A bit of a long title, I know, but it's vital to render only pasture-grazed fat. The reason for eating pasture-grazed is exponentially increased when talking fats. Why? Because toxins love setting up camp in fats. So, of course, since pasture-grazing does such a great job at two things - not adding toxins and flushing out toxins that are there in the first place - it is the only way to go when rendering.
If new to traditional fooding, you may be repulsed at the idea of rendering and consuming animal fats at all. Go to the index tab above to learn more about fats. Mary Enig and Sally Fallon are two wonderful resources. The Weston A. Price Foundation (link below), offers a host of documented scientific and medical research/articles about truly healthy fats.
Rendering fat at home saves money. Purchasing good, pasture-grazed fat from the farmer is far less than buying the rendered product. Of course, I have to mention the health and nutrient-density of using these fats for cooking instead of conventional shortening or particularly, canola oil.
By the way, traditional lard and tallow have higher burning points than conventional oils. And there is nothing quite like an old-fashioned french-fry fried in tallow for taste! (Do you know about fermenting fries? Wow, they're wonderful!)
Okay, let's get started. Here, I am using beef fat to create tallow. Pork fat may be rendered the same way to create lard. I store mine in our spare apartment-size fridge, (purchased at a local thrift store for about $25.), not because anyone told me I must, but because I feel better about it...It is, after all, animal fat without any kind of preservative added.
We had a large batch of fat from our farmer's pasture-grazed beef. It had been packaged just like any other cut of meat, only in this case, the package was huge! Here, we had cut the fat into manageable pieces, making it easy to fit into a large pot on the stove. The heat is set to '2' or '3'...the dial goes to '10'. Like so much in traditional cooking, rendering is not fast like the hare, but slow and steady like the tortoise.
Keep the heat low and stir from time to time to be sure all the fat is being heated.
I use my plastic strainer over a funnel inserted into a clean mason jar for the first strain. This gets the largest pieces out.
Once the tallow cools, I mark it and store in a cool place as explained earlier. It's a good idea to also date your tallow, especially if you think you'll be making more before your batch is gone. Like butter, when tallow is kept in a cool place, it will be harder than conventional shortening so you will want to take it from cool storage well before using so it can have time to soften.
Contrary to popular belief, tallow is not only good for feeding birds homemade treats at Christmas. Grass-fed rendered fats intensify flavor while aiding the body to assimilate nutrients. They help fulfill the body's need for real nutrition, satiating the appetite. If we listen when our body tells us it's had enough, we find it's had enough faster with truly good, God-made fats than with conventional, man-adulterated fats. That satisfied feeling sticks around longer, too, eliminating the need for a lot of in-between snacking. All in all, it's a good deal made even better when the rendering is done at home.