Beef tallow is made by rendering down the fat, ‘suet’, from a cow. I simply used the big package of fat that came with my 1/4 cow this past fall. If you haven’t started cooking with animal fat other than butter, why not start now? It’s an affordable way to get in some high quality fatty acids. Saturated fat plays a key role in our health. We need fats in order to utilize our fat soluble vitamins and our minerals. All our cells are lined with fat and our brain is largely fat, for healthy hormone function we need to consume good quality fat. Saturated fat breaks down into prostaglandins which we need for our bodies to inflame to heal. Now please realize we need to inflame and anti-inflame, it’s part of the healing process. The fat from grass fed cows should also be rich in omega 3 and 6, so it’s a really balanced fat to consume.
Tallow is very safe for cooking and frying. Tallow fats are 50-55% saturated, 40% monounsaturated and only 3% or less polyunsaturated. You can purchase from US Wellness Meats already rendered in 5 gallon buckets or smaller containers. You can also purchase beef suet through Tropical Traditions (see above photo). McDonald’s first fried their French fries in 93% beef tallow (along with 7% cottonseed oil) before changing over to vegetable oils with added chemical flavor enhancers in 1990.
How To Render Tallow
Simply take your pack of fat and chop it up. I actually used my kitchen scissors to cut it into bits and placed it right in the crockpot. Fat tends to render more quickly the smaller it is cut. If you want you can briefly freeze the pieces you cut up then run them through your food processor to make them ‘ground’. I didn’t bother because I was using my crockpot overnight and didn’t want them to cook too fast when I wasn’t watching. I also like my pieces a decent size so I can enjoy the cracklings later. I put the cut up fat in the crockpot, turned it on low and let it rip!
Fast forward 9 hours or overnight – Once fully rendered down and no fat remains you can take it off the heat and allow to cool a little. There will be rendered meat bits in the bottom of your crockpot, save those to enjoy eating, those are the cracklings. (One of the world’s tastiest treats that should most definitely be experienced at least once by every human being! See photo below) Pour into glass jars through a fine mesh strainer, you can line with cheesecloth if the holes are not very small. Voila, you have yourself some rendered tallow. (Go ahead and give yourself a pat on the back.)
What To Use Tallow For
Tallow is safe for heat and has a high smoke point. I can be used for quick frying, baking, sauteeing and much more. I use it to saute with mostly and make the occasional sweet potato chips when I am out of bacon fat or lard. It would be great when making anything with game meats since they are so lean. For example, venison sausages. Add some tallow if you can’t get good pork fat. Since there are many people who do not eat pork this would be a great option. I’ve used it to make Yorkshire puddings as well – delish!
It’s also great for the skin. Use it in your homemade skin care products or by itself on dry skin or eczema. I think it would go a long way to add some nice smelling essential oils. The fat should keep well if sealed properly for long term storage. You can just pour it in a jar when still hot and close the jar immediately. It should keep well for at least a year at room temperature. If you have a cold cellar you can roll a block of tallow in parchment paper and keep it for up to 6 months. If you are unsure about it not spoiling, store in the freezer. Adding a little pinch of good quality salt can help it from spoiling if there is any moisture in the jar. Since it’s a saturated fat it should remain stable without rancidifying. The only issue I can think of is if it isn’t sealed tightly or if something got into the fat other than the fat itself. So make sure your jars are clean and nothing else gets in when you bottle it up. I never make enough to store much at a time. I end up using up my rendered fat pretty quickly.
Do you render your own beef tallow at home? What do you use it for?
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