How-To-Tuesday: Making Tallow

I’ve decided to write some how-to posts, covering a variety of topics from the best way to complete simple kitchen tasks to making homemade versions of things you often buy at the grocery store. I’ll post these on Tuesdays, although not necessarily every Tuesday – just as I think of them. (And remember to take photos!) Today’s post shows you how to render tallow from beef suet. Tallow has a high smoke point so it’s good for frying, and I love using it when roasting vegetables, especially potatoes. It also makes the most delicious refried beans! I learned how to do this from The Prairie Homestead.

How To Render Tallow

Begin with 2-3lbs. beef suet, either fresh or frozen. Suet is the fat from around the kidneys, and is the best quality beef fat for cooking. You may need to visit a butcher shop to find it. My grocer sells the suet pre-ground; if yours comes in big pieces then you’ll want to chop it into smallish chunks, either by hand or in a food processor. The suet will have some meaty bits in it, so you’ll need to cook it a bit to get them out. Place all the suet in a slow-cooker and set on low heat.

Rendering tallow in a slow-cooker is easy.

Let the suet cook for 2-3 hours, until all the fat has melted and the meaty bits have crisped and are floating on the top.

Heat until fat is melted and meaty bits have crisped.

Pour the melted fat through a fine mesh stainless steel strainer, into an 8×8 pan. The meaty bits should be discarded. (Or maybe fed to a happy dog.)

Strain out the crispy bits.

You now have clear, pure tallow in your 8×8 pan.

Pure, melted tallow.

Let the tallow sit until very firm. This will take another 2-3 hours.

Let sit until very firm.

Tallow is pretty hard at room temperature. Tip the pan over to unmold it and then slice into sticks. Store the sticks of tallow in a zip-top bag in your freezer. (I had refrigerated mine before slicing, which made it kind of brittle so I ended up with some little shards in the picture below.)

Slice into sticks and store in freezer.

Use the tallow for roasting, frying, or any pan-cooking over high heat. It will give your food a wonderful flavor. I have found that it is too firm for baked goods and will make them crumbly.

Enjoy! 🙂


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