In some circles, fat is seen as the enemy. Not in our home! Granted, certain fats like trans-fats and hydrogenated fats contained in many processed foods have been chemically altered from their natural state and pose a health risk. But current science is demonstrating that fats in their natural form, the way God created them, can be quite healthy. If fact, our minds need good fats to function optimally. Did you know that your brain is made up of 60% fat? Just think of what our great grand-parents ate on the farm, all kinds of animal fats from beef to pork to eggs. Unfortunately, saturated fats and cholesterol were demonized for decades because of the lipid hypothesis (dietary fat causes heart disease) touted by Dr. Ancel Keys in the 1940-50s.
If you want an in-depth study on fats and cholesterol, I highly recommend Sally Fallon’s video lecture below called The Oiling of America. She documents fascinating history, including Dr. Keys’ now infamous lipid theory, and how America transitioned from eating healthy animal fats to highly processed vegetable oils produced by the food manufacturing industry. She shares why our nation’s health is reaping the unintended consequences of the low-fat craze. It’s two hours long, but it’s well worth it if you have the time. I watched it over a couple days while cooking.
Now you know you can have your fat and eat it too…
let’s talk about how to render beef fat!
Tallow is the fat from the inner gut of a cow. I will show you step by step how-to cook tallow it in a crock pot to produce rendered fat for everyday cooking. When searching for quality tallow, buy 100% grass-fed and grass-finished beef directly from your local rancher and butcher. When ordering a 1/2 steer each year, we always ask for the tallow and organs in addition to the beef cuts. We store the beef and tallow in our garage freezer and use it throughout the year. Three Oregon sources are Tualatin Acres Farm in Hillsboro, Pine Mountain Ranch in Bend, and Oregon Grass Fed on the Southern Oregon coast in Langlois. Another option is to search for online buying clubs that offer good prices on grass-fed beef.
Start by choosing several large pieces of uncooked tallow.
After several hours, you will see the cubes begin to shrink and the tallow melting into rendered fat.
When the fat looks like it can’t melt down anymore (8-12 hours), you will be left will mostly yellow liquid and some hard grits in the crock pot. Use a ladle and scoop out the hot liquid into jars for cooling. Eat or throw out the grits.
You’ve done it! Now start cooking with your rendered beef fat. We love to use it for eggs and vegetables on the stove top and in the oven. It can also be used in baking beef, lamb, rice, and quinoa dishes. The uses are almost endless. Not only are you tasting the goodness of fat, but you can know that you are feeding your body with quality fat that it needs.
- Several large pieces of uncooked tallow from grass-fed beef.
- Cut the tallow into small one inch-sized cubes.
- Place all of the cut-up tallow into a slow cooker and turn on low. (Optional – place a small amount of water in the bottom of the pot.)
- After several hours, you will see the cubes begin to shrink and the tallow melting into rendered fat.
- When the fat looks like it can’t melt down anymore (12-15 hours), you will be left will mostly yellow liquid and some hard grits in the crock pot. Use a ladle and scoop out the hot liquid into jars for cooling. Eat or throw out the grits.
- When sufficiently cooled, put the lids on the jars and place in the refrigerator for storage. The liquid will turn into hard fat once again.
For more information and how-to photos, please visit my blog post at:
Enjoy experimenting with fat in your kitchen!