Rendering your own tallow can seem crazy intimidating at first, I think I had beef suet sitting in my freezer for over a year before I got up the courage to try my hand at rendering it down into tallow. Once I finally found the courage (and ambition, let’s be honest) I couldn’t believe how easy and simple it was.
But first, what is tallow? Tallow is simply any animal fat that has been heated to render it. To render fat, all you have to do is chop up the fat and add heat. Fat before it has been rendered is called suet.
The hardest thing about rendering tallow is figuring out how much to thaw the frozen suet before you cut it up. Not thawed enough and you won’t be able to cut it up, too thawed and you’ll have a greasy mess on your hands. Usually less than an hour will let it warm enough to chop fairly easily.
Chop the suet into less than 1” pieces, keeping in mind that the finer you chop it the faster it will render down. Place the pieces of suet in an oven safe dish in roughly a single layer. I use two 13”x9” glass pans.
Set the oven to 275F and let the suet cook about 45 minutes. Once the fat begins to liquify check on it every 15 minutes and pour off any melted fat. Filter the rendered tallow to remove any impurities. I use a metal sieve lined with paper towels and place that in a small metal mixing bowl.
Keep checking and pouring every 15 minutes until no more tallow renders out and what remains in the pan (the cracklins) rattle in the pan.
Store rendered tallow in jars in the fridge for up to 12 months or even longer in the freezer.