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The Art of Rendering

By Marcus | In Nutrition | on August 14, 2013

If there’s one thing we have hopefully gotten across in our nutrition posts, it’s that fat is not the dietary demon you would think it is according to “conventional wisdom”. Alia has done some posts recently on the many uses of coconut oil and even how to make your own ghee at home.

Alia did mention how coconut oil can impart a slight flavor to items you cook in it —“When cooking with coconut oil, [snip] it will compliment fish and chicken very well, I would keep cooking with ghee if you pan fry heavier meats like beef and pork.”

While all that is true, there is another option for cooking that you may be overlooking — animal fat. Now before you go thinking I want you to trim the fat off a t-bone and cook with that, let me clarify that I’m talking about the process of rendering — either tallow or lard — from beef or pork fat, respectively. Much like ghee, these have a high smoke point and can be used for pan frying. In fact, lard was traditionally used in baking for many years and purist chefs often use it for better results.

The process of rendering is also much like that of making ghee, in that the key is using a very low temperature. I’ve used my oven for this in the past, but this latest time I followed this post from Robb Wolf’s site that uses the slow cooker. For the fat, I purchased some from J&J with my monthly order. They sell a 5 lb bag that rendered down to about 64 fl. oz. of tallow. Once done, you will have jars like this:

You will also be left with what are called “cracklings”. Quoted from the Robb Wolf post:

They consist of minute pieces of tissue that had previously held the pig’s fat together. This is also where the little streaks of red meat mixed with the back fat end up.

As that post says, I found them good to snack on straight out of the oven. Those left over I put in the fridge and use when sauteing my greens. For lack of a better description, they are like beefy bacon bits! In the picture below, you can see them mixed among the greens:

Speaking of which, your order for J&J is due tonight by 10pm! Get your order in and make some tallow of your own.

WOD 08.14.13

Press 3×5/Wendler


  • 7 Toes to Bar
  • 7 Handstand Push Up

Rest 2 Minutes


  • 20 Double Unders
  • 10 Ball Slams

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