Friday, May 31, 2013

A Vegetarian's Adventure Making Tallow

Last weekend a friend brought me a huge bag of  beef fat to render into tallow.  I have never done this before with beef fat.  Actually beef fat is something I would normally avoid at all costs so I felt a little intimidated.  But this homesteading experience is changing me, I also felt intrigued and up for the challenge.  The fat was primarily from around the kidneys which means it did not have much meat attached.  Everything I read online about the rendering process says you must cut the fat into tiny pieces or put it through a grinder before you cook it down.  Well, I did not do either.  I just cut it all up into chunks, put it in a stock pot, poured in a little water, and set it on a burner on medium low.  I set up an electric burner outside my living space for this project as to not subject my non-beef eating family to the lingering unpleasant smell of cooking fat.  

I then went about my day, making sure to check on the project and stir occasionally, being conscious not to let it burn.  After several hours all the fat was melted and bits of cooked meat were floating on the top. 

It was then time to strain the hot tallow carefully through a cloth and pour into jars.  What I was left with was a clear benign liquid.  When I returned to the kitchen the next morning the tallow had cooled and turned pure white, looking very much like coconut oil.  

I was surprised at how satisfied I felt with the end product.  Perhaps it's just me, but I get happy when I find value in things that others would just throw away.  I really like the qualities of beef tallow and would describe it as a sort of animal shea butter.  For all the meat eaters out there, I have read that you can make the best of french fries with tallow.  Personally, I am more excited to use it as the main ingredient in my next batch of soap.  Or it might be interesting to use some in an herbal salve.  Definitely a fun experiment!


  1. I really enjoyed your post. I'm looking for several ways to make soap and body butter at home, keeping in mind only those cruelty free ones. Your post made it look so easy I'm going to give it a go on first possible occasion. Thanks!

  2. I can take a look at your website consistently for quite a few hottest posting.

  3. There was one time I got beef fat from my mother, but it is a little pity that I didn't make good use of it. If only I had seen your article before.