November 3, 2010

Rendering Tallow and Homemade Potato Chips

A few days ago I tried rendering beef tallow for the first time, to fry up some potato chips.  Can I just say, they were out of this world amazing?  And I'm not a potato gal.  Beef tallow is the fat MacDonald's used to use for their french fries, back before everyone thought animal fats were bad.  Folks who've read Nourishing Traditions know that's not always the case. 

I found my tallow in the in-laws' deep freeze.  Lucky for me, they had saved it the last time we butchered a cow (I'll write a post about that in the future, if you can stomach it).  I don't really know where to purchase tallow, except straight from the farmer (that would be rancher, in our case). 

Here's how you render beef tallow (or lard).

You cut it into small-ish chunks (1 1/2" to 2").  Then you put it in a pan and cook it on low, covered, for a couple of hours.  I stirred mine every once in a while.  Here it is after about an hour:

After a couple of hours, it is ready to be strained.

Once you strain it through a colander, it looks like this:

Looks just like vegetable oil!

It will return to a solid state once it's cooled.  I suggest storing it in the fridge.

To make potato chips, use a mandolin or a good knife and a steady hand to slice some potatoes really thin.  I used red potatoes to make these, because that's what I had:

Put enough tallow in your pan to reach a depth of 2".  Heat your tallow on medium high.  Drop a small slice of potato in the fat.  If the fat is hot enough, the potato will start bubbling and rise to the surface. 

When the fat is hot enough, drop a handful of potato slices into the fat.  Don't crowd them.  Cook about 3-5 minutes per side.  Try not to overcook them.

Drain on a paper-towel lined plate.  Sprinkle with salt and serve immediately.   I didn't get a picture of the chips because they were gone too quickly!  Delicious!

You can also re-use the tallow to fry another batch of potato chips.  I would guess the tallow would keep about a week in the fridge (probably longer, but I really don't know). 


Kim said...

Yum! U.S. Wellness Meats sells beef tallow from grass-fed cows, just in case you run out! I'm going to try this when we butcher our next steer...thanks for sharing!

Dem said...

Thanks Kim! My dad told me you can get beef fat at some butcher shops (although it might not be grass-fed, at least it wouldn't be partially hydrogenated). It's also called 'suet'.

Jill said...

Great post! I have been wanting to try rendering my own tallow forever- although I think I will have to wait until we get a calf to butcher... hopefully that is sooner versus later!

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