How To Render Animal Fat And Make Tallow Like A Pro
You might have heard about the plethora of uses for our bison tallow. Perhaps its most well known use is as a fantastic high heat cooking oil. This rendered fat has a high smoke point and gives a rich layer of flavor and added nutrients to anything it’s cooked with.
What a lot of people don’t know is that it’s also an incredible beauty product. This luscious substance is the closest thing to the oils are bodies naturally produce to keep our skin and hair hydrated. It’s seamlessly absorbed and incomparably effective at moisturizing.
Conveniently, we render tallow by hand in small batches whenever possible to sell by the jar. Rendering fat is the process by which impurities are removed to leave nothing but unadulterated tallow. This way there are no particles of meat or any other ingredients that would affect the longevity, high heat capabilities or other qualities of this valuable substance. Pure tallow is white in color, has minimal odor and a subtle but rich flavor.
Admittedly, It Can Be A Time Consuming Process
Many people prefer to simply purchase the tallow already made from us, and understandably so. The process of rendering fat can be time consuming (not to mention it makes your whole house smell like animal products for a day or so).
But if you’re curious about what exactly the process entails, or would love to try it yourself one day, here’s the steps that we follow to transform fat straight from the animal into smooth, creamy tallow. This method could be simplified for tallow to use mainly for cooking, but the extra steps in this process ensure an ultra pure tallow with the most minimal scent possible.
First, you want to make sure that the raw fat is ground or chopped up into small, manageable pieces. Unprocessed fat in its unaltered form straight from the butchers block will be in large sections. In order to melt the fat evenly, it needs to be in small chunks. There’s a couple of ways to go about this. The first is to have the fat ground up by a local butcher shop. Alternatively, you can finely chop up the fat yourself. This can be very time consuming if you are processing a large amount of fat.
Low And Slow Is The Key For Great Tallow
The next step is to select a large, thick bottomed pot to render the fat in. You could use a Crock Pot, a dutch oven or just a big pot with a thick, durable bottom. The size of the pot, of course, determines how much fat you can render at one time.
Place the fat chunks in the pot - you can pretty much fill to the top without worrying too much about running over the edge during cooking because it will be on low heat for the entirety of the rendering process. Add water to cover most of the fat - this will keep it from burning. Toss in a small handful of good quality salt - it will draw any impurities out of the tallow.
Throughout the rendering process, stir the fat occasionally to encourage the larger chunks of fat to melt evenly. You’ll begin to notice the pure tallow rising to the surface and the gristly bits sinking to the bottom. The length of time for this process to complete will depend on the size of the pot, the size of the chunks of fat, and other situational factors so you’ll need to keep an eye on the pot to keep track of the progress. When you can tell all of the fat is melted, it’s time to strain.
It’s easiest to strain the tallow into a large bowl that will be easy to pop it out of once cooled and solidified. This is important for making the next step in the purification process as easy as possible. Use a metal strainer lined with a clean cheesecloth and then ladle the liquid tallow in, being careful not to work too quickly as it will take some time for the liquid to seep through the fine layers. As you get closer to the bottom of the pot, there will be larger amounts of gristly chunks that will have to be emptied from the strainer as you work.
Also Read: Bison Tallow: The Impressive Health Benefits
A Second Round Ensures The Best Quality
When the tallow is completely cooled and solid, pop it out of the bowl and flip it over. On the bottom you will see a brownish coating which is where the salt has drawn the impurities out of tallow. Use a large knife to scrape off the brown coating and reveal the purified, light colored tallow underneath.
Clean the pot that you used to initially render the tallow. Then, slice the tallow into quarters to place back into the pot and melt once more. Again, add water and salt to the pot before turning on low heat. Bring to a simmer and leave it for around an hour.
After heating for the second time, the tallow is ready to be strained into whatever containers you want to keep it in. Mason jars are always a solid choice. Follow the same steps as before to strain the tallow, using a fresh clean cheesecloth and metal strainer. Once the tallow cools for the second time, it’s ready to be used for cooking, moisturizing skin and hair, or used as an ingredient for beauty products.