Rendering Fats (Suet, Lard and Schmaltz)

See my pictures on Rendering Suet and Making Pemmican

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Chinois Mesh Strainer
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Beef Tallow
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Rendering Suet Step-by-Step

Suet is the leaf fat from around the kidneys. It is more saturated than other fat. It is very dense and hard. Its melting point is in excess of 110 degrees. This makes it hard to clean up if your hot tap water isn't very hot.

There is no reason not to render a lot of suet at the same time. It keeps. I use 16 quart and 11 quart stock pots.

You have two ways to prep the suet. First cut off any visible bits of meat. This will speed up the rendering process. Then if you have a meat grinder you should grind it up. This is the best. If you don't, then dice the suet into pieces smaller than walnut size. This is a lot of cutting, but the small size works better.

The boiling of suet takes a long time. Many hours. It does not melt easily. I would start it early in the morning.

Use a stainless steel pot with a thick bottom. Start with a small amount of added water. Stir often, especially in the beginning. It will become a liquid with lots of solid pieces floating in it. After a while a few pieces may stick to the bottom, if there are one hour gaps between stirring. I have put in too much water, and let it simmer (always the lowest possible flame) overnight, but too much water just lengthens the process.

The liquid does get a little yellow. I figured it came from the stuck pieces. One wrote that sometimes grass fed animals produce yellowish fat. I have only rendered grass-fed bison and grass-fed beef.

You should definitely render twice. It speeds up the process. Your goal is no moisture at all. None. This is key for preservation. The signal that you have reached this is the lack of small gas bubbles coming up from the bottom. This is moisture converting to steam. They seem to never end. I figure they are slowly coming out of the chunks of non-fat. If you did not put the suet through a meat grinder I recommend inserting a stick blender in the mixture to chop up the chunks. Be careful not to pull it out and splatter hot fat all over. If you do two renderings, the first rendering would be done before the bubbles stop, but the crud is all broken up. Then heat again until all bubbles are gone. No need to strain a second time.

One woman uses a thermometer to ensure that she is not overheating. I don't see the point if the flame is at the lowest and you stop after the bubbles stop. She writes "When I'm rendering suet, and the water is nearly gone (bubbles very small) I start checking the temperature with a cooking thermometer. As long as there is water in the fat, it won't get far from 212°F (less at higher elevations). As soon as the water is gone, the fat starts heating up. I remove it from the burner before it gets to 225°F. That way I'm sure that it is done, and still haven't overheated it." As I have a laser thermometer I used that to watch the temperature after the bubbles stopped. I let it get up to 235-240°F before I turned it off and poured into my pans.

For straining I first used a very fine strainer and put a piece of cheese cloth in it. Not sure why the cheese cloth was needed, but everybody seems to use it. Maybe to make cleaning easier. Since the strainer was much smaller than the volume of chunks in the boiling pan, I held back the chunks with a spoon and only poured out the liquid that came out easily. Not particularly efficient. I have since switched to using a chinois that has double layers of screening (like a strainer, not a china cap). And I no longer use cheese cloth. Since the chinois has a tall aspect ratio I use a tall stock pot underneath. I don't use the wooden pestle that fits in the chinois, but a large spoon to press the gunk against the sides.

I store my rendered suet at room temperature. The last batch I put in large disposable baking pans that have lids.

Cleaning is a mess. Make sure your hot water is very hot. Put as little fat down the drain as possible.
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Don Wiss

Pork Lard

Preheat oven to 250F. Place 1lb of fat (leaf fat, fat back or pork fat pieces cleaned of skin and meat and finely diced) in an ovenproof dish. Add enough cold water to partially cover. Put in oven (or over very low flame) for 40 minutes, or until fat has melted, stirring occasionally to prevent it from browning or sticking. Remove from oven and strain through a cheesecloth into a heat proof container. Set aside. When fat has set into a smooth white shortening, cover and refrigerate. Will keep for 3 months.

From Amanda (ahl5 at PANTHEON.YALE.EDU)
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Myra's Schmaltz

For the unintiated, schmaltz is chicken fat rendered with onions. Way back before margarine was invented, rendered chicken or goose fat was used instead of butter for meat meals. Schmaltz adds the most wonderful flavor to foods, and we lowcarbers can count ourselves lucky that we can indulge! I recommend using it in other recipes where called for.

3-4 cups raw chicken fat and skins
1 medium onion, finely chopped

In a skillet over moderate heat, cook the chicken fat and skin pieces until the fat liquifies out and the solid pieces shrink and become golden brown. Add the onion and cook until the skins and onion are very crisp and dark brown (but not burned). Remove from heat. Remove the crispy bits with a slotted spoon (see note). Stir and let stand until cool, but still liquid. Pour into a glass jar or container and keep in the refrigerator or freezer. Will keep almost indefinitely. Makes about 1 cup schmaltz.

NOTE: The leftover crispy bits are called "griebenes," and are the Jewish version of fried pork rinds, so enjoy them as a snack (I always do!).

From Betty (tguyer at JUNO.COM)
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More Schmaltz

>Where do you get this from? or do you have to render it yourself? If so,
>what is the process.

You can buy it ready-made in almost any Jewish delicatessen, or in a grocery store which caters to Jewish cuisine.... It's easy enough to make yourself...just strip off the chicken fat any time you make chicken, and freeze the portions of fat in a ziplock bag... when you have a good amount of raw chicken fat, just thaw it out and put it in a frying pan over medium to high heat....make sure it doesn't burn...

In 15 minutes or so, the fat will have 'rendered' out, leaving behind 'cracklings' (you can also do this with pork, obvious THAT wouldn't be 'kosher' tho! <g>)...let the fat cool somewhat, then strain it (cheesecloth would be nice, but a fine-meshed strainer will do) and let the liquid fat completely cool...what you now have is 'schmaltz', which you can use to fry and/or to flavor in cooking....

From June (revcoal at CONNIX.COM)
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When I need schmaltz for baking, I make it the following way, using the fat and skin from the chickens:

Place about a cup's worth of skin and fat, diced or ground small, in 2 cups of cold water. Bring to a boil, and simmer, stirring frequently, skimming as needed, until the water has been reduced by half. Strain into a clean glass container. Using a wide-mouthed pint jar is great, as you can see about how much fat you've rendered out. Place in fridge. When the fat as set, remove it from the liquid, place in whatever container in which you'll be using, and freeze. The liquid is now chock-full of collagen from the fat and skin, and should be nicely jellied. You can use it when making stock; it adds body and protein. Not much flavor though.

Now, as far as what you've saved from your chicken soup, if it's just as bland and plain as what you've gotten from the skin and fat, you can freeze it right along. You might want to premeasure it in useable portions before freezing. I use it for the crust of my Thanksgiving Apple Pie; since the main meal is a meat meal anyway, why not? I like the results better than butter or Veg. shortening, and from what I have read not only is it lower in saturates (though higher in outright cholesterol) it has lineolic acid, which I have read helps the body break down the "bad" cholesterol.

I figured out to use it for crusts from a Shaker cookbook. They spoke highly of chicken fat as a pastry shortening.

From: Blanche Nonken in
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