Rendering Lard and Tallow

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I didn't see a soapmaking category, so don't know if anyone is even interested in this, BUT, I have discovered an easy way to render beef and pork fat. I got big chunks from the butcher. Before, I would have ground them up, then rendered the ground up bits. Grinding was a pain, and didn't seem to really do a complete job (always a possibility that I wasn't doing it right, though). So this last time, I filled my big crock pot with frozen chunks of suet, added enough water to bring the level to within an inch of the top, set it on low and went to bed. In the morning, I fished out enough of the partly cooked lumps to fill the blender, and liquefied them. Poured the liquid back into the pot and repeated until all the lumps had been liquefied. Took about five minutes. Then I went to work. When I got home, I mashed the bits on the top against the side of the pot, whereupon they sank, and I went about clarifying in the usual way. The lard and tallow were beautiful, I got a good yield, and it was way easier than grinding it all up to start with!

-- Laura Jensen (lrjensen@seedlaw.com), June 13, 2001

Answers

An easier way is a better way!!! I for one am glad you shared your idea, Seems like this way would smell up the house less, did you notice any difference on that?

-- Thumper (slrldr@aol.com), June 13, 2001.

I don't mean to be dumb, but is that the same thing as suet that I buy at the grocery store for the birds?

Thanks for reading.

-- Dianne in Mass (dianne.bone@usa.net), June 13, 2001.


Yep Dianne, the suet is the same as tallow, you have to "render" it to be usable for soapmaking. I don't like using animal products so I purchase 50 pound buckets of coconut oil to make soap, makes the best lathering, mildest soap possible, even milder than olive oil soap!

-- Annie Miller in SE OH (annie@1st.net), June 13, 2001.

Where does one fine coconut oil?

-- Dianne in Mass (dianne.bone@usa.net), June 13, 2001.

Called "marbleised" fat, because of the clear white colour you can get, I guess. Boil it in water, everything (like juices or blood) which can dissolve in the water will do so, coming out of the fat. Pour the whole lot through a colander or strainer, stand aside to allow fat to set on top of water. Repeat if necessary. Can chill to set fat faster.

This is a good way to extract fat from meat that is too fatty to use otherwise, or from chicken skin, with the water ending up as a good usable stock. You can pick over the remains for meat to use in soup, or feed it to the dogs or poultry. Can also use this process to clean- up traditionally rendered fat. I would guess you could also use it to clean cooking oil, provided you chilled the result in a freezer to set the cleaned oil solid. I'd be careful not to get water in oil I was going to use for cooking, though - hot oil with water in it can spit dangerously, but it could be useful for other things (like soap).

-- Don Armstrong (darmst@yahoo.com.au), June 13, 2001.



Really nifty idea! Thanks for sharing it!

-- Gailann Schrader (gtschrader@aol.com), June 13, 2001.

Dianne no one answered your question about coconut oil, well I don't know much about it either except that the coconut tree is a tropical plant and I doubt they grow in Mass. ? I think it is produced by crushing fresh coconut 'meat' and fermentation.

-- john hill (john@cnd.co.nz), June 13, 2001.

Dianne,do a search for snowdrift farms in AZ> or CA>,I have their addy but it's stored.If you can't find it e-me.I buy cocoanut oil and butter from them.

-- teri (mrs_smurf2000@yahoo.ca), June 14, 2001.

Why don't you have the butcher grind the fat for you? I always grind it twice.

-- hendo (redgate@echoweb.net), June 14, 2001.

Is there any way to clarify and use the grease left over from browning hamburger meat? If you can do this can someone tell me how to store it until I accumulate enough to make soap. Also what percentage of tallow to lard should I use. I made soap back several years ago and it was made completely with lard. What would be the difference if it was blended? Thanks and God bless.

-- Amanda in Tx (mrsgunsmyth@hotmail.com), June 14, 2001.


Thumper, I think it may have been less smelly than the regular way, though I didnít pay special attention. When I did it the regular way, though, I had trouble with overcooking the lard (attention span difficulties :-) ) and it came out looking a bit scorched. This way, it came out beautifully!

Annie, I donít know if I just got lucky, but my animal-based soap is way milder than the other hand-made, vegetable based soaps I have used. It doesnít lather quite as richly (no borax), but the mildness and purity really make up for that, IMHO. Also, I try to get fat from locally grass-raised animals so I donít have to deal with the antibiotics and hormones in commercially raised animals. I also like the idea of using something that hasnít been chemically processed before I get my hands on it. Crisco, a popular vegetable ingredient, seems kind of yucky to me, what with the hydrogenation, additives and all.

Amanda, any lard soap tends to be a bit soft for my taste. I like 2/3 lard, 1/3 tallow. This makes a nice bar that lasts a while, yet isnít crispy hard. You can use leftover fats from cooking, but itís unlikely that you will get a superior fat because of the odors, salt, etc., that the fat will pick up while being cooked. There are ways to get the salt out, and most of the odors . . . still, if you are trying for facial quality soap, it would be best to start with the best fats and oils you can find. If youíre going for laundry soap and general-use cleanser, fat from leftovers, properly clarified, should do fine.

Hendo, I get the fat for free from the butcher. I asked if they would grind it, and how much it would cost, but they wouldnít do it at all. Something about messing up the grinder too much. It would be nice if they would, though, I agree.

-- Laura Jensen (lrjensen@nwlink.com), June 14, 2001.


Hiya: I have not made soap yet... looking forward to my first batch! Tallow, olive oil and oatmeal. I have rendered fat before tho! I like to feed the birds...

Right now I have 11 lbs of tallow boiling gently on the stove. My husband picked it up for me, Lovely big chunks of hard white fat. I chopped the mess into two inch chunks and ran them in the food processor, about a cup or so at a time, dropping the cubes in the chute gradually. Too many chunks at once and it formed itself into a grease ball around the blade stem. I cleaned the white coating of fat off the processer parts afterwards by swirling them in the boiling pot till it melted off. I held the parts with tongs, of course. Then the food processor bits went in the dishwasher.

The tallow has been on the stove for about six hours, and soon the stick blender will beat up any remaining chunks that are still floating. Easy.

-- A. Serpent (Mystress@fire-serpent.com), March 23, 2002.


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