Sunday, August 9, 2015

Rendering Tallow

This is was an adventure in cooking for me.

Some time ago I was reading a blog where a woman had rendered suet to make soap.  I thought to myself.  What a lot of work to make soap.  I wouldn't do that.  How would I have the time to do that?  I wouldn't even know where to begin.  Well, apparently, this thought went out into space and came back as a challenge for me to make it.

Recently, we bought a half of a cow.  When I ordered my cuts of meat the butcher asked me if I wanted suet.  I said yes.  Before I had made some English pudding and we really liked it.  I thought, what the heck, I will make some of that pudding.  I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Oh, the things I would discover as a result.

First of all, most people don't use fat from the cow.  Sadly.  Since this cow gave its life for us, I think we should use all the things we can use and not let things go to waste.  That really is a shame.  I can tell you I will be saving fat from now on.  In this post at the blog, Humblebee and Me, I discovered that morsel of truth and I could not agree with her more.

This site, Cooks Info, I found out more about suet. What it is used for, storage and literature and lore.

I also found out that tallow is great for skin.  I will be experimenting with this idea myself.  You can read all about this one bloggers experience with tallow yourself at Mommypotamus.  I will say that after all my cleaning and such my hands were a lot more soft.

There are two ways of making tallow.  The dry method and the wet method (at Applegarth Farms blog).  I used the dry method. I found this site, The Prairie Homestead and basically followed everything she said.

Here is what I learned.  Go farther than you think because I think I could have rendered more fat than I did. You will see in the picture below where I strained it.  It really could have been more golden.

Clean up is the hardest part about this whole process.  I used a bench scraper for my counter top.  This helped me get rid of a lot of grease before attempting to wash it off.   Regular soap and water wont work very well.  You will have to do it over and over again.  You can use vinegar or any product that "cuts grease".


Cut down suet.  Tearing away the sheath around the fat as much as possible and cutting out meat chunks left behind.
Place processed suet in crockpot.  Set heat to low. The more you break it down before the crockpot step, the faster it will melt.
Once it is cooked down, strain the liquid from the solids.  I did not use cheesecloth.  This strainer worked just fine.
 Pour the liquid into a lined baking dish.

Let cool and then cut into bars.
Wrap and freeze for long term storage.  I am not sure when I will get to making soap with the tallow so I am setting it aside in the freezer for now. I may just end up using it for cooking.

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