How To Render Animal Fat

Until the early 1900's rendered animal fats were used in many different ways. It was a staple cooking fat, but it was also used to polish boots, waterproof canvas, condition leather, season cast iron pans and to make candles, soap, skin creams and shaving soap. It also serves as a sustainable and frugal alternative to coconut oil if rendered from  pastured animals. 


Rendering, What is it?

"The rendering process simultaneously dries the material and separates the fat from the bone and protein. A rendering process yields a fat commodity (yellow grease, choice white grease, bleachable fancy tallow, etc.) and a protein meal (meat and bone meal, poultry byproduct meal, etc.)."

How To Render Animal Fat

Step 1: Prepare the Fat

Trim off any remaining meat as best as you can. Chop fat into small pieces or mince. This is easiest if fat is frozen, but is possible either way.

Step 2: Heat

You want to heat at a very low temperature, hot enough to boil off water but not too hot to burn proteins. Approximately 100 degrees celsius. This can be done in a slow cooker, a solar oven, in a cast iron skillet over low heat, or even in a pot over coals.

Heat until you have brown cracklings.

Step 3: Filter

Strain using a metal filter or cheese cloth to filter the particles and proteins from the fat.

And there you have it, clean rendered fat to do whatever you please with.


Its up to your preference on how you store it, but freezing in ice trays is a good way to have easy access!

Thanks to Milkwood Permaculture Blog and The Cooking Geek for some of these awesome tips and ideas.

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