Fun with Rendering Beef Tallow

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??)

5 lb bag of suet

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.

Ground up suet

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.

It’s done!

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.

Completed tallow

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?

This post is part of Pennywise Platter ThursdayFight Back Friday, and Monday Mania, Small Footprint Friday.


  1. Dave, RN says:

    I have rendred tallow and used the same recipe you did. I bought grassfed suet locally (11lbs) for just $2 a lb. It was a lot of work but I ended up with a couple of gallns of tallow! I poured itinto a food safe bucket, let it cool and harden and put the lid on and stored it in the freezer. Whenever I need some I just tak ea knife and break a chuck off and keep by the stove…

  2. Mindy says:

    How great that you were able to do so much. That’s a really great price. I’m getting a freezer later this week and hoping now that I’ll have a little more space, I can order a larger amount of local beef and also get some suet with it. I love the idea of the large bucket of it!

  3. Justina says:

    So is tallow a healthier fat to use than others (like oils), or is it just that you’re limited in your fat sources when on GAPS?

  4. Mindy says:

    A bit of both, actually. Tallow is better for high-heat cooking than vegetable oils, such as olive oil which can be denatured by the high heat. Also, in the first few stages of GAPS you can only use animal fats. On stage 4, you get to add in olive oil, but not cooked. I’ll be doing a post in the near future about the health benefits of some of these animal fats.

  5. Laura says:

    Thanks for the sharing your experience! I prob wouldn’t have thought of the crockpot, and I know that will make a big dif!

  6. Jill says:

    Newbie here…I just looked up what a flour sack cloth was and I think I have a general idea. How do you clean yours once you use them for a purpose such as this? Also, where do you get yours? Thanks! Your site has so many great ideas!!!!

    • Mindy says:

      Hi Jill!

      I typically wash them in the sink and then rinse them with white vinegar. Once they’ve been used for straining tallow they definitely end up stained and so I try to keep one or two just for that or making lard.

      I’ve been starting to throw some of them in the washer, too, but I haven’t yet after making tallow, which is rather messy. I’d recommend at least doing a thorough rinsing before washing with other items.

      I purchased my flour sack cloths at a small, local hardware/home shop here in Boulder. I was at Target today and took a quick glance, and they have them too. In the store near me, they were with the dish cloths.

      Good luck with making your tallow. It really is quite easy!


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