How To Render Beef Tallow {a long-lost fat}

Beef Tallow For today's Happy Homesteading post we are going back in history to learn the long-lost skill of rendering beef tallow fat like many pioneers made & used. Beef tallow was used in cooking as it makes an amazing oil for frying or pastries. They would also use tallow fat for candle making, soap making, moisturizing, keeping cast iron pots from rusting and even for waterproofing leather.

What is Tallow?

"Tallow is the rendered fat of cows, sheep, and other ruminant animals such as deer. It is very solid and waxy at room temperature and can be kept for extended periods without the need for refrigeration. Rendering is the process of gently heating the interior fat tissue, called “suet,” causing the pure oils to melt away from the rest of the tissue." (Source)
Tallow is solid at room temperature, with a texture harder and more waxy than shortening. In fact tallow and lard are rendered the same way, but lard is pig fat slowly melted down and is softer like shortening.

Beef Tallow is a Healthy Fat

beef-tallow2 Tallow is the healthy fat that sadly got pushed off the shelves once vegetable oils came around. Before doing this homesteading series I had honestly never heard of tallow. And when I asked my friends and family about this I just got weird looks. Isn't it amazing how something that was basically a staple in homes a hundred or two years ago has seemingly been lost or forgotten? After researching I found that beef tallow is actually a very healthy fat full of vitamins and is actually better for you than some of the hydrogenated oils we buy at the stores.
"Tallow is an excellent source of niacin, vitamins B6, B12, K2, selenium, iron, phosphorus, potassium and riboflavin. Grass Fed beef tallow contains high ratio of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which is a cancer-resistant agent. Contrary to the popular conception, tallow is good for health as tallow fat is similar to the fat/muscles in the heart. Recent studies have shown that human beings need at least 50% of saturated fats like tallow and lard to keep the heart pumping hale and healthy. Tallow from pasture-raised cows also contains a small amount of Vitamin D, similar to lard. It is also a good source of K2 in its suet form." (Source)
 

Making Tallow

2013-04-03 15.22.01 First thing you need is some beef fat. I found a nice local butcher shop, called them up and asked if they had any beef fat. Lucky for me they did and it was only $.67 per lb too. For the nicest and healthiest tallow try to get beef fat from right around the kidneys and preferably from a grass-fed cow.  I didn't ask the butcher at the time I purchased it if this was a grass-fed cow or not, I think I was in shock that I actually found beef fat and that it was so inexpensive. But next time I will ask for sure. 2013-04-03 15.24.10 The beef fat I purchased was frozen, so I let it thaw enough that it was still hard but not frozen solid so I could use my food processor to grate it up. If you don't have a food processor just use a knife and cut the fat into as small of chunks as you can. If there are any pieces of meat you can cut out do it at this stage too. 2013-04-03 15.35.43 Here is all my beef fat put into my 5 qt. Dutch Oven I purchased. I think there is about 4 lbs of beef fat in there. I filled my pan to the top. 2013-04-03 16.24.16 With the heat on low I put the lid on the beef tallow fat and let it start slowly cooking. Here is how it looked after 1 hour. If you had only 1 lb of fat it would look a lot more melted at this stage, but since I have 4 lbs, it is slowly cooking from the bottom. 2013-04-03 17.28.46 Here it is again after 2 hours. A little more rendered. At this point I took a wooden spoon and mixed the beef tallow fat around a bit. Some people like to take a potato masher and squish it a bit too to help the process along. You don't want to cook this fast because if it burns it will ruin it all. Beef Tallow Now its been 4 hours and my house is REALLY starting to smell bad like well..FAT and STINKY OIL. YUCK. 2013-04-03-18.24.45 I opened up every window and turned on fans. I can't stress to you enough how horrible this smelled. At this stage I was just wanting this whole process to be over. I am not kidding. I spent most of the day upstairs just so I couldn't smell it as much. Then when I did have to go downstairs I actually gagged once from the smell. I am such a baby, aren't I... :) 2013-04-03-18.24.09 After about 6-7 hours it was all done. You can tell by all the little browned bits cooked till crispy. The Pioneers called these the cracklin's.  They are basically fried bits of meat and grisle.  They would sprinkle a little salt on the cracklins and once cool eat them up. I shuddered at the thought after smelling the fat cooking in the air. I actually lost my appetite with the smell in the air. How to make Beef Tallow Next is the time to drain all the liquid oil and strain out the cracklin's. You can use a fine mesh strainer, a paper towel, cheese cloth or what I used: a flour sack towel.  I lined the towel over a strainer, which sat over a large bowl. Draining Beef Tallow Then I poured all the hot oil in and strained it. Use oven mitts here, and remember to be safe. This is REALLY HOT oil and can burn you if you are not careful. 2013-04-03 23.08.192013-04-03 23.08.222013-04-03 23.08.392013-04-03 23.10.39 Look at all that lovely yellow liquid tallow left behind after the straining. 2013-04-03 23.12.57 It should be a nice yellow color. 2013-04-03 23.17.11 I poured mine into wide mouth glass jars for storage. Then I let it cool all night. tallow5 And it turned hard and waxy and white. Isn't it beautiful?? It was even more beautiful after I deep cleaned my whole kitchen, using vinegar to get the nasty smell out. ;) beef-tallow

Storing Tallow

Beef Tallow is wonderful because as long as you store it in an air-tight container to avoid oxidization it can be at room temperature for up to a year or longer. I have mine in my fridge as it will last even longer there. OR you can pour your tallow fat into ice cube trays and put the frozen cubes into a freezer bag to freeze.

Tallow Soap & Tallow Candles

As many of you might know I made my own homemade soap for the first time last month using a recipe of lye and a variety of store bought oils. I love the soap I made, but I wanted to make soap like the Pioneers and settlers did from long ago using beef tallow. I have heard that homemade tallow soap made from rendering beef tallow is the very best type of soap. It's strong, its hard and it suds nicely. And I would like to use my own tallow soap instead of using Fels Naptha in my Homemade Laundry Soap recipe as well. So check back, I will be making tallow soap from scratch very soon!  Plus  I think it might be neat to try to make Tallow candles as well.  So what do you think? Do you have questions? Think this is weird? Please leave a comment with your thoughts!
5.0 from 6 reviews
Beef Tallow
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • Beef Fat (preferably from a grass-fed cow and try to get the fat that is from right around the kidneys)
Instructions
  1. Use food processor to grate it up or if you don’t have a food processor just use a knife and cut the fat into as small of chunks as you can.
  2. If there are any pieces of meat you can cut out do it at this stage too.
  3. Put beef fat into 5 qt. Dutch Oven, fill pan to the top.
  4. With the heat on low put the lid on the beef tallow fat and let it start slowly cooking.
  5. After 2 hours take a wooden spoon and mix the beef tallow fat around a bit. Some use a potato masher and squish it a bit too to help the process along.
  6. Don’t cook this fast because if it burns it will ruin it all.
  7. Stir again at about 4 hours.
  8. After about 6-7 hours it will be done. You can tell by all the little browned bits cooked till crispy.
  9. Next drain all the liquid oil and strain out the cracklin’s. (Cracklins are basically fried bits of meat and gristle)
  10. Use a fine mesh strainer, a paper towel, cheese cloth or a flour sack towel and line the towel over a strainer, which should sit over a large bowl.
  11. Pour all the hot oil in and strain it. It should be a nice yellow color.
  12. Pour into airtight containers and allow to cool overnight.
  13. Store it in an air-tight container to avoid oxidization it can be at room temperature for up to a year or longer. You can store it in the fridge as it will last even longer there. OR you can pour your tallow fat into ice cube trays and put the frozen cubes into a freezer bag to freeze.

 88 Comments

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Comments

  1. Valerie Hutchison says:

    I think this is so cool. I have food storage and it’s just another thing to be prepared with. I might try it, just to see if I can. Very cool.

    Keep all your homesteading ideas coming

    • I love tha you did this. I think next time do it outside. Over a fire would be cool but why not just use a hot plate and let nature enjoy the stink . Lol
      I may just try this.

      • Absolutely. Next time it would have to be outside, but it might be hard to keep a fire or coals at a low temperature so you don’t burn it.

        • Try a large slow cooker outside. Another variation is with pork fat however that’s not as inexpensive as beef fat because pork fat is typically used in Mexican cooking and is much harder to find.

          The Mexican grocery store on 20th (the old Bingo City) sells pork fat as does Albertsons off of Court. Sometimes WinCo in Kennewick carries it but I’ve never seen it at WinCo in Richland. Not sure about Fiesta Foods, I’m sure they do sell it but I don’t shop there enough to know for sure.

          Pork fat smells so much better than beef fat but at the same it’s worse because your whole house will smell like bacon. LOL

          • Brilliant idea about the crockpot…love it! Oh and to respond about the pork fat smellin up your house like bacon….All I gotta say is mmmmm, baaaaacoooon. ;)

          • claudia howard says:

            I just found your site as I was looking for a DIY Dishwasher soap recipe. I have always wanted to do the tallow thing. I for one, would love to see/hear your results using a slowcooker.
            C. Howard

          • claudia howard says:

            Also wanted to mention, yes I would do it outside, but for me I would have to do it on the second floor balcony cause I live in bear country :)
            C. Howard

        • Ruth Daniels says:

          Try using a propane burner, like one on the side of a bar-b-que, or for a turkey fryer. You can set it for a constant, low heat.

          • I have made in in my kitchen and NO smell. YOu first have to remove those pesky peaces of meat and mucle. That’s what must be making it smell. You can cook it later in a small batch with the scraps of meat if you wish to save more fat.

        • When we render the tallow from our 100% grass fed beef, I have not noticed a terrible smell. We also render pork from pastured pig. I have never rendered commercial fat, so have no experience with how it smells.
          You might find a source of better fat would not have the same odor.

    • Thanks Valerie, trying new things has been fun for sure. And it does feel good knowing that I know how to do them if I need to. :)

    • Kathy Casey says:

      Before I did this for the first time, I had read about how bad it smelled. I have a gas grill with a burner, and I rendered the fat outside on the grill burner. Also, if you put the hot, strained fat into hot canning jars then immediately put on hot canning lids, the lids will seal and the fat will last even longer. So far, I have only used it for soap and I love it for that. I would seriously suggest finding a way to do it outside unless you live so close to other people you might get a complaint.

  2. Awesome! I’m excited to try making my own tallow as well, but right now I’ve got bad morning sickness so the smell just might do me in! Maybe in a few weeks I’ll give it a shot. :) Thanks for sharing!

    • Oooh..yeah. It’s a really bad smell..beware my pregnant friend.

    • Soaping nut says:

      The reason hers smelled so bad is there were still bits of meat, muscle and blood spots when she rendered it. If you remove as much of that as you can you’ll have a mild smell but not an over whelming stench like she got. When I render, it smells more like I’m heating oil in a deep fryer

  3. This brings to mind something my grandmother told me when I was a young housewife. I was trying to do it all from scratch and be Susie Homemaker. Since she had been a farmer’s wife for a long time (before they figured out there was more money in running a Dairy Queen) so I asked her advice. She said to me “Do you honestly think we would have done everything by hand if we had a choice?” So knowing full well I would have made a terrible pioneer, there are times when I look at some of this stuff and recall her advice. ;-)

    • So true, Mary! I do sometimes think I romanticize doing everything from scratch, but I think it’s because I want to have that knowledge. It feels sad to me that the knowledge of it all is slowly fading away, and if a natural disaster happened or another great depression I want to be a little more prepared. Hoping nothing ever does happen, but I want to know how to survive. It has been really fun trying these things out. I love a great new adventure.

      • The way things look it is better safe than sorry. Love your site.

      • Greg Self says:

        Love this, I am going to try regardless of the smell. Besides if you can get that much tallow or lard from a pig that cheap think about the money saved buying shortening.You also know what is in it.

      • I FELT THE SAME AS YOU KARRIE, MY KIDS ARE GROWN NOW AND I LIVE ALONE IN A APT. SOME OF MY HAPPIEST TIMES WERE WHEN MY BOYS WERE YOUNG AND WE LIVED IN THE MIDDLE OF NO WERE! I USED TO CALL IT THE LAND TIME FORGOT. I WANTED TO DO EVERY THING FROM SCRACH. AND I PREETY WELL DID . SPUN WOOL, GREW OUR OWN FOOD. I LOVE YOUR SITE IT BRINGS BACK SO MUCH FOR ME THANK YOU ! THERES SOMETHING ABOUT DOING IT ON YOUR OWN, ITS HONEST HOLESOME and memorable .GOD BLESS DEB

  4. FYI-you can even get suet from most grocery stores that have a butcher also! I get mine from winco. We use ours (and a lot of others do as well) to mix with our venison when we grind it up, since venison is very lean.

  5. I would like to know it just in case something very terrible were to happen (like decimating civilization as we know it) and for that I appreciate your post and effort. That being said, I would not make this part of my daily routine.

    • Yep, this won’t be part of my daily routine either. However after hearing the idea about the crockpot in the garage…that sounds like something I might be able to do. It would be better to have a HUGE amt of beef fat and do a big batch at once since it’s a lot of work and the stuff lasts a really long time.

  6. My sister has a jar of tallow she had it for twenty years when our kids were babies and had colds and mixed it with vicks works like a charm

  7. Alicia Penney-Harnum says:

    Hi!
    I have a butcher in my community who I may be able to get fat from and I also buy whole pigs from a farmer. I had tried to make tallow before, but didn’t have much success. Your blog has been the most instructive and detailed that I have read so far! I think I will use a slow cooker out in my garage and see how that works to avoid the smell in the house. I love that there are people like me who love keeping these valuable homesteading skills alive! Great job, keep it up and spread the word!!
    Alicia

  8. My mom and I were just talking about this today. My grandma made here own laundry soap with beef tallow, my mom said it really works well to take out stains. She said she did not remember how she did it. So I will be waiting to see how yours turns out. I just found your website last week, I found it funny that we have chicks about the same ages yours and are working on our coop too.

    • Crossing my fingers my beef tallow/lye soap will turn out! You have chickens too? Oh how I love mine, today we let ours out in the yard and they are getting too fast to catch! ;)

    • I would think that homemade laundry soap made with tallow (and other ingredients) would be great getting out greasy stains as the tallow soap would be able to bind to the fats in the stain and make it water soluble.

  9. I think it is awesome that you made your own tallow and I agree with you that it is sad that it has been lost and replaced with less healthy options. As for me, I was pretty proud of myself when I started making my own chicken broth this past winter and I think I’ll just stick with that for now. ;)

    • Oh cool! I have been making my chicken broth too..it’s so much thicker and better than the canned stuff. I might have to add that to my homesteading series, thanks for the idea.

  10. Some hydrogenated oils…? Don’t you mean all of them? I was under the impression that hydrogenated oils are the worst of the worst.

  11. Rachelle Benson says:

    I am so proud of you Karrie! Yesterday we had to butcher a couple of lambs for the freezer ( no judging from those who don’t eat lamb! You are missing out…) but I told hubby…. next time I am taking all the fat and rendering it out as well. I was just too tired! One can never have enough supplies on hand to be self sufficient when the time comes..
    Dutch oven cooking is fantastic… you can control how to heat it with coals ( not to be confused with briquets)… and I bet you could render that way too… (in case there is no power for the crock pot)… We use ours outside alot year round to cook in. The kids love it… and saves the kitchen from icky smells…
    Remind me to tell you about “Chelle’s Canning Camper” we put in the back yard for this canning season…

    • oh yeah, I LOVE dutch oven cooking. I really do, and have done a lot of dutch oven cooking camping. The only thing is that I would need to keep the coals on so low..it might be a bit harder, but yes I can do that. :)

      I am curious to how sheep tallow would smell – and wonder how hard it gets too? You will so have to let me know, that is so cool! And yes, I want to know more about your canning camper, I saw a picture of it, but I am not sure how it will work. :)

  12. You make me smile with this series and I am thinking about doing this…especially with the whole crockpot in the garage idea. I am wondering though, does that tallow smell like bacon when melted? Wonder if the candles will smell of bacon? Maybe for a father’s day gift because I have priced those bacon smelly candles and they are pretty spendy! Keep us posted! ;)

    • NO Heather, tallow does NOT smell like bacon. It smells like …I don’t know..nasty oil? LOL..I really don’t know how to explain the smell… Rendering pork fat might smell like bacon though.

    • Oh and I don’t think rendering pork will be as waxy and hard as tallow for candle making. It’s more like shortening, so it’s a bit softer than tallow.

  13. I have rendered my own tallow for soap making before. DH’s family are beef farmers. i asked for some beef fat from around he kidney (it is the cleanest/least meat). i received a whole large garbage bag full including the kidney! I rendered it outside on the side burner of our gas grill. Now I always look for a grill with a side burner. It does smell bad. I need to start making soap again. I have not made any for years.

    BTW, pork fat does not make tallow. Rendered pork fat is lard. Trust me, just buy it at the store already done. Tallow and lard are not interchangable in soap making. Tallow makes better soap (or everyone would just use lard).

  14. My Dad made beef tallow for the reasons you mentioned here but also for first aid applications. When you mix a small amount of tar medicine (not sure where to buy this today – I have a 20 plus year old jar) with the beef tallow it makes an incredibly strong drawing salve. It is super effective on bug bites and bee stings and even on my sisters ex husbands boil (yuck, both the boil and the ex). I do remember the horrible smell when he would cook the tallow.

  15. I think this is a good recipe that I will be trying soon. can you use this to make pastry dough?

  16. Melissa says:

    Pssst!
    over at Wellnessmama . com she has a lovely recipe for lotion bars. (easy too, like 4 ingredients.) Basically lotion in bar form, like soap. It calls for tallow. And is said that tallow is great for the skin because its fatty acids are so much like our own that our cells can easily absorb it. You might wanna check it out. ^.^ I wrote it down and will be trying it as soon as I can find some tallow. We’re swimming in lard in all the stores here but no tallow. I’m thinking of asking the butcher at one of the stores if they have scrap beef fat that they can sell (or give, even better ^.^)

  17. I just made some tallow and it kind of yellow and not very hard, it solid at room temperature, but really soft. It also has a very strong smell. Can you tell me what I did wrong. I been trying to look it up on the web, and can find much help. I want to use it for soap, but the smell is bad.. Can I fix my oil, if so how? Also can you tell me what I did wrong so I don’t do it next time? Hoping you can help thanks

    • Hi Margie, I have only made tallow once, so I am not an expert at this yet. But maybe you had a lot of meat still in your fat when you rendered it down? I think the more meat you have in with your fat you will get a beefier smell. Someone said also to try and melt it and add in some potatoes or something…that they will absorb the smell, but I haven’t tried that yet. Sorry yours didn’t turn out great, mine smells bad too but I think that’s just how it is.

    • just wondering, since i’ve only done it a handful of times (5)……..
      how did you filter the tallow??
      did you cook it long enough to render out all the moisture??
      did you overcook it??
      i have noticed that when we have fat from cooking hamburgers or beef, that it is still soft even after a day in the frig (plus, it still has the layer of drippings on the bottom of the bowl under the fat- the stuff that normally makes great gravy) but this is stuff that i have not cooked out the moisture (because we save it to use in dog treats that we make) where the tallow that i have rendered for soap and lotion making is hard (cut it with a knife hard for when i’m adding 1-2 tablespoons of tallow to the dog treats when we don’t have left over grease from food cooking)

  18. I love your site it is very informative and fun to hear about your experiences. I live on a ranch in Colorado and we raise our own cows, pigs, chickens…a little of everything and I have to say that homemade is best. When we make lard we use the burner from a turkey fryer, it works great. We also use a three burner (cabelas) for canning outside. Keep up the good work. :)

  19. I love your blog. I read it whenever I have a “free” moment ;)
    I am now going to add this to the forever long to do list. It will be before other things as I am going to make some soap with it as well. Its kind of ironic to make some fat soap to help get clean though? Especially with the laundry.

  20. Oh any idea if this can be done in a crock pot?

  21. I’m so impressed with you and your thirst for knowledge. I found your blog quite by devine accident and have thoroughly enjoyed reading the archives. I have to commend you on your willingness to personally respond to almost every comment. Thank you for your “breath of fresh air attitude ” towards life. I’ve bookmarked your site and look forward to keeping up with you. If you are ever in Virginia Beach look us up, I’d love to meet you! -Monica (Mom of five)

  22. Hi, have you tried to make soap and candles yet? :-)

  23. I use any rendered fat for soap and it all works great. I use rabbit fat-we raise our own meat rabbits-it looks and tastes just like lard from a pig. I also make lard, a local pig farmer (organic) gives us fat to render. I know that in pioneer days tallow was used for soap, lard for cooking but that was because tallow tastes yucky to a lot of people. Lard is still fabulous for soap! I personally like it best for shaving my legs as its a bit softer. The tallow soap is better for laundry.

    • Hi Amanda, Would u b willing to share your soap recipe that u use to shave with? We just had our hogs butchered and I kept the fat! I am so excited! Lol

  24. Dianne Andrews says:

    your fat looks like not-grass fed fat to me. Grass fed is very yellow. I’ve got some in my freezer I should really melt down one of these days!

  25. HI, I am in love with your website!! I find myself on it when I should be working!!! Lol. I was wondering if you have had a chance to make candles from tallow?

  26. I so enjoy reading your experiences with being a resourceful lady!
    I have rendered beef fat and also have used bot just fat and suet… the suet definately makes a nicer tallow.
    I make goats milk soap, milk from my own little goats that I milk by hand… no machines here.
    I do use beef tallow as well as lard in my soaps, definately a nicer feel to the soap than only using plant based oils, I personally do not like the feel of a castile type soap made from only olive oil and coconut oil… too slimey feeling.
    I was raised in a poor, self sustaining home and was taught that Waste not, Want not and every bit of everything raised or hunted was used and to this day, though I have more than what my parents did, I still follow that philosophy.
    Keep up the good work, you are a role model for those who want to learn the pioneer ways.

  27. I just happened upon your site today and can not stop reading. It so brings back memories of my childhood. I live on a small farm and once a year we butcher beef, hogs etc and so much goes to waste. Not this year I’m not sure when I became in my words so unmotivated. Maybe working 60 hours a week and trying to raise my children and keep the farm going I just got tired. Now that the children are all married and gone I find myself still working a 40 hour week, but trying to find things to fill my time. I have a huge garden and can most every thing I can from vegetables to soups to meats always looking for more things to do back to basics. Keep up the excellent work.

  28. Hi! I’m assuming the towel you used for filtering had to be thrown away? To simplify things I will use an old (but washed) t-shirt so I can use it as fire starter for the next campfire. I do the same thing when rendering beeswax—use rags and t-shirts so I’m not buying cheesecloth etc.

  29. I remember making bear tallow with my dad when I was a kid… glad I found you! Not only for the good ideas and advice, but for the memories! :)

  30. I thought rendering was supposed to be done outside. That’s how I did it. I used a Coleman gas camp stove. Worked fine. But I never did strain it. I added water equal to the amount of what was left after cooking several hrs., stirred it together good, and let it sit over night. The next day I was able to lift the slab of tallow off. Wouldn’t consider doing it indoors.

  31. We raised two “beef” this year and we kept all of the fat and it is in the freezer. I have always used it to make suet for the birdies. Hummm…this time I am going to make tallow and some soap and possibly some candles. Nice to read all the comments. Love your real approach to making things the “old” way. Absolutely love it. I do make the laundry soap…works great. The dishwasher soap doesn’t seem to get the dishes clean. I use vineager for the rinse. Any suggestions? I have always thought the rendering of the fat to be really stinky too. I plan on doing it outside this year. Just have to keep an eye on it.

  32. I just learned how to make lye from wood ashes, and I read that when using homemade lye, it’s vital to use beef tallow to make the soap harden. Without beef tallow the soap suds and cleans nicely but it stays soft and pliable, not very nice to see. I was so thrilled to find your step by step instructions, so I can also get away from using store purchased items to make my laundry detergents. Very cool demonstration. Thank you very much for taking the time to make this instructional!! I can’t wait to try it, and use real beef tallow in my cooking and in my soap making now. I wonder if using beef tallow in candles will produce a greasy aroma as the candle burns, but it’s nice to have a plan “B” if I ever need it. Thanks again!!

  33. great site, i have been reading up on tallows and such.
    saw on another site that to try to clean the tallow (and help with the smell) you need to ‘clean’ it.
    which involves putting the hardened tallow back into the pot with equal amount of water, filtering it and then letting it harden and repeating until the water and tallow come out clean.
    have not tried that yet but plan to with the 4 pounds of tallow i’ve rendered over the 5 sessions i’ve made tallow.
    i do cook my tallow in the kitchen but i have to start it early in the morning (normally done by 11 or 12 as it only takes me about 3 hours to cook it down) and i’ve quite gotten used to the smell. the dogs and i think it smells very nice, actually. nobody else in the family does though.lol.
    i filter through coffee filters over a wire strainer then use the cracklin’s in dog treats i make. the dog treats take longer to cut out then the cracklin’s or tallow do to make.hah. but the dogs love them and i know what went into them.
    cool site.
    let me know how your soap making went and i’ll let you know how mine goes.

  34. I wonder how long the tallow will last if you seal the jar hot to vacuum seal it?

  35. Please point out to your readers that it IS important where you get your fat [beef or pork] from if you are going to be using it for food, i.e. cooking. Every chemical [immunizations, medications/antibiotics, wormers. . .] leaves trace amounts in the fat of the animal [same is true for humans!], so you are getting a dose of everything that animal has been fed and treated with. With all natural raised, pastured animals, this should not be a problem. It is a problem [for me and possibly many of your readers] in confinement raised animals. I render lard and tallow from our animals only as I know what they have been treated with, basically nothing! DE for wormer is about it. Also, purchased lard from a store contains the preservative BHT which has been banned in many countries around the world as studies have proven it causes [among other things] brain hemorrhages in children. It should be avoided when ever possible. Thanks for a great site!! I so enjoy reading your articles and learning new things! Keep up the great work :)

  36. LOVE THIS!! Some day I plan to make tallow when it either become necessary or get the other myriad of things done I have already planned! Too many projects! One of the things I want to use it for is homemade facial moisturizer. I’ve heard it is better than any other oil or fat for your skin. Someday…….

    Thanks so much for sharing your journey! I find it very inspiring!

  37. Greetings Sister and Brother Homemakers!! For ALL those who state that rendering down Beef Fat is Smelly and can bring one to being “Sick” From the Smell….Let me be CLEAR as to EXACTLY what the smell, well, smells like. Have you ever fried up Plain Hamburger Meat, say, for a Casserole? Or Fried up simple Hamburger Patties for a Deluxe Gourmet Homemade Cheeseburger? Well then, you are in LUCK!! Because that Heavenly Aroma of that Juicy Hamburger is the EXACT Aroma that comes wafting from your Oven and or Crock Pot. How do I know? Well, its because for several Hours I have been CRAVING A CHEESEBURGER…LOL…We are in the Current Process as I Write this, of rendering down 20 Pounds of Beef Tallow ( The Fat around the Kidneys specifically). Its WONDERFUL…not icky or gross and does NOT make me want to Vomit!! Yes, I would TOTALLY encourage all of those wana be Tallow makers, to give it a try NOW…that’s right…Don’t wait till the weather is nice, don,t wait for it to stop raining, Don,t even wait for Daylight. Right now it 11:35 PM Here in North Dakota and ALL our windows are shut, and we are melting down what we call….CHEESEBURGER HEAVEN :-)
    Now, we are ALL not the same…so, if you say it stinks, well then, for YOU, it surely does. But for the GENERAL population who makes Homemade Cheeseburgers or Casseroles for their family, this is a smell that has MOST family members running to the kitchen yelling out “IS DINNER READY YET? ITS SMELLS SO GOOOOOOD” …Just saying….no that,s MY two cents worth of thought :-)

  38. lmloscar says:

    ok, we did this yesterday, but have some questions. #1 we did a whole cow’s worth of bones/fat. 80 to 100 lbs. #2 we don’t have a food processor so we cut it = larger pieces than would come out of a food proccessor. Most under 2″ square to start. Still have some large pieces under 1 inch sqauare left in the pot. We’re trying to reheat them because when I squish them more fat comes out. #3 hot liquid tallow was more amber than yellow #4 cooled lard is more tan than white. Do I need to recook the tallow to turn it white? I was afraid I was burning it but now I don’t know, maybe I didn’t cook them long enough. Any input would be appreciated. Thanks. Lynn

    • lmloscar says:

      Rereading that, I didn’t make it clear that we made beef broth with the bones. We didn’t include them in the beef tallow rendering process.

    • Hello Lynn- my tallow was amber at first, but cooled to a whiter color. You don’t need to recook it to turn it white. You might have had more meat in your stuff, that might have affected the color. You used bones in yours? I only used the fat when I rendered mine down. Does it taste good when you cook something with it?

      • No, we didn’t use bones in ours. We did two different processes at the same time. Separated the bones to make the broth with and used the fat to render for tallow. Maybe the meat particles did make it darker. It smells and tastes like bacon and isn’t completely solid on the top. I haven’t used any yet. We’ll see. Not neutral flavor as crisco. Not sure what I’m aiming for. Haven’t done it before.

  39. I accidentially unplugged my crock pot during rendering. Can I put it in a jar and refridgerate and rerender it tomorrow. It probably had another 3 hrs to go before I unplugged it

  40. onematchwoman says:

    I just tried this! I decided to make my tallow into emergency candles, based on your emergency candle recipe. The only thing I would strongly suggest is that you inform your readers that a plastic colander and bowl for the hot tallow will melt! We nearly had a major disaster, but thanks to my hubby’s quick thinking, all was spared. Use an all metal colander and bowl, because the tallow is incredibly hot! Now my kitchen is all clean, and I am excitedly waiting to see how my candles turn out! This was fun, even if my choice in using plastic was somewhat inadvisable! Thanks!

  41. Erin Ballard says:

    I did this in a crockpot in the house and was threatened by my entire family that if I was ever to do it again, I was out of the family! So now it’s in the garage in the crockpot! Stinks so BAD! But, the finished product is amazing! If you are old enough to remember why McDonald’s French fries tasted so good as a child(I’m 39) and now there just ok, it’s because back in the day, they use to fry in tallow! Amazing oil!

  42. I made tallow from suet in my kitchen as well for soap making. Me and my wife are both sensitive to smells (especially her) and neither of us noticed any foul smell. From my recollection, the smell if any was a light airy oil smell as if someone was cooking a roast or even making bacon. I did use a slow cooker though so maybe that made a difference. Or maybe we just have a different idea of what a bad smell is. In either case I don’t think it should smell bad unless possible the fat had previously spoiled, but from your pictures it looks fresh…

  43. Hi! I have to say I love this site! It is so nice to see there are people like me out there in the USA. I grew up in Arkansas and moved to California. People here cannot understand even the idea of growing herbs in the window. But I grew up understanding that these skills, although not always needed, are very important. People here think I am nuts because I make my own bread when I have a grocery store across the street from me.

    A friend came by not long ago and ate real butter I made for the first time. Even though she loved it, she didn’t even know butter could be made at home.

    I hope nobody round you thinks you are nuts! I have no clue where you live (just found your site last night) but in Southern California, it is a different world!

  44. Another way to obtain tallow that is basically free…when you fry ground beef, say you drippings…once you have enough, you can clean the tallow thru boiling with water and then separating after it cools…it smells a little but nothing like rendering from scratch, and it is utilizing a waste many ppl throw away

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