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How to Render Your Own Animal Fat

 
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My husband and I have been purchasing meat in bulk directly from farmers for years. During our Whole 30 diet phase, we realized we could render our own fat as well. He walks you through the process in this blog post; all you need is the fat, a good knife, and a crockpot.

https://www.catintheflock.com/2019/07/how-to-render-fat.html

Anyone doing this with animals they're raising themselves? I'm always fascinated by stories from bygone eras in which people used "every last bit" of an animal.
 
pollinator
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I've rendered the schmaltz from my meat chickens before. It worked really well, and they produced a LOT of fat, more than I thought possible for that size bird. Unfortunately when I cooked with it, I discovered that it doesn't agree with me very well. That was a surprise, because I can eat the meat just fine, and I've never had a problem with other kinds of fat. But, for most people it would have been fine, and it was an easy way to get cooking fat from a small backyard flock.
 
Lisa Brunette
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Ellendra,

I'm so sorry to hear of your negative reaction. It's frustrating when something that seems to work perfectly fine for others doesn't work for you at all. My husband and I both had that experience recently when consuming daylilies. Also, I didn't realize chickens could be such a good source of fat. Thanks for sharing!

Ellendra Nauriel wrote:I've rendered the schmaltz from my meat chickens before. It worked really well, and they produced a LOT of fat, more than I thought possible for that size bird. Unfortunately when I cooked with it, I discovered that it doesn't agree with me very well. That was a surprise, because I can eat the meat just fine, and I've never had a problem with other kinds of fat. But, for most people it would have been fine, and it was an easy way to get cooking fat from a small backyard flock.

 
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Interesting. I've never used a slow cooker to render, it makes sense.  I have always used a larder pot on low heat.
 
Lisa Brunette
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Thanks, John! What's a "larder pot"? And how do you like homesteading in So IL? We are just over the river in St. Louis but have family in Shiloh.

John F Dean wrote:Interesting. I've never used a slow cooker to render, it makes sense.  I have always used a larder pot on low heat.

 
John F Dean
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A "larder pot" is when ones computer decides that "larger pot" is the incorrect spelling.

But, if you wish to purchase a larder pot, please send $100.00 plus shipping and handling to me.  Do not delay. Supplies are limited.  If you order in the next 24 hours, you can have 2 larder pots for the price of one.  Just pay the additional shipping and handling.
 
John F Dean
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Homesteading wise, it is heaven compared to northern Minnesota.   I will gladly trade 53 below zero for the heat and humidity.
 
pollinator
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We did both the slow cooker and the cast iron pot. The cast iron pot was better.
 
pollinator
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Ellendra Nauriel wrote:I've rendered the schmaltz from my meat chickens before. It worked really well, and they produced a LOT of fat, more than I thought possible for that size bird. Unfortunately when I cooked with it, I discovered that it doesn't agree with me very well. That was a surprise, because I can eat the meat just fine, and I've never had a problem with other kinds of fat. But, for most people it would have been fine, and it was an easy way to get cooking fat from a small backyard flock.



Chicken fat absolutely disgusts me, so I have never dreamed of rendering it. One thing the article doesn't mention is cleaning the fat, probably because beef isn't normally strong enough to need it. Simply take a large pot of water, put the rendered fat in it, and boil it. The roiling of the water causes it to disolve the nasty salts and whatnot in the fat. Let the fat solidify into a cake (may require cold), and remove. You would be surprised at how disgusting the water can become afterwards. You may even want to repeat the process if the fat needs it. This step is important not just to make it palatable, but it also helps prevent it from going rancid over time, and also to prevent it from being corrosive to metals if used on them.

It also makes a difference where the fat comes from on the animal. The caul fat, or most fat inside the body cavity around the kidney area can be good enough to use straight most of the time (on deer), but the fat under the skin is utterly disgusting, as in "don't render it in the house" disgusting. The lower legs contain the neatsfoot type oils, which do not solidify at cold temperatures. So you might try cleaning the chicken fat if you have a good supply of it. It may make it good enough to use.
 
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Yea i have begun butchering pigs in the fall. Usually at our fall fair we have a pig who is cooker in a smoker. There is always to much left overs especially the fat. So i bring it home and render it up. Now smoked LARD :) Yummy.

I also occasionally have goat fat to render..
In terms of eating i prefer the pork fat compared to the goat fat.

I have started to render the lard/tallow in a crock pot as when i have done it in the cast iron, it usually becomes discoloured. Somewhat brown when i do it in the cast iron. The cast iron also requires either the wood stove or the propane oven. The crock pot can be done with electricity which i like.  It also uses like 200 watts of power which isn't a lot compared to trying to cook it on the induction cooker.The induction cooker also does not have a low/simmer setting.

The goat fat this year made about 45 3.5"x3.5"x1" bars of soap.

I am now going to start rendering the sheep fat i get. It will turn into soap as well. Normally i would feed it to the chickens who picked thru it. The sheep i am talking about are feral on our island and they are messing with the undergrowth of  the forests immensely. So they turn into cat meat for me:) and soon soap!

Heres to rendering fat!



 
Lisa Brunette
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LOL, that's great!

John F Dean wrote:A "larder pot" is when ones computer decides that "larger pot" is the incorrect spelling.

But, if you wish to purchase a larder pot, please send $100.00 plus shipping and handling to me.  Do not delay. Supplies are limited.  If you order in the next 24 hours, you can have 2 larder pots for the price of one.  Just pay the additional shipping and handling.

 
Lisa Brunette
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That's awesome, Jordan! The crockpot works great for us for the same reasons you cite. We haven't tried making our own soap, but maybe we should put that on the list.

jordan barton wrote:Yea i have begun butchering pigs in the fall. Usually at our fall fair we have a pig who is cooker in a smoker. There is always to much left overs especially the fat. So i bring it home and render it up. Now smoked LARD :) Yummy.

I also occasionally have goat fat to render..
In terms of eating i prefer the pork fat compared to the goat fat.

I have started to render the lard/tallow in a crock pot as when i have done it in the cast iron, it usually becomes discoloured. Somewhat brown when i do it in the cast iron. The cast iron also requires either the wood stove or the propane oven. The crock pot can be done with electricity which i like.  It also uses like 200 watts of power which isn't a lot compared to trying to cook it on the induction cooker.The induction cooker also does not have a low/simmer setting.

The goat fat this year made about 45 3.5"x3.5"x1" bars of soap.

I am now going to start rendering the sheep fat i get. It will turn into soap as well. Normally i would feed it to the chickens who picked thru it. The sheep i am talking about are feral on our island and they are messing with the undergrowth of  the forests immensely. So they turn into cat meat for me:) and soon soap!

Heres to rendering fat!



 
Lisa Brunette
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Jordan, thanks for the knowledge bomb. We haven't had to clean the fat and haven't had any problems with it being dirty, unpalatable, or going rancid, but we've only used grassfed beef fat and not any other animals.


Chicken fat absolutely disgusts me, so I have never dreamed of rendering it. One thing the article doesn't mention is cleaning the fat, probably because beef isn't normally strong enough to need it. Simply take a large pot of water, put the rendered fat in it, and boil it. The roiling of the water causes it to disolve the nasty salts and whatnot in the fat. Let the fat solidify into a cake (may require cold), and remove. You would be surprised at how disgusting the water can become afterwards. You may even want to repeat the process if the fat needs it. This step is important not just to make it palatable, but it also helps prevent it from going rancid over time, and also to prevent it from being corrosive to metals if used on them.

It also makes a difference where the fat comes from on the animal. The caul fat, or most fat inside the body cavity around the kidney area can be good enough to use straight most of the time (on deer), but the fat under the skin is utterly disgusting, as in "don't render it in the house" disgusting. The lower legs contain the neatsfoot type oils, which do not solidify at cold temperatures. So you might try cleaning the chicken fat if you have a good supply of it. It may make it good enough to use.

 
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We've rendered the lard off of our home grown hogs for years.  We run it through the grinder before rendering.  Makes for a quick and complete process!
 
elle sagenev
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Gray Henon wrote:We've rendered the lard off of our home grown hogs for years.  We run it through the grinder before rendering.  Makes for a quick and complete process!



Now that is something I wish I'd known before. I'll have to try it next time!
 
Lisa Brunette
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Good idea! We're dicing the fat with a knife before adding to the crockpot, as we don't own a grinder, but maybe it's time to invest in one.

Gray Henon wrote:We've rendered the lard off of our home grown hogs for years.  We run it through the grinder before rendering.  Makes for a quick and complete process!

 
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