Rendering tallow and lard at home are both done the same way. Get your slabs of beef fat (makes tallow) or pig fat (makes lard) from your local farmer, preferably grass fed, pastured animals that have not been treated in any way with hormones or antibiotics. The fat surrounding the kidney has less taste and is commonly used for pastry recipes. Cut the fat into small cubes, this is done easiest when it is partially frozen, not fully defrosted.
I cut mine up into small usable sections. Meaning instead of cutting and rendering the whole slab at once I cut about a dinner plate size and fill freezer bags so I can render only what I need at a time. Put a portion of the cut fat into a cast iron skillet and heat on medium heat to medium high heat.
When it’s done it’ll look like this. The fat particles left are called cracklings which are almost the most perfect snack treat on the planet (best eaten when still warm). The fat remaining in the skillet is rendered tallow or lard. You can do your whole package of fat at once in a crock pot and store it directly to a mason jar, straining out your cracklings. I prefer to do it in manageable portions in the skillet because we can only eat so many cracklings at once and this way we will get them over and over hot and perfect.
Lard and tallow is very stable at high heat and is good for cooking, baking or frying. Once the fat is rendered into lard or tallow it is considered a good fat if heated up once. After it has been heated once the molecular structure changes and it is no longer considered healthy (according to Sally Fallon Morrel in The Oiling of America, affiliate link).
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