Before starting the GAPS Diet, I thought I should render beef tallow. Healthy fats are an important part of the GAPS Diet and I wanted to have a variety to choose from. Now you can join in the fun with me and render your own tallow, too! (You are excited, right??)
I was having a hard time sourcing a trusted, local source of suet (beef fat) in order to render the tallow. While I prefer purchasing food locally, I decided to go ahead and order 5 pounds of suet from US Wellness Meats. They are a great online source for grassfed, pastured meats. I ordered the 5 pound block and it arrived quite quickly. You can also purchase tallow that is already rendered, but it is more expensive than doing it yourself.
You can render tallow either in the oven, on the stove, or in the crockpot. I opted for the crockpot. It’s so much nicer than heating up the house with the oven on during the summer and not having to keep a closer eye on it over the stove.
The day before I was ready to make the tallow, I defrosted the suet in the fridge. Then I cut off chunks of it and stuck it in the food processor to make smaller bits. I think it would be okay to skip this step, but it might take longer for it to render. Maybe next time I’ll try just heating it as is in a small batch to see. It was definitely a bit messy putting it through the food processor!
I put about half of the bag into the crock pot, put the lid on, and turned it on low. It took a couple of hours or so. You know it’s ready once the there is liquid on the bottom and browned bits on top.
I strained it through a collander and then realized some of the brown bits made it through. So I strained it again through flour sack cloth. Much better! I would recommend doing that in the first place if you give it a try.
Next I poured it into a jar to let it cool. As it cools, it will harden and turn white. I then repeated the whole process with the other half of suet. If I had a larger crockpot, I think I could have done all of it at once. Or if I chose to try it in the oven, I bet I could have finished the whole batch at once. As it was, it really worked fine in 2 batches and didn’t involve all that much hands-on time.
With 5 pounds of suet, I ended up with 2 full quart jars and about half of a pint jar of tallow. I’m guessing that will last me quite a while. I’m storing the jars in the fridge. Nothing like a few more jars in an already crowded fridge!
Currently I’ve been adding tallow to my well-cooked veggies. It adds a really nice taste and helps me feel quite satisfied. Right before I started GAPS, I also used it to fry French fries at home. Yum! Cheeseslave also just posted a recipe for poutine that looks amazing. It’s something I’m definitely looking forward to trying when I’m done with GAPS. In about two years…
Soon I’ll be posting on how to render lard. I’m very excited that I found a local source and should have 10 pounds this Saturday! (Some of my family members find it a little strange that I get so excited about finding animal fat. I really don’t see the problem!)
Have you ever rendered tallow? What method did you use? What ways do you find to use it in your kitchen?