Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Cooking and Frying with Tallow

Today I want to talk about rendering, cooking and frying with Beef/Lamb Tallow. Usually the fat that we get at our local butcher shop is a mix of beef and lamb. We do not eat pork in our home, so rendering lard or using pork products is definitely out of the question.

What are the benefits of using tallow?
  • Almost 50% monounsaturated fat
  • May have positive impact on reducing cancer growth
  • Grassfed beef fat has a high concentration of  “conjugated linoleic acid,” or CLA, which is good for cholesterol levels.  (See here for more.)
    Kitchen Stewardship
Tallow can stay at room temperature for a week or so, but refrigerate it if it will be around longer than that. If you are interested in even longer storage, it can be frozen. It should last quite a long time in the refrigerator and freezer. (several months to a year)
Use your tallow for frying... or in pastries and other recipes that call for shortening.
The Prairie Homestead
Reason 3: Using beef tallow will help make strong bones as there is a lot of vitamin D in this fat. (However, lard is probably the best source of vitamin D.)
Reason 4: Saturated fats like beef tallow provide an excellent form of energy for the human body to use.
Real Food Forager

...thanks to the work of people like Mark Sisson, Dr. Loren Cordain, Gary Taubes, Dr. Weston A. Price, Sally Fallon, Dr. Mary Enig,PhD, and many, many others for bringing to light the health benefits of consuming a diet with plenty of animal fats, and thus plenty of fat soluble vitamins A,D,E,K etc., we now have information that repeatedly shows that not only is naturally raised animal protein and fat healthy, but in most cases, essential to maintaining true health and longevity in humans.
 We get our Beef and Lamb tallow from our local Halal butcher for free. Yes, you read that correctly - FREE.

I have only used it one time to make pot pie (You know, like Stauffer's and such), and have otherwise used it when doing Raclette for a birthday party,  or when recipes call for some kind of fat or oil in the pan.

I'd been having trouble getting enough vitamin D and Niacin in my diet due to my Celiac, so this is a nice way to get not only healthy fats going - but increasing both of these essential vitamins.

When we get our fat from the butcher, I go over it t be sure there are no bones or gristle included - and place it in the fridge until I am ready to process it in our food processor. I have heard that if you wanted to, you could simply use an old meat grinder. Now that I have heard of that option, I probably will use it when the time comes to make more tallow. I seem to make it every other month since November.

If you're wondering about the meat grinder, you can get them at Amazon.com, and also probably from your local supermarket.

To your right, is the meat grinder that I have. I happened to find it at my local mom and pop store here in the village, and I've used it repeatedly to make my grandfather's sausage recipe, which I plan on sharing later on in the blog.

Once you've learned the logistics of putting together the grinder, it is actually fairly easy to operate and clean up. Just make sure that you do wash it immediately and do not allow it to sit in your kitchen sink, and especially do not soak it in water.

 Once your tallow is sufficiently cold enough, I follow a similar method as mentioned in the above three or four blogs. We do not add water to our tallow, but simply stir the fat around in a pot until it has melted completely and left only  "cracklings" behind. We do toss our crackings in the trash after we have  passed the oil through a strainer into the container it will be stored in.

Please, be sure that IF you do render your own tallow, that you use a heat safe glass that will NOT shatter, and you allow your fat to cool a bit before you do strain it into the glass. Otherwise, you could end up in the hospital in the burn unit for several weeks, like my father did when I was a baby and he poured left over fat out of a pan into a glass dish while my mother was recuperating from giving birth and having complications.  So, DO NOT DO THAT.   Let it cool until it's around 100°F and then you may pour it up in a heat safe dish or container. I prefer my Ikea Korken container for this, or a jam canning jar to keep in the fridge. They are rather inexpensive and heat safe. You could use a glass mason jar, I'm sure.

Some benefits that I have readily seen is that I am getting more nutrition in my diet since beginning to use more bone broth in my diet, and using tallow in my diet. My acne has cleared reasonably - and I've had acne since I was 12 years old. Since having my children, the acne had cleared considerably, but now I have almost no acne to speak of as my gut has begun healing.  I have more color in my face, though I've not made it outside much this summer, and I've had more energy to begin taking yoga classes.

As far as the GAPS diet goes, the only thing I know you could substitute for tallow in recipes would be coconut oil. So, if you are choosing to do a more GAPS-type diet as a vegetarian, this is one option.  We do use coconut oil when baking and when making our bone broth, so it's not something that is outside of the realm of possibilities of using if I were to run out of tallow. However, I do not forsee a time we will not be using tallow at this juncture. You will very likely see recipes in the future that will use tallow, so do keep this in mind.

I'm pretty sure our local butcher thinks we are insane asking for fat, but with us asking for bones, he must think we have dogs or something.  He can't quite figure us out, and I'm not sure if I'm ready to spill the beans just yet.

Friends of ours were at first a little surprised we were rendering our own tallow, but one of them remembered a recent nutrition class where they discussed healthy fats and how diets have changed in the last 100 years, and was rather open to the idea. After everyone had tried their meat prepared in a little tallow, everyone was game to try some.

With all the dietary changes we have been making, I've been very slow to share with everyone what is going on, as to some it can sound like we might have orthorexia. This is however, not the case at all.

Whole, Slow Foods are just one way of making that happen.  This includes healthy fats such as tallow and poultry schmaltz.

What changes have you been making to your diet to become more GAPS compliant?


  1. Hi Jennifer, I am new to GAPS and I'm trying to figure out how to do this without foods that are forbidden in the bible. I'm so confused about tallow. It is pretty clearly forbidden in the bible, but it's kosher??! Can you give me a little insight. I'd really like to get the nutrients without the guilt. thanks! Debbie S - California

  2. HI there, the only fats that are prohibited per Torah (and understood also in Rabbinic Judaism) are the fats around the organ meats.

    If you need resources for that, I have plenty.