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You're telling me there is a market for fat?

 
pollinator
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My husband and I are kicking ourselves. We made lard and gave away huge bags of fat to other people. We had so much we were putting it in the cats dry food. Now of course if there isn't some lard in their food they act like we're starving them. Then I found out that hunters buy pig fat online to grind in with their wild game for sausage. I was floored. We had given away/used all the fat we had in the freezer and here I could have made money. *facepalm*
 
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Yup. Some folks still render their own lard and tallow, and it can be difficult to find good quality fat. Others press the suet with birdseed, and make and sell it as self- contained bird feeders, or make candles with it (wax ain't cheap, and it burns pretty clean!).  
 
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My local meat producing farm packages the fat and sells it just like any other cut of meat. And it ain't cheap, but less expensive than butter.

I'd much rather render my own lard than cook with vegetable oil.
 
pollinator
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Our local butcher gives us a bag of beef fat every week, for free (free with our weekly shop, that is).  We render it and use it as our go-to cooking fat and I prefer it to other oils/fats with the exception of possibly duck and goose fat.  I have also made birdseed balls, candles and soap when we run out of containers to store it in--though after rendering, it does keep several months if not longer.  He doesn't give away the pork fat though;  I'm not even sure he'd sell it--it goes in his sausages.
 
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Now I'm wondering how hard it would be to sell the schmaltz from my meat chickens.
 
pollinator
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How do you render beef fat? I'm waiting for beef and I'm wondering now if I could ask for the fat too... I mostly used vegetable oils so far.
 
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Ellendra Nauriel wrote:Now I'm wondering how hard it would be to sell the schmaltz from my meat chickens.


You find the right foodie community and you'd probably unload it pretty quickly!! I love cooking with schmaltz, I only render what I get from the meat I buy but I would love to have more quantities for biscuits and dumplings, for example.
 
G Freden
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Flora Eerschay wrote:How do you render beef fat? I'm waiting for beef and I'm wondering now if I could ask for the fat too... I mostly used vegetable oils so far.


I chop into small pieces and either bake it (covered) in the oven for about an hour, or just dump it all in my hotter slow cooker for about six hours;  I have a not as hot slow cooker that doesn't work as well--the cracklings don't go brown and crispy in that one, but the fat still renders ok.

We like to generously salt the crackling bits and eat them hot like popcorn.  I like them even better when they're cold and greasy :)
 
Carla Burke
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Flora Eerschay wrote:How do you render beef fat? I'm waiting for beef and I'm wondering now if I could ask for the fat too... I mostly used vegetable oils so far.


You can always ask. But, in many places, there are limitations of what parts they are allowed to give back - like the lungs.
How to do it - water in the pot keeps it from burning, and eventually, allows the solids a place to sink to. I've tried it with and without the water, and won't go back to doing it without the water. The water also keeps it from browning (which can damage it and reduce the shelf stability), and it seems to have less beef flavor, so it's less 'beefy', making it more palatable in a wider range of foods.
 
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This was nearly sixty years ago so details are sketchy. I remember my Aunt Alice making pork cracklings in a kittle over a fire, man they were good. Didn't realize till reading this thread she was probably actually rendering lard. My Granny always had plenty of goose fat. I'm not sure how she acquired it but I think she boiled a goose before she baked it and then saved and reheated the fat to evaporate off any remaining water.

My closest approximation is to save that hunk of fat from chicken or turkey broth and fry things in it.  After the broth cools just pop it off the surface and throw it in a hot skillet to remove any water, pour in a jar to cool. I keep it in the fridge but don't think that's really necessary.  There was always plenty of beef fat around back then too, I like it's flavor better than pork.

I can't make beef stew or roast with gravy unless I have enough beef fat to brown the meat. Chicken fried in chicken or turkey fat with milk gravy, mashed potatoes with lots of pepper, canned green beans with onions, carrots and a little salt pork, yum, yum. Damn I'm hungry!

I don't know how many people would pay you or better trade for good clean fat but I would.
 
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I just rendered a pound of suet into tallow.
Paid a dollar a pound for 5 pounds at the butcher shop.
I set it on a dollar store mesh fry guard on top of a stainless steel stock pot, and put the whole shebang in my "smoker".
The liquid I collected was dark, smokey , mysterious and at that time,too hot to taste.
I've seen fancy  1 pound jars of tallow and lard in the grocery store go for 4 bucks, on markdown, so this is has some potential as a value added product.

 
Flora Eerschay
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Thanks! I'll try with sheep fat tomorrow, and maybe with beef fat later too. I now remember that the rabbit I had a few months ago had its fat in unusually hard clumps... could that be melted too?
 
G Freden
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Flora Eerschay wrote:Thanks! I'll try with sheep fat tomorrow, and maybe with beef fat later too. I now remember that the rabbit I had a few months ago had its fat in unusually hard clumps... could that be melted too?


Definitely.  I didn't realise there was enough fat on a rabbit--I'd be interested to hear what it's like.  To my taste, sheep fat is kind of strong but I still like it.  
 
Flora Eerschay
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There wasn't much, I guess from two or three rabbits it would be more... but there was a lot of meat on that one, so one was more than enough for me... and I couldn't really make the meat soft, so it was best in a soup.
 
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Ellendra Nauriel wrote:Now I'm wondering how hard it would be to sell the schmaltz from my meat chickens.



On occasion I render the fat from ducks and geese butchered late in the season.  I cook with it, but I've also sold some.  In fact, the first time I even thought about doing anything with the fat was when an egg customer asked about it.  
I render duck fat in a mini-crockpot - one that is designed to keep dips warm.  I don't monkey around trying to harvest ALL the fat, just the easy fat deposits.  
Not sure about selling it as schmaltz... doesn't the butchering have to be done a certain way for it to be considered Kosher?

I have 2 pints from my last butchering of the season sitting in the freezer, posted for sale on CL.  
 
Tereza Okava
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I don't think anyone would assume that schmaltz is kosher. And people who want kosher schmaltz are probably not buying their food from random places or producers (an observation from living in a mostly orthodox community when I was a kid). If you live in an area where people do keep kosher and they might buy your meat products you probably should mention non-kosher, but I would imagine someone would have asked by now if that were the case.
 
Thomas Dean
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Tereza Okava wrote:I don't think anyone would assume that schmaltz is kosher. And people who want kosher schmaltz are probably not buying their food from random places or producers (an observation from living in a mostly orthodox community when I was a kid). If you live in an area where people do keep kosher and they might buy your meat products you probably should mention non-kosher, but I would imagine someone would have asked by now if that were the case.



I once listed some as goose schmaltz and got berated in an email by someone who said they were Jewish, and I should not even use that as a search term on CL if it wasn't kosher.  But there are lots of people with strong opinions on the web.  I apologized, and edited my advert to make it clear that it was not kosher.  Just a warning for others, but thank you for your input as well.
 
Tereza Okava
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Thomas Dean wrote:
I once listed some as goose schmaltz and got berated in an email by someone who said they were Jewish, and I should not even use that as a search term on CL if it wasn't kosher.  But there are lots of people with strong opinions on the web.  I apologized, and edited my advert to make it clear that it was not kosher.  Just a warning for others, but thank you for your input as well.


I'd be leery after that too!! (I could totally see that happening where I grew up, but 90% of people in the city were Jewish). I suppose there is always someone who has to be difficult. I am not a CL user so maybe there is some cultural thing there I don't know. Still, I think big picture there is no reason to think that schmaltz would be any more kosher than chicken would be.
 
Thomas Dean
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Tereza Okava wrote:

Thomas Dean wrote:
I once listed some as goose schmaltz and got berated in an email by someone who said they were Jewish, and I should not even use that as a search term on CL if it wasn't kosher.  But there are lots of people with strong opinions on the web.  I apologized, and edited my advert to make it clear that it was not kosher.  Just a warning for others, but thank you for your input as well.


I'd be leery after that too!! (I could totally see that happening where I grew up, but 90% of people in the city were Jewish). I suppose there is always someone who has to be difficult. I am not a CL user so maybe there is some cultural thing there I don't know. Still, I think big picture there is no reason to think that schmaltz would be any more kosher than chicken would be.



I don't think I am in a major Jewish area either... I am in Calvinist-Reformed-Protestant-Dutch-West Michigan area.
 
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Whenever I see the title of this thread I'm reminded of years ago when we were having a particularly hard time trying to make a dime on our five acres and it was only after moving out and up the mountain we found that there was a huge market for all of those rocks and boulders we had been struggling with for years.  Later yet, noticed that rocks were being 'harvested' off of that same piece of land without our knowledge.

....but I'm no help with the fat market although we did render and use all we could get our hands on.  

I lost my taste for beef while rendering someones fat that was not fresh...the whole house was scented with stale tallow.
 
pollinator
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I'm a soap maker and use lard rendered from my friends pigs. It's amazingly white and sweet smelling. Makes the frothiest cold processed soap (mixed with olive, castor and coconut oil). It's similar in fat properties to Palm Oil which is not super sustainable and real gnarly on the environment to grow/harvest/sell. It's not a perfect switch for palm, but has a lot of the beneficial properties of it (skin protectant, silky soap feel, explosive suds, etc).

 
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Flora Eerschay wrote:How do you render beef fat? I'm waiting for beef and I'm wondering now if I could ask for the fat too... I mostly used vegetable oils so far.



I always ask for the fat. Usually they forget, so when I go to pick up the order, I ask again, and they'll give me whatever fat they have around (even from a different animal).

They usually ask, "Want us to grind it for you?", the answer is always 'Yes' - it makes it render faster.

To render it, dump it all in a slowcooker and it'll melt. Or use a stockpot and your stovetop, and it'll melt quicker.

Rendering is just:
- Melt it (4 or 5 hours in a slowcooker, or 45 minutes or so on a stovetop).
- Boil off any water you might've added (some people do, to prevent the fat from burning when rendering it, I typically don't add any, unless rendering it on a stovetop).
- Scoop out the stuff that turns brown (scraps of meat that ain't fat), which you throw to the chickens (it's called "crackling", and some people put it on salads. No thanks!)
- Pour the clear liquid into sterilized mason jars, pop a lid on them, let them self-seal. They can be stored a moderately long time at room temp. If they turn rancid, you'll smell it when you open the jar. The clear liquid will turn white or very very pale yellow as it cools.

Sometimes, if not rendered perfectly, the tallow and lard has a "piggy" smell. This is still fine to use, and the piggy smell goes away almost instantly when cooking, and never affects the taste. A piggy smell is different than being rancid, though, and it's not necessarily a bad smell - just slightly off-putting the first time you encounter it if you never have before.

This works for pigs (lard), and cows and lambs (tallow). Tallow is harder than lard, at room temp, but lard and tallow both are easy enough to scoop into a pan instead of using vegetable oils, and melt almost instantly in pan, like butter.
I also save melted fats like bacon grease, chicken fat (scooped off broth), turkey fat, etc... but that's a different product and must be refrigerated or frozen. (bacon grease doesn't need to be - it's fine at room temperature for a few weeks, same as lard and tallow).

You can use lard and tallow interchangeably (think Crisco but slightly firmer. Crisco is an artificial lard-replacement made from vegetable oils). Both are suitable for pie crusts, as substitutes for cooking oils in a frying pan, and are great for deep-frying.
 
Carla Burke
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I used to render it exactly the way Jamin does, and it works well. But, I read in several places, that adding water helps clean up the 'beefy' smell, so I tried it, and it really does, for me. Since I use it in lotions and facial soaps, that is a step I always do, now. It gives the solids a place to sink to, as well, making straining it easier, and it makes four a lighter color.
 
Jamin Grey
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Thanks for the tip, Carla! Now that you mention it, I do recall my first few batches of lard and tallow to have less smell than my more recent batches, and in those earlier batches I'd add more water. I haven't paid too much attention because it truly doesn't affect the taste, and the smell isn't all that strong, but I'll try it that way next time I get some fat; I think I'm supposed to get some in a week or so.
 
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There is a huge market! Just look for the Weston Price crowd (or similar) in your area, i would by it provided the price is right. The legal loopholes regarding food are a nightmare though.
 
William Bronson
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My tallow came out delicious,  but alas not smokey.
I've noticed a little bit seems to go a long way, as in it spreads out in the pan and covers the hot surface better than most other fats.
20201223_222543.jpg
English muffins and the tallow I toasted them in
English muffins and the tallow I toasted them in
 
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