The Fastest Way To Render Animal Fat (*hint* it’s in your Instant Pot!)
We love fat.
All the “medical advice” that warns us against fats — especially coconut oil, butter, and animal fat — it’s malarkey.
I believe my family’s good health is proof of that! Over and over, medical tests have proven that our diet, which is high in traditional fats, is not negatively impacting our health.
But… Full Disclosure: I am NOT skinny. I am a curvy size 12 with a little extra “junk in my trunk”, KWIM? 😉 According to all the “charts”, I’m technically overweight.
I also feel pretty great most of the time, have sustained energy throughout the day, and sleep like a babe.
Blood pressure? Last week, mine was 115/68. Picture perfect. 🙂
HDL Cholesterol? Last year’s blood tests showed 73 mg/dL. Triglycerides? 58 mg/dL… woohoo!
Y’all? I eat fat all. the. time. (Nourishing, healthy, traditional fat, that is.)
And, bacon fat? Don’t even get me started on my deep and abiding love for bacon fat. (I have a small jar sitting next to my stove right now, actually.) 😉
So, let’s throw all that 1980s BS about fat being evil out the window, shall we? It’s 2017! Healthy, nourishing, traditional fats are totally in and totally good for us!
The Awesome Benefits Of Lard & Tallow
I specifically want to talk about the truly amazing benefits of rendered animal fats, like lard and tallow. (Rendered = animal fat is heated to release its oil, and hardens to a white solid when cooled. The leftover bits, called cracklings, may be salted and eaten. The fat is shelf-stable and is perfect for frying, sauteeing, making pie crusts, or any other way you’d use fat.)
#1 — Suitable For High-Heat Cooking
Lard and tallow are both suitable for high-heat cooking, like frying.
Unlike olive oil — which should not be used at temperatures over 350 degrees, which is often not actually pure olive oil, and which can become rancid when exposed to air and light — lard and tallow do not easily oxidize because of their high saturated fat content. Less oxidation is a good thing. It means less free radicals (precursors to cancer and disease) floating around your body.
Also, foods fried in rendered animal fats taste second to none. You just haven’t lived until you’ve eaten potatoes or cheese curds fried in lard or tallow!
#2 — High In Fat-Soluble Vitamins
I just love it when my fat contains my vitamins, don’t you? 😉
Lard and tallow are both high in the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. Lard is especially high in Vitamin D (but only if it comes from pastured hogs) — so eat it up this winter!
Read about 23 Ways To Eat Fat-Soluble Vitamins.
#3 — High In Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)
CLA is a type of fat that has been shown to reduce cancer, lower body fat, and improve brain function. CLA is absolutely essential to our bodies, yet the types of food that are high in CLA are typically ostracized by conventional diet “wisdom”.
These foods include grass-fed, full-fat dairy products, grass-fed beef, grass-fed butter, and yes, tallow and lard from grass-fed animals.
#4 — They’re Traditional
When we look back at the foods our ancestors ate, lard and tallow are likely among them. (Or some other rendered animal fat like bear fat, whale/seal fat, duck fat, and/or butter.)
Our great-great-great grandmothers wouldn’t recognize tubs of margarine or bottles of vegetable oil as food!
#5 — They’re Sustainable
Back when people used the whole animal, a pig or cow was slaughtered and every part of it was used — right down to the fat.
Now, I buy our beef and pork from a local farmer who raises these happy animals on pasture. She takes care of having the meat butchered for me, yet I still make sure to ask for the fat.
Believe it or not, she doesn’t even charge me for it! No one wants it, and it’ll be thrown out otherwise. Can you believe it??
It’s less wasteful, honors the life of the animal, and makes our food go much farther when we use every part of the animal.
an Instant Pot!
The Fastest Way To Render Animal Fat In The Instant Pot
This is no joke, y’all. I rendered over 20 pounds of beef fat into 13 quarts of tallow in less than an hour with this method! 🙂
You will need:
- an Instant Pot
- a fine mesh sieve
- a 1-quart heat-safe glass measuring cup
- quart-size, wide-mouth Mason canning jars with rings and seals
- a meat grinder*
*If you don’t have a meat grinder, ask your butcher to grind your pig and/or beef fat for you. This method is the fastest way to render animal fat in the Instant Pot because of the tiny “fat pellets”.
First, run the pieces of fat through your meat grinder, if you’ve not already had the butcher do this for you.
Next, press the Sauté button on the Instant Pot. You don’t need the IP lid for this project.
Add the fat pellets — 8 to 10 cups at a time — to the hot Instant Pot. Don’t go too far… it won’t take long!
As soon as the fat pellets have melted, strain the liquid fat through the fine mesh sieve and into the glass measuring cup. It will be hot, so be careful!
Because the fat pellets are so small, you won’t have cracklings left over.
Then, pour the hot fat directly into your jars, wipe the rims, and place the seals and rings on immediately. As the oil cools and hardens, the jars will “pop” and self-seal.
Continue adding fat pellets in batches to your Instant Pot, working until you’ve used all your pig or beef fat.
Finally, once the fat has cooled and the jars have self-sealed, transfer them to pantry storage. They will last a very long time in a cool, dark location. If you’re at all worried about the fat going rancid, you can freeze the jars, too. I no longer freeze my rendered animal fat because it lasts just fine when stored in my cool basement.
Not ready to invest in an Instant Pot? You can render lard and tallow in a slow cooker and/or cast iron skillet!