Thursday, December 6, 2012
I decided to render beef fat in the oven this time. When doing a large quantity last time, we cooked it in a large cast iron pot over a fire.
I cut the fat into small pieces instead of grinding it and was careful to keep any meat scraps out. After putting it in a roasting pan, the fat was heated at 225 degrees in the oven and stirred around ever so often. When it looked like all of the fat had cooked out it was strained through a piece of muslin into a jar. Be careful to allow enough length in the cloth to be able to pick up the edges and squeeze all of the fat out without any bits spilling over into your jar. There is a lot of fat in the cracklin's! Get every drop you can out of there.
I originally planned to make soap with the tallow but used another soap recipe instead. After my neighbor said that she had heard McDonald's used to use tallow to fry their french fries years ago I thought I'd give it a try. Yep. You guessed it! Back to the potatoes.
I was a little skeptical because beef fat doesn't taste that good, but wanted to find out if it would be another use for something that you could produce on your own farm. I'm always up for that! I cut the potato into fries while a little tallow was heating in a saucepan and readied myself for the taste test. They were good! One more thing that you wouldn't have to buy.
Not only is tallow good for cooking and soapmaking, but you can use it for candles. I prefer beeswax for candles because it doesn't smoke and it smells great, but tallow is something you could use if need be. The easiest way would be a fat lamp.
And whereas, I might have used the cracklin's in cornbread or something if they were pork, because they were beef we fed them to some of the animals. And, oh, were those animals HAPPY!