How to Render Tallow

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Rendering tallow is the first and most important step in making homemade soap. Rendering your own tallow allows you to control the process and make sure that the ingredients and methods used are up to your personal standards. The resulting soap or candle tallow will be of higher quality and probably cheaper because of it. Follow these steps to render tallow.

Things You'll Need

  • Several pounds of unrendered beef fat (not lard or suet)
  • Meat grinder (optional)
  • Large pot or kettle
  • Salt
  • Strainer
  • Clean pantyhose or other fine nylon mesh
  • Baking soda
  • Get all the equipment and ingredients together on a clean surface so you can start the process knowing you have everything you need.

  • Cut the fat. Separate anything from the fat that looks different from it. Getting all other kinds of tissue off of the fat is important for keeping the tallow from becoming suet, which makes a harder and harsher soap. Cut the fat into small cubes or grind it in a meat grinder to get it ready for the next phase.

  • Boil water in a large pot. Get the water to a rolling boil by added two or three tablespoons of salt. Add the chopped or ground beef fat. Cover the pot and let the fat boil for about thirty minutes, stirring every few minutes.

  • Strain the fat. Let the boiled fat cool for a few minutes and then strain the it by pouring the liquid through a strainer lined with a pair of pantyhose or other fine nylon mesh. The top layer of hard substance that remains is the tallow you're looking for.

  • Render the tallow again. After separating out the tallow, let it cool in the fridge for a few hours. Then take the hardened tallow and place it back in the pot, with enough water to cover it. Add a couple tablespoons of baking soda to the mix. Boil this mixture for 30 minutes. Once it's boiled, let it cool and then place the tallow in the fridge. After a couple hours in the fridge, scoop off the top hard layer of tallow for later use.

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