? Don't worry, there will be more recipes one day. After the war is over.

141 thoughts on “Beef Tallow French Fries

  1. Love duck fat fried potatoes, adding tallow to the list. So much good information here!

    Really interesting historical info of fat consumption- would like to see that side-by-side with a diabetes, heart disease and cancer chart; bet it lines up.

  2. Love it! I’ve always agreed with Michael Pollan when he says that it’s okay to eat junk food — as long as you make it yourself! If you do that:

    1) The food is far more nourishing for you, particularly if you take care to use good fats and quality ingredients (in which case, it’s not junk food anymore!), and

    2) You’ll eat it less often b/c it’s so labor intensive. Some people eat junk food/fast food fries 2 times a day — every day! Making fries like this, I’m more likely to make them once a month, maybe twice.

    Thanks for sharing this in today’s carnival!

    (AKA FoodRenegade)

  3. That deep fryer looks awesome! The only reason I haven’t gotten a deep fryer is that they all seem to be made of aluminum. Is the basket stainless steel? I actually looked at the Kaloric website and I couldn’t find what the basket was made from.

    I have that handy dandy french fry cutter too. I love it!

    I just made beef tallow for the first. I’m looking forward to making french fries. Until I get a deep fryer, I’ll bake them in tallow.

  4. Tina – I don’t know what the basket is made out of. But at least the bowl is glass. That’s good enough for me.

    Isn’t the french fry cutter the BEST? LOVE it! It saves me so much work!

    By the way, if I were you I would try frying them in a stock pot. All you need is a cheap candy thermometer. It works just fine. Baking just isn’t the same because you can’t get them crispy like you can when you fry them.

  5. Kristen –

    Seriously, I could make these fries every week. Maybe even twice a week. It gets easier once you get the hang of it. And the deep fryer and French fry cutter make it even easier.

    Deep fried chicken nuggets are SOOO good too. And they keep in the fridge — and they’re even yummy the next day.

    1. Brooklyn,
      I make chicken nuggets at home using rice flour. isn’t that gluten free? for the wet coating I usually use the leftover “cream cheese” from making whey, thinned with milk. rice flour for the dry coat. I do a wet and dry coat twice per piece of chicken. Then bake. I also season them. Frying them would be good too! I just don’t feel like getting a huge pot of fat boiling on the stove too often (messy). The rice flour makes it more crispy than wheat flour which gets kind of gloppy.

    2. I line a baking pan with parchment paper and pour the tallow in it in it let it cool and solidify, Then pick it up by the parchment paper and stick it folded in half into a Ziploc bag in the freezer. I also read on another website that if you're going to reuse your tallow for frying make sure you fry the same food in it or you'll get funny flavors.

  6. I make these all the time and just use a deep cast iron skillet for frying. Instead of soaking the potatoes strips, I parboil them for about a minute or so — does the same thing as soaking and doesn’t require ahead of time prep. Making fries is super easy once you go through the process a couple of times to get the hang of it.

  7. Jeannette –

    Thank you! I will try parboiling next time.

    Do you dry them after parboiling?

    Also, do you use beef tallow?

    I’m curious about what kind of storage containers is best for rendered beef tallow. I don’t really like the mason jars because it’s hard to get it out without melting it first. Curious about what others use…

  8. Also, Jeannette, do you reuse your tallow? How many times do you reuse it?

    And what do you find is the best method for straining it? I like the coffee filter method OK but wonder if there is a better trick…

  9. I was trying to check out your resources page for a source of beef fat. For some reason the links don’t work. Is it just me or is there a problem.

  10. How many pounds of fat do you need to render 6-8 cups of tallow (about)? I found someone who will sell me grassfed beef fat for .50/pound, I’ve asked for 10 pounds. I’m hoping I can freeze some and render the rest for deep frying…


  11. Ann Marie,

    I fried potatoes with tallow ealier this week. I agree that it’s a pain in the pooper to get it out of a glass jar. After struggling to get it out with a tablespoon, I took a butter knife and jabbed the tallow and it broke up in chunks. The chunks weren’t too big and I only broke up the top layer.

    If there’s a better way, I’d love to find out too.

    And I was going to ask you about straining it and how many times it can be reused. I’m hopeful, Jeannette will answer!

    1. Whenever I make lard or tallow, I usually line a jelly roll pan, or a 9 X 13 cake pan, with parchment paper. When the lard/tallow is ready to start the cooling process, just take a soup ladle and run the melted stuff through a strainer and then pour the strained stuff into the pans to cool. If it’s winter, I cool it outside. Cut into strips, squares, rectangles — whatever works best in your freezer, space-wise. I wrap each individual “square” in parchment paper (sometimes twice if I know it’s going to be frozen for some time) and then pop it into a plastic bag. **Sorry, but I don’t give up my plastic bags for nobody!! I just keep reusing them until they fall apart.

      When I make fries or chips or donuts, I keep the leftover lard/tallow but I label the parchment paper with whatever it was used for (don’t refry donuts in the same oil you used for potatoes, for instance) and also I date it. I re-use the leftover lard the next time I’m ready to make something and I just add a little new stuff to the old stuff. It sort of recycles itself that way, and I don’t have to bother with how I’m going to throw it out. Besides, after going to the trouble of rendering, who wants to toss it anyhow?

  12. This looks great. I was so excited when a “traditional” belgian frite and waffle place opened in my city, so I called to find out what kind of fat they used, hoping against hope and unfortunately there was no luck for me, they proudly exclaimed “Canola!” So I guess I’ll be making them at home. Thanks Ann Marie.

  13. Chery –

    Do you have an ad blocker installed? If so, please disable it. The links are javascript and if you are running something that blocks them, they will not show up.

  14. Kim –

    I bought 10 pounds, too. I cut it all up into chunks, then ground it up in my food processor. Then I divided the ground up fat into 2 pound packages and froze it in freezer bags.

    I don’t know how much I rendered but it was around 3-4 pounds and I got just over 7 cups of tallow. Something like that. I don’t know for sure because I kept adding more fat to my crockpot. I didn’t measure.

  15. Though tallow is nourishing, potatoes have relatively few nutrients but for us the clincher is when you fry them–actually when you cook any starch at high temp–they form acrylamides which are carcinogens. Not saying it’s not okay to eat fries like this every so often but due to acrylamides our family avoids them or any fried starch and probably wouldn’t look at this as a “healthy” treat because of this issue. Here’s the conservative fda link: and a greater voice of concern: .I guess if you slow cooked taters in the tallow they’d qualify as healthy without reservations but all frying is a problem it seems–even if you made sprouted flour organic donuts in tallow.

    1. I would never rely on the FDA for any sort of information, certainly not pertaining to foods. Most of us who cook this way are aware of how starches work, etc., but since these are more or less considered treats, and only something done occasionally, it’s really not a concern. If I have to live my life watching every single thing that goes into my mouth, I’d go nutz in short order.


  16. Sorry to post again, but regarding storage of the beef tallow, one thing you could try is storing it in the hot water cupboard! I’m not sure if that’s what you call them in the States, but any way, it’s the place where the hot water cyclinder is kept. The temperature in this cupboard is about 29 degrees celsius. I store my coconut oil in this cupboard, and it permantly keeps it liquid for me! I don’t see why you couldn’t also store the tallow in there too, it would keep it at a soft consistency. I use this cupboard all the time for defrosting things quickly, fermenting things when it’s cold in the house etc. It’s the best cupboard ever! 🙂

  17. Tina –

    I agree, it is a pain in the pooper to get it out of glass jars. And yes, I have tried it that way, too — using a knife to break it into chunks. It does work, but it seems like there must be a better way.

    Kylie – How long can you store your tallow that way? I know coconut oil has a very long shelf life (years) but I am not sure about tallow. And by the way, I don’t have a cupboard like that. I wish I did!

  18. Hmmm… Marcy, very interesting.

    Well people ate tons of deep fried foods 100 years ago. Google it and you will see that cookbooks from the 1800s are full of recipes for doughnuts, fried potatoes, fried oysters, etc. It seems likely that people back then ate way more fried foods than we do now. However, everything was fried in lard, tallow or butter — not vegetable oil.

    Here’s an example of a cookbook from the late 1800s. Do a search for the word fried on the page — lots and lots of recipes come up!

    And yet the cancer rate was very low back then. Acc. to this article, cancer rates have more than tripled since 1900.

    Which makes me seriously question that information. In the studies they did where they found the acrylamides, did they actually test any foods fried in tallow or lard — instead of vegetable oils?

    Also, if it is true that all cooked foods contain acrylamides, then if you wanted to avoid them, you’d have to avoid all cooked foods and eat a completely raw diet.

  19. I also boil my potatoes before frying and they turn out so crispy and tasty. So far I’ve only had lard to use but I’m looking forward to having lots of beef tallow here pretty soon when we get our steer we raised butchered this month.

  20. I tried making french fries just like this once, but realized it was much simpler to fry them in the OVEN. And the results are just as crisp and delicious! I melt the fat (tallow & lard) in the oven on a cookie sheet while the oven is pre-heating to 375, then I dry off my soaked potatoes and add them to the hot fat once the oven is the right temp. Then you just let them be for, oh, about 20 minutes (if you try to turn them too soon they fall apart). Flip/stir them around and cook for another 15-25 minutes or so, depending on the thickness and how dark/crispy you want them. When they’re done, drain them on paper towels or a big paper bag and salt them liberally. Voila!

  21. Gina –

    I tried making oven fried potatoes once with butter and they were very soggy. Good ‘n buttery — but soggy nonetheless.

    I’ll have to try your method. How much lard/tallow do you use and how much potatoes?

    Also, how do you put tallow on a cookie sheet and not have it run over? Is this a cookie sheet with a lip?

  22. I spent last weekend renderig lard and tallow, 10 pounds each, following the info from one of your posts an tips from an 82 year old neighbor. I did french fries a few days later. I’ve used the twice fried method for years. I also learned that I can freeze the potatos after the 1st cooking. When fried later, they are as good as fresh. This makes the next few times much easier and faster.

  23. Dana, sounds like you had a busy weekend! 10 pounds is a lot of work — can only imagine what 20 was like.

    That is so cool that your 82-year-old neighbor helped you. I love it!

    I’m very intrigued about the idea of freezing the fries after the first cooking. I love that idea! I wonder, too, how it would work to bake the once-cooked-the-frozen fries in the oven. I wonder if it would be anything like frozen tater tots… or the frozen French fries you buy at the grocery store.

    Might be worth doing some experimentation…

  24. Hi there,

    Do you know how many times you can use the same tallow to fry in? Thanks for all the good tallow info – the fries look great!

  25. Mary – I think I heard Sally Fallon say “a few” times. But I’m not sure exactly how many that is. 2? 3? I just guessed when I said 3-5 times. But I don’t know. I’d love to get an official answer. I should ask on the chapter leaders list…

    1. I was re-reading your comments on “Tallow Fried” French Fries… and you answered
      “… 2? 3? I just guessed when I said 3-5 times.…”

      You can continue using used tallow as often as you like PROVIDING you do not BURN it! All you need to do is to filter off any solids left in the hot fat once cooking is finished. Simply ADD more tallow as required for the next cook fest! 🙂 I have used tallow that is more than 2 years on-the-go and all meals taste really delicious. No degradation in flavour! Fat (Tallow) is just as good as the first day I used it! I cook fish, meat, shrimps, scotch-eggs etc.

      Re: Freezing French Fries (or CHIPS as the English call them) ANY vegetable that is PAR-COOKED or “BLANCHED” should freeze for as long as you wish! 2 years is OK, even tho’ some food experts say that you should not freeze for longer than a month or so. I say Rubbish to that. If your freezer is colder than -18°C 0r 0°F, there should be no worry about degradation over a 1-year period.

      Do not try to freeze potatoes whole… but as fries (chips) just par-boil or blanch and you are “off to the races.”

      P.S. To BLANCH is to immerse in boiling water for up to about 30 seconds!

  26. We make oven fries all the time with butter, they always turn out nice and crispy! There is a bit of a learning curve to them, but I much prefer them over to deep fat fried french fries. We deep fat fried some fish in lard tonight, and it was to die for. Yummy!

  27. Hmm, not sure how many times you can reuse the tallow but it made me think of a restaurant that was featured on a show on the food network. The place had been in business since the early 1900’s (in TN I think) and they fry their hamburgers in the same oil they used from the start…the oil is literally kept under lock and key and strained each day…I’m thinking that if they would have to keep adding to it but they have never thrown out the batch and started with “fresh oil.” I’m not recomending this or anything but I was really intrigued by it.

    Great post, but still waiting for the promised tamales!

  28. I LOVE making french fries fried in beef tallow. I love making sweet potato fries even better! I just put chunks of beef tallow in my stock pot or dutch oven, let it boil, once it simmers down I put them in. It isn’t labor intensive at all except for the washing and cutting of the potatoes… Is there a reason why you use a thermometer? Does the temp matter? I also fried eggplant last week and made parmesan with the pieces. Worried about the carcinogens now after reading the prior posting…

  29. I LOVE making french fries fried in beef tallow. I love making sweet potato fries even better! I just put chunks of beef tallow in my stock pot or dutch oven, let it boil, once it simmers down I put them in. It isn’t labor intensive at all except for the washing and cutting of the potatoes… Is there a reason why you use a thermometer? Does the temp matter? I also fried eggplant last week and made parmesan with the pieces. Worried about the carcinogens now after reading the prior posting… Also, do you soak the pots for easier digestion? I don’t even soak them.

  30. I’ve known folks that were not allowed any starch for health reasons. When the craving for potatos overcame the prohibition, they soak the potatos for a couple of days, changing the water a few times, to reduce the starch content of the food. I’ve fried and oven baked my frozen home made fries, seems 6 to one and half dozen to the other as far as taste & texture went.

  31. Marsha –

    That’s horrifying! How on earth could they keep using the same oil for over 100 years?!

    Tamales post is scheduled – will be posted within the next couple weeks.

  32. Kim –

    The reason you soak or parboil the potatoes is to reduce the starch which makes them crispier.

    The reason you want to use a thermometer is so you can get the oil at just the right temperature. If you go above the smoke point, you will create free radicals. If you don’t go as high as you possibly can, you can’t get your fries very crispy.

  33. These sound spectacular! I bought some beef tallow from U.S. Wellness Meats some time ago, but alas, the tub has just been sitting in the freezer. Now I have plans! 🙂 Have you ever used this tub of tallow and did you simply use the whole thing? Also, in terms of frying the potatoes in the oven, wouldn’t a 9 X 13 or two work? (That way you hopefully wouldn’t get the run-off…and my cookie sheets don’t have much of a lip).

    Thanks for this post!

  34. Hi, Julie

    Sorry but how big is the tub you are referring to? My fryer requires 6-8 cups of oil.

    I suppose you could use a 9 x 13 however you need to be careful with those if they are glass. I’ve had two glass 9 x 13s explode on me when I took them out of a hot oven.

    Pyrex used to make oven-safe pans but they stopped using the harder glass and are now using a cheaper version which has the tendency to shatter.

    I’m still not convinced about oven baked fries… I will try though and see if I can get them to come out as good as the deep fried ones…

  35. I’m a real fanatic about my french fries (any potatos, really). I don’t normally like the taste or texture after they’ve been reheated or have been in the freezer. I’ve cooked my own home made french fries that have been fried once before freezing with success, however. I let them that then put them on a broiler pan and under the broiler. They crisp up just fine.

  36. Dana, thank you.

    And thanks to everyone else for all your comments! Great ideas and tips!!!

    I am going to try this method of just frying once, then broiling. That would make the dinner preparation a lot smoother.

    I’m also going to work on a recipe for tater tots.

  37. I put them in a bowl lined with a paper towel after parboiling and dry them a bit that way. I’m not usually super precise with the drying. The oil pops a bit when I throw the potatoes in, but nothing terrible.

    For frying, I usually use a mix of expeller-pressed coconut oil and beef tallow or lard — whatever I have. I had a container of beef tallow from U.S. Wellness in the freezer for a long time, but that’s gone now so I’ve been using pork lard. I need to get some more beef tallow, because it really imparts a nice flavor to the fries!

    I do reuse the fat. I use a fine metal strainer and keep it in a Mason jar. Getting the fat out of the Mason jar is indeed a real pain. I haven’t found a good alternative — I usually just chip away at it with a knife to get it out, which works ok, but isn’t ideal. Maybe others have some good suggestions…?

    1. (Quoted)
      “…I usually just chip away at it with a knife to get it out, which works ok, but isn’t ideal. Maybe others have some good suggestions…?” end quote.

      Simply put your tallow in the jar in your microwave on a low-ish setting and melt it a little until it will allow the solid to slide out! Works for me!

  38. Thanks Jeannette for the info. I was thinking that the tallow could be used many, many times and the taste may still be good but the vitamin K2 may get cooked out…of course I have no idea….I was just a thinkin’

  39. I haven’t tried storing tallow in my hot water cupboard yet, so I couldn’t tell you how long it stays good in there for. That is a good point to consider, you might be right that it needs a cooler temperature to keep it from going rancid.

  40. I once tried sweet potato fries in lard. They weren’t exactly crispy. Maybe it is because I didn’t have the lard hot enough or didn’t soak the potatos in water first or fry them twice.

    I appreciate these ideas and will try them again sometime.

  41. Kelly, you might try using red or new potatoes — both of which already have a low starch content. I regularly usd both and they work equally well for french fries. I wish I could speak to exactly how much starch is removed in the parboiling process.

  42. Re: storing the tallow in something better than mason jars… I am wondering if it might work better to strain it into a small bowl or ramekin. It would be easier to pop out of a more shallow container.

    Then you could just pop that out and keep it in a Tupperware container or something. I’m going to try it today.

  43. Jeannette, I have heard that red potatoes don’t have enough starch content to make crispy fries.

    Kel, you KNOW what I think of your low-carb weight-watching silliness. You are the perfect weight! You know I would tell you if you were fat. Stop with this nonsense and enjoy your food. 😉

    Oh, and Jeannette – I think 3 times is a good number.

  44. I got ’em too. It’s OK!

    Everyone has a little extra weight as you age except for super-skinny models. And if you are that skinny, you don’t look healthy as you age. People who are too skinny have a lot of wrinkles.

    Even movie star, Charlize Theron admitted to having back fat. I think I saw her say that on Oprah.

  45. Oh boy – I am so upset that I have been frying w/o knowing the temp and giving my lil one the fries and zuchini! Hope I didn’t get us overloaded w too many free radicals! worried…

  46. Sorry to repost – you don’t just fry them on the stovetop? Is it because you may go above 380? Have you ever tossed them in the stockpot/dutch oven and fried them in the oven with the temp set? Maybe that is what you did… I am confused since I see you used the deep fryer…

  47. Kim –

    Yes, you can use a Dutch oven or stock pot and yes I have done it (see where I listed the Equipment you need and also see the photo above).

    It helps to have a thermometer (if not using a deep fryer) because you can tell exactly when your oil is at the right temp to throw the next batch of fries in. Otherwise you are just guessing and your oil may not be hot enough. If you throw them in when the temp is too low, they’ll come out soggy.

    Most likely you have not been frying at too high of a temperature (unless you’re using an oil with a low smoke point). You will know when you are creating free radicals because it will SMOKE.

  48. Just made the french fries with lard!! Yummy!!
    I also soaked the potatoes for 24 hrs and then they sat in the fridge in a towel overnight (because my lard was still not ready).
    Thanks for the work you continue to do!!!

  49. About carcinogens and free radicals- I’m fairly certain it has little to do with starch and much more to do with the smoke point of certain oils. If the worry is about heating starches, then you’d think baking and steaming things would be dangerous too, maybe only at certain temperatures though ( I could be wrong, I’ll have to research that- maybe a chemist would like to respond.) It’s the chemical breakdown of the specific oils at certain temperatures that changes the structure and makes them unsafe. Do a search for smoke points of cooking oils- they’re all different. Also, refined oils have a higher smoke point. Refined oils aren’t as good in general I think, but I am not really certain about that. I just notice that in nice health food stores like Whole Foods, you can get refined oils and unrefined- it depends on what you’re cooking. If you’re doing high heat cooking, go with refined unless that particular oil has a high smoke point anyway regardless of refining. Avocado oil actually has the highest smoke point of the oils naturally, although it’s so pricey, I just use that for occasional stir fry or drizzle on salads.

    I got Carotino brand all natural pure red palm oil at the African store here- very popular cooking oil in African food. It was good for some stir fry chicken, but it does have a different flavor and I don’t prefer that for french fries or deep fried anything, especially any type of bread or pastry. Perhaps it’s better when you’re making a spicy dish. I am doing some experimenting with oils lately so though I’d give that a whirl too. As far as the quality of the Carotino brand though, that’s good – I just don’t care for the flavor on its own. The palm kernel oil at the African store looked very dark brown and didn’t know what to make of it. Honestly, some of the oils didn’t look like they survived the shipping well and the bottles looked dirty or beat up- a little scared of that. Carotino looked real good though like it was real clean and new. Just a silly comment- probably depends on the store. If something doesn’t look right, I just don’t trust it.

  50. I really enjoyed this post and had kept it in my email for the longest time. Finally collecting enough tallow to fry in I went to fry the potatoes and they were awesome.
    I really like reading your blog and I thank you for the inspirations. Here’s to the fats!
    .-= CJ´s last blog ..Tallow/Lard French Fries =-.

  51. Just made these delicious fries today, and they tasted fabulous! Although, I am a little worried about the smoke point. I used a thermometer, yet my smoke alarm went off around 200 degrees or so. The temp went above 400 degrees once, and I took the pot off the heat to cool down a bit. When I finished frying, I turned around and my kitchen had a smoky haze. Do you think I did something wrong? Also, is it normal for the tallow to have a dark amber color after its first use? Or should I throw it out? Thanks so much for your help!

  52. we just butchered a 1/2 of beef and i kept 4 pails of the fat and rendered all of it. I have alot to use now and am wondering if this tallow is good in other things or if it will give a beefy flavor to things like cookies? i am excited to try the french fries….we have 5 kids that love them. also, i stored my tallow in wide mouth plastic freezer containers made by ziploc. the top twists off and holds 3 cups. easy to measure. another question: when i rendered the fat i put it in the refrigerator and then chunked it and rendered it again. there was only a very small amount of skimming on the top. wondering if that second time around was necessary? also, can i use the meat and grizzle left over for dog food?
    thanks, julie

  53. Hi, Julie

    You can fry all kinds of things in beef tallow. Fried chicken, chicken nuggets, fish and chips, etc. I also use it as my favorite fat for all my pie crusts.

    Never tried it in cookies.

    I have found one rendering to be sufficient. I have been using a coffee filter which works very well. If you are just straining through a seive, you might need to do two renderings — or add a coffee filter or paper towel

    I guess you could give the grizzle to the dogs – why not.

    1. i thought the same thing about feeding the left over bits to the dog. two piles of dog vomit later i’m rethinking it 😉

  54. People need to wake up to the great scam that has been perpetrated on us. We have been told for decades that the hydrogenated oils and fats are better than animal fats and tropical oils but now we know that hydrogenated oils and fats are trans fats and it’s the trans fats that are killing us. The people in southeast Asia and the Pacific island nations where most of the tropical oils come from actually have much lower incidence of cardio-vascular disease and they still use those “bad” fats and oils in every meal. The problem is that we have been fed this lie for so long that when you try to convince someone that these so called “healthy” oils and fats are more harmful than the old fats and oils that we used to use, they think you’re some kind of nut because the so called “experts” told them one thing and you’re not an expert so how can you question what they know?

  55. Cheeseslave,

    Try using lard in pie crusts and pastries. It’s the best fat for getting lots of flaky layers. 🙂

  56. @ Joe

    Agreed! Especially leaf lard!

    In fact, the best pie I ever made was made with bison leaf lard:

  57. Hi cheeseslave:

    When I was in UK, 3 years ago, I purchased 10 kilos of beef fat (absolutely pure white), from my local fish ‘n’ chippy in Market Weighton. (I live in Moscow Russia!!). He cooked all his food in the same beef fat, adding as necessary. His were the best fish ‘n’ chips I have tasted! Beautifully light, but crisp batter and flavourful chips… never in oil! I have been using this fat, which resides on my window ledge, in a lightproof plastic shoulder bag, no fridge needed, does not melt and can be used endlessly. I do not throw it out… all I keep doing is adding a little more as and when required. The fat is always clean and the food tastes delicious – as it is supposed to – and I cater to many people on a regular basis. Beef fat or tallow, is one of the most safe fats to use, and provides about the most flavourful result, over nearly all other oils and/or fats. It is what we grew up on, and my mum is 92 and still going strong! There is no shelf life limit for rendered beef fat. It just sits inert!

  58. me again, cheeseslave…

    Just to say that I also cook many other types of food – Hawaiian butterfly shrimps, chicken wings, scotch eggs, scolloped potatoes, battered other seafoods (calmari, octopus, etc) All work extremely well. Lastly, you will NEVER have more tasty Yorkshire puddings, than if you use beef fat for the batter! – 2 teaspoons for 4″ puds and 4 tablespoons for a 9″ x 6″ x 2″ rectangular pan. Another winner with this fat is oven roast potatoes… beef fat, 33%, olive oil 33% and 33% slightly salted butter… make sure you par-boil the spuds first in very salty water for 10 mins.

  59. Thank you, Bruce – maybe you can teach this information to Jamie Oliver and other British chefs. I just watched Jamie’s Food Revolution (first episode). LOVED it but wish he hadn’t tossed out the deep fryer. If only he knew about beef tallow!

  60. Cleeseslavw, I LOVE your blog, and have found myself moving more towards ‘real food’…

    I’ve talked to a couple of foodie friends (one’s a 90 year old gramma), and here’s what they’ve told me about the tallow.

    so long as you don’t set it on fire, or turn it horribly brown (overheat it, basically) it’s good to use for as many uses as you can get out of it. Given that Miss Merle’s lived to over 90 reusing the same tallow and lard, I’d be inclined to believe her.

    so my comment goes with bruce’s. ‘reuse it, keep it out of light, and don’t burn it’

    I love your directions for rendering lard with the crockpot. dead easy and doesn’t make a mess. (but it does have the felines sitting on the floor in front of the counter and staring at the crock for hours. I know they’re plotting something!)

    I wanted to thank you for this blog, and for all the great slow food/good food knowledge that would otherwise be lost.

  61. OH! I almost forgot

    when I strain my lard, I use either a nice tight weave flour sack towel, or a piece of bedsheet instead of cheesecloth (I’ll go and find a cheap bedsheet, wash the dickens out of it, and cut it up as I need it for things like a cloth cover over a jar for sourdough starter, a straining cloth, etc)

    for storing my tallow, I use a fairly large wide mouthed stainless steel bowl with a bit of saran wrap over to keep it covered. (stainless steel only. I wouldn’t use anything more reactive. I’m actually waiting for a nice crock with an airtight lid that a friend promised me)

    something else I’ve heard tell of doing, is to scoop the room temp lard/tallow into cup measures,(like with an ice cream scoop or a measuring cup) lay on a cookiesheet, and cool until it’s easy to handle, then store in a crock in the fridge. that way you can just grab a cup or two at a time without having to worry about trying to carve pieces off of a large cold block or wrestle with getting it out of a mason jar a spoonful at a time.

    sorry about the second posting, I’d gotten distracted and hit ‘submit’ before I was ready.

  62. The other night I made french fries – pan fried in some bacon grease. If I read this post before, I would have tried soaking them first. I cut them by hand and left the skins on, patted dry with towels, fried in the pan, flipped when browned – they came out crisp and delicious, and were only slightly bacon(y) tasting.

  63. I used to buy lard in these plastic pails from t he Mexican store before I learned how much it matters w here you buy your meat (and lard). It isn’t hydrogenated or anything but God knows where the pork comes from. Anyway, the plastic pails are t he best thing for storing fat because it is wide enough to pour in without spilling everywhere and wasting. My mother in law always renders lard and reuses it, so my husband taught me to warm it slightly before pouring to make it easier. Of course, not too much that you burn the plastic.

    1. I have a small soup bowl going on on the stove not on a burner) at all times. that way it’s usually always warm and we don’t have to worry about bpa’s.

  64. I saw where someone placed the potatoes into cool grease and then heated the whole shebang up together. They said it was fantastic tasting fries. Sorry I can’t remember where I saw that. Anyone ever tried that?

  65. Oh my, my, my, my!!!

    SO MANY GREAT ideas in this thread!!!!

    Thank you all who contruted!!!

    Cheeseslave, you’re going in my RSS reader!!!

  66. Great Info all over this site. Just found it.

    Harmonious1, I think you are referring to America’s Test Kitchen french fry recipe. They started with yukon gold potatoes in room temperature oil.

  67. I am SO making these as soon as I get some good potatoes from my csa and beef tallow! My husband usually makes them using olive oil but I bet using beef tallow is even better!
    I love your blog for all the info on healthy fats and how to use them! Love it!

  68. I rendered the tallow yesterday, but am hesitant to make a quantity of fries because…what if we want more?

    Seriously…is there a good way to re-heat em, or should I only have french fries when I make them, and leave well-enough alone?

  69. I have a bunch of tallow I rendered from my purchase of 1/4 cow. I asked for the fat and they gave it to me. I have used up about half of it so, I could afford to use up some of the rest of this tallow. Cool recipe.

    I didn’t know tallow was so good for you.

    1. I would be willing to send you some, coconutfreek, but the cost of shipping would be pretty bad.

  70. I’ve seen that comparison before, very disturbing indeed. I’ve been frying my fries in duck fat — oh my — YUM!

  71. Just rendered 2 quarts of tallow and have 2 more quarts in the crock pot. It’s a great feeling to use all of the cow.

  72. My first Job was at a Sonic. The owner used this method of cooking fries. We cooked them for 3 min. then placed them in a bin with lid till there was an order then we got out the 1/2 cooked fries and finished cooking them. The grease that went into the vats was LARD. They were the best and so crisp. I had forgotten about them. I will be trying these soon. Thanks.
    PS I just found your blog and I am in Love with it.

  73. What nutter told you that heart attacks and cancer were nonexistent a hundred years ago? Evidence of both has been found even in three thousand year old Egyptian mummies! Cancer and heart disease were rampant among the well-to-do in the 19th century due to their lifestyles of excess. We could all lead a dirt-farming, teetotaling lifestyle like our healthier ancestors, but then we’d only use fat very sparingly.

  74. I render lard and intend to render tallow soon. I see that people have a hard time getting the tallow out of the jar. I was thinking that if you run hot water on the outside of the jar or immerge it in a bowl with hot water that it would loosen it up so that it would plop right out.

  75. Hi Cheeslave,

    I am still using the tallow I mentioned in my post March 22, 2010 at 1:45 PM, although there is very little left! I keep topping my fryer up with sufficient to do fries, shrimps, fish, Scotch-eggs, scollops (sliced potatoes) not scallops! As long as the fat is not burnt, it will generally NOT take on the flavor of the food! I do not even bother filtering mine and I leave it in the fryer. So far, NONE has gone rancid or bad, never melted on the window-ledge and always solidified in a white (very slightly beigey) color. It tastes lovely!

    On another note: It would be pleasant to have respondents NOT start negative comments regarding the Middle ages, Thomas and also about heart attacks in Egypt, Tom, thousands of years ago! What was said was that the eating habits of about 100 years ago were far more healthy than they are today! Too many ‘oils’ used in cooking!

    The US and British governments also are NOT the bee-all and end-all of nutritional guides. More often than not, they are wrong and many people end up suffering because of these so-called accurate guides… phooey! History is a far better guide more often than not! As was stated in one of your readers posts, our grandparents were generally more healthy eating butter, beef, lamb and pork fats, cakes and scones, buns and what-have-you, but they generally ate in moderation and were far more active in their daily lives than we are today, as a western nation (US, Canada, UK, Australia & New Zealand), thus consuming the calories they ate at meal times. These mentioned are mainly from common stock.

    What we are nearly all agreed upon is that tallow is still, if not the first, then an incredibly close second in the ‘best of class’ cooking fats! That includes taste.

    I am a diabetic, and tallow is a GOOD fat for diabetics, potatoes are also OK and good to eat, (so are bacon and eggs!!) just don’t go overboard! 3 or 4 times a month is more than enough, even though I would LOVE to eat them more often. I vary my diet and try to stay on my still healthy streak! I am 67 years old now.

    Cheeseslave… keep the pressure on! Keep chewing the fat!!!!


  76. I can’t seam to find a good source for tallow or ghee not even through my CSA. Can you recommend somewhere?

    1. I know it’s late but if you haven’t found someplace, I ordered good tallow from US Wellness Meats.

  77. I went to Belgium & had the best fries and waffles ever, so when I got home, I started looking up recipes – at least for the waffles – and looked for any restaurants that made their fries by frying them twice. I stumbled across information about a place that made the fries with beef tallow. When the place moved locations, they actually transported their fat with them because that was the secret to making them taste so good. I can’t remember the place to save my life, and the details are a quite fuzzy, but it seems like from my reading, if you were able to clarify your fat from all *stuff* your fat would last a very long time – almost indefinitely? (I wish I would’ve eaten a ton more fries and waffles when I was in Belgium. And chocolate croissants too 🙂

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  79. Okay, so I’ve been really wanting to make these for a while, but when I asked my meat farmer (he does 100% grass-fed) about tallow he said that grass-fed cows are so lean that there isn’t enough tallow to make it worth it. So, why do I keep reading and hearing about people getting grass-fed tallow? I’m so confused. Somebody PLEASE help me figure this out. Are the cows raised on grass and then grain finished? Or does my farmer just have ultra lean breeds of cattle? He does some Angus and some Corriente. I’m dying to know and whoever can give me an answer I’ll be forever grateful to them. Thanks.

    1. We buy our grassfed beef by the quarter, and we get bags of trimmings along with the meat, bones, and organs. They are leaner, but there are certainly trimmings to be had.

    2. It is a long while ago that I worked on a dairy farm and a beef and sheep farm in Yorkshire, England during 1961-1963, then Aberdeen university doing Agriculture. I also won the North of England cattle-judging competition for the Young Farmers Clubs in 1962.

      Grass-fed is the mainstay of the feed, BUT, during the winter months, there was (and still IS) a deficiency of grass for winter feed. Farmers supplement their ‘grass feed’ with silage – a compressed and aged heap of grass with a liberal helping of molasses spread over each successive layer of compressed grass cuttings! I spent many-an-hour, using a tractor, driving backwards and forwards over the top of a silage stack (or heap) to compress it. Such a stack generates a great deal of heat and should rot to a certain extent, but cattle LOVE it! That and protein pellets provided the fattening ingredients, when added to a generous portion of rolled oats, and fish meal, which rounded out the year’s food supply.

      With this menu, cattle, both beef and dairy, ended up with generous weight gain, satisfaction and very steady high quality milk from cows, and a delicious flavour of the meat from the bullocks (castrated young bulls specially bred for meat animals.) Scottish beef still remains one of the top countries of quality beef, shipped world-wide.

      Why this long explanation? If an animal is incapable of providing a reasonable amount of fat, then do not buy the meat – it will lack in flavour. It is the fat that provides the rich flavours, not the lean muscle!

      I would recommend changing your beef supplier to one who has slightly fatter bovine and a better all round animal. Never mind hearing, “… lean beef is the best to buy! The best value, the best… etc!” Fatter animals give better flavour, are in better health and have a more relaxed and sedentary life, allowing better weight-gain! I.e. better beef and rendered beef fat or TALLOW!

      Happy eating!

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  81. very good recipe. I didn’t have enough tallow, so I threw some lard in there. I realized halfway through that I should have used russet potatoes like you said. I used the golden potatoes, can’t think of the name right now, and they kind of fell apart out of their perfect little julienne shape (used a mandoline).

  82. Your talking from an American perspective of terminologies, I am talking from a British Australian or New Zealand perspective and I still believe you to be Wrong in an American perspective, in saying you can cook chips or fries in Lard. Lard is a pasty substance that my mother used to use in baking you could substitute it for butter and it would lighten up cakes and buns.Rock buns were a favorite of mine cooked with lard and you would also use the lard to grease the cake pan.Chips would be as greasy as cooked in engine oil cooked in lard.Chips and all deep frying even whole potatoes were always cooked in Dripping, that may be what you call tallo in the USA. The chips turn a golden brown when cooked in this and as long as the fat is not overheated it can be used over and over again many times, when it cools contaminants sink to the bottom if you have removed the wire deep fryer basket you can knock out the solid cheese like block and cut off the contaminants with a knife. It will store indefinitely refrigerated just keep the dust off and the rats out While in America I pressed the button and inquired to the butcher at a supermarket about another beef fat my mother used to use for dumplings puddings and a Lancashire specialties Steak and kidney pudding and a boiled in cloth pudding called Spotted Dog or Dick and another variation rolled out spread with jam and scrolled up , known as rolly polly ,Suit was what I was after it is a special fat that encases the kidneys, he didn’t seem to know what I meant,even after I explained that it a special dense fat with fibers of membrane through it that is grated and used as a shortening., when I told him where to find it on the animal,he said. ofel we do not sell ofel yet when we dined at restaurants you could buy liver kidneys and what ever prepared as a meal. As a child in Melbourne the Greek and Italian immigrants set up in fish and chip shops and changed the cooking to oils from dripping,.afterwards maybe because of marketing dripping was to be frowned on as the unhealthy product A product called Chef Aid was the first transition then people moved to oils from there, you rarely see it these days and I agree with you chips cooked at the right temperature in dripping are heavenly.a golden crust just like a roasted potato, and when you think about it a roasts juices and fat are almost the same thing, .

  83. Another way to fry French Fries according to America’s test kitchen is to start with cold tallow, put the fries in when its cold and heat it up until the fries get brown and crispy. This eliminates the need to do a second frying. I tried it and it works great. The only problem is having a pan big enough to make as many fries as you really want.

  84. Hello,
    So we are talking about Fahrenheit is that right?
    Australians use Celsius:)

    We would like to purchase a deep fryer and wouldn’t mind your expertise on this. Would a 5.5ltr deep fryer be big enough for family of 5? I think a 10 ltr would be too big as getting the fat would also be a hassle.

    Many Thanks.

    1. Although a little late in responding, Anna…

      Dripping spread on bread is a very delicious (if you like it!!) way of consuming beef, pork or mutton fat. It was used extensively in UK during the war years.


      Dripping is NOT tallow! Dripping is the fat left over from roasting/frying the meat, whereas TALLOW is the hard WHITE fat that surrounds the Kidneys and Liver. That must be rendered to a liquid, then left to cool. When ready, it is hard, non-reactive to time, light or Human tolerant temperatures. It needs at least 100°C to properly melt.

      Food cooked in dripping would absorb more of the fat than TALLOW-cooked food!

  85. The deep fryer you linked to is only intended for liquid oils such as canola oil (blech). I know this because I bought it last year. I tried frying with a “solid” oil (tallow), and it was a disaster.

    1. Hi Tallow-cooked chip lovers…

      A deep fat fryer, Nancy, is absolutely OK to cook chips (American call ’em fries) in. I use an electric deep-fat fryer and have done for many years. Just make sure that you can reach 200°C! Tallow cooks at a higher temperature than all other oils! Grass-fed beef fat, particularly tallow, is the most flavorful of all the fats and oils and is the LEAST DANGEROUS TO HEALTH! It also is the hottest, therefore, cooking properly without burning the food (unless of course you FORGET you have a load!).

      The secret is slowly heating the tallow, until it has all melted, then, SLOWLY lay the fish, chips, scotch eggs, shrimps, sausages, or what have you into the fat.

      So, Nancy, do not worry! A deep-fat fryer IS safe to use with tallow!

  86. Thanks for the article, but a minor correction is in order:

    First, McDonald’s made the switch to processed vegetable oil in 1990, not 1983 as mentioned in your article. After the food fascists at the Center for Science in the Public Interest launched their misguided campaign to rid the American diet of natural saturated animal fats used for cooking, they held a series of public protests at various McDonald’s restaurant locations across the country.

    Thanks again for the article.


    1. James
      Just a very gentle correction, James, she didn’t say McDonald’s switched in 1983 she said in 1983 McDonald’s used Tallow!


    1. Hi Sandra,

      Relax!!! Tallow can be left almost ANYWHERE… the fryer, a window ledge, the fridge, freezer (though does NOT need either!), a cupboard, paper bag, left out without wrapping–ANYWHERE!

      As long as you do not burn the fat, it will last you your life time, as long as you add spoonfuls as the fat is very slowly diminished as you cook with it. There is probably less absorption by using tallow than with any other fat or oil!

      Good cooking!

  87. That’s exactly how my grandmother cooked her fries in Spain. I would visit her every Thursday. She used grass fed beef tallow from the butcher.
    I now cook that same recipe the way my grandma did, and my kids surely love it.

  88. you can continue to reuse fat until it starts to get dark or no longer strains clean. Never use the same fat for fish and other stuff, the fishy flavor will never leave it, so if you want to deep fry seafood and fish, have dedicated fat for just that purpose

    1. I have deep fried fish in beef lard and then did fries in it. Later I chanced it and deep fried fritters in the same oil. It all tasted great, even the fritters to my surprise.

  89. Oh my lard how much beef fat scraps would I need for 6-8 cups of tallow?? I have clearly never deep fried anything bc I kept thinking as I was reading the article (“clearly 6-8cups is a typo” Lollol). But seriously, how much fat *would* I need to render that much?? My little guy is addicted to fries (oh the joy of local grandmas!!) so your healthy version sounds perfect. Thanks!!

  90. I grew up eating pommes frites (French fries) fried only in tallow. We would get the fat from the butcher and render it. I never have enjoyed ff fried in oil. Once you have tasted the real once you’ll never eat oily fries again.

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  92. I keep my rendered beef fat in my deep fryer and have used it interchangeably with fish and potatoes and even Dutch fritters. I must have used the same oil about 6 times already and it still going strong. I am rendering new lard today for fresh olibolen (Dutch fritters) as I will be giving many away and want them to taste their best. But I'm keeping the used oil for when we deep fry our freshly caught perch in a few days and keep the new oil for several batches of fritters.

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