Making Your Own Tallow (Rendered Beef Fat)
Tallow is rendered fat, usually from beef (fat rendered from pork is called lard). Rendering simply means you are melting the fat down. Tallow is a great addition to a paleo kitchen because it’s resistant to damage caused by heat, so it’s great for cooking a variety of paleo foods and recipes. Tallow is more heat-resistant than coconut oil, olive oil and lard, because it is high in saturated fat.
It’s possible to buy tallow, but it can be expensive, so it may be more economical and beneficial to make your own.
To begin, you’ll need raw fat, from a cow- preferably a grass-fed cow. It’s possible to call butchers at health food grocers to see if they have any on hand, or you could call local ranches. You can get fat from a regular butcher, but if you’re following a strictly paleo diet, you’ll need to ensure you’re not getting the fat from a grain-fed cow.
After obtaining the cow fat, the next step is to cut it up into pieces that are as small as possible, ensuring that you remove as much of the meat as possible. Once you’ve removed the bloody portions and the meat, you can place the fat in a food processor, to make sure the pieces are as small as they can be. By making sure your meat is in as small of pieces as possible, you’ll be ensuring that the meat cooks evenly. It’s also very important when rendering fat to make sure you remove all the bits of tissue because these parts will burn when cooked, and destroy the purity of the fat.
After cutting the meat, place it in a big pot. A thicker pot will probably work best for this, because it will allow for the most even distribution of the heat. Turn the heat on the lowest setting, and cover the pot. The fat can take several hours to melt fully, and during the cooking process you should stir it with a wooden spoon every thirty minutes, to make sure nothing is sticking to the pot.
After all of the fat has melted, place a metal strainer in a big glass bowl, and cover it with cheese cloth or a paper towel. When tallow cools, it generally has a solid, white appearance, similar to butter, but with hints of gray. You can use your homemade tallow to cook eggs, meats, stir-fries and other recipes. The tallow generally has a savory flavor, so keep that in mind when considering which recipes to use it with.