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Rendering tallow in a slow cooker

When we had our steer killed back in August, I asked the butcher to keep some of the fat for me, so that I could render it to tallow.  With the previous animal, I had attempted to render in a large pot over an open fire.  This is not how to render fat, I just made a big black sticky stinky mess.  So this time I put the fat in the freezer and did some research first.  This post was very helpful and I decided to use the slow cooker to render the fat.  We don't have a food processor that I could use to chop the fat, so I fed it through our mincer/juicer, which was very messy, and would have worked better if the fat was more frozen at the time.

preparing the fat is rather messy

I forgot to take a photo of it in the slow cooker, but you get the idea, a slow cooker full of minced fat, turned on low and left for several hours until all the fat had melted.  Pete then helped me to pour the melted fat through a sieve and into old homebrew cans.  From a nearly full 5L slow cooker, we got 1 and a half cans - over 1 kg of pure white tallow.

The hot tallow - it turns white again when solidified

We then cleaned up all the fat/tallow mess and managed to block the s-bend under the sink with a neat plug of tallow.... lots of detergent and hot water are recommended at this stage!

The tallow can be used for cooking, but I really wanted to try making soap with it..... more on that tomorrow.

Have you ever tried to render fat?


  1. oh gosh how interesting... must have been a real mess to clean up though. It is at that stage that I normally ask myself why I started on a particular adventure :)

  2. I rendered the fat from the last time we had a sheep killed. I just cut up the fat into chunks, put them into the big pot on the wood stove and let it melt slowly. Took a couple of hours but it worked. Then I poured the fat through a sieve lined with a fine piece of cloth (which removed any meat that I had missed) and let the lard set. It's now in the freezer waiting to be used in soap or candles. Can't decide which

  3. I am with Calidore on the rendering front. I like to put it in one of the slow ovens on Brunhilda (my 4 burner wood stove) to slowly leak out the fat. It works well for any kind of fat that I want rendered and I don't have a slow cooker so I guess I am stuck with Brunhilda ;). Great idea for making dripping/lard from solid animal fat and also for using it in making soaps and candles etc. I will be most interested to see how your soap goes :)

  4. We always did when I was a kid. With the pork I've ordered from local farmers, I've had the butcher render the lard for me. But it never occurred to me to ask for the fat from the beef. Whatever was I thinking?!

    Thanks for the info in this post...I will have to try this next time :)

    I would love to have you share your posts on The HomeAcre Hop on Thursdays!

  5. A local lady raising organic pigs is giving me some tallow. I will make two batches of soap and give her one of the batches as payment for the tallow. I'm excited about it, just waiting for the kids to go back to school so I can get the caustic out!

  6. yes I would absolutely use the wood stove for rendering in winter, but it was 35degC that day, so best to use the slow cooker instead! I had a comment on another post suggesting that I should put newspaper down on the bench next time, excellent idea, which I should have thought of myself, that would certainly help with the clean up. Its surprising how cheaply you can by lard and tallow, so its worth the effort if you can get it.

  7. It looks very messy mincing the fat. I sometimes cut it up into chunks, but more often than not it just goes into the pot in one big lump. I always add water to get it started, otherwise it can burn before it melts enough - especially if you are doing it on top of the stove like I do. If it sticks too much on the bottom it will colour the tallow/lard, but you can still use it for cooking.

    1. yeah, I did it again this week and just cut it into chunks, I don't know why I kept seeing blogs saying to mince or food-process it, that just added to the mess!

  8. I made tallow years ago from sheep fat on my wood stove. I was planning to use it like lard for puddings. The smell was unforgettable and hung around the house for days. The family were completely disgusted and made me promise never to do it again.

    1. that's a shame, the smell is quite strong, but the end product is so useful...


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