As a family who loves meat, but seeks to raise animals in a way that honors their life, we try to use as much of the animal as possible. For instance, when we butcher our chickens, the cleaned feet go in the stock pot, and the feathers go into our compost pile. From our pig, we use every possible cut of meat, and render the fat into snow-white lard that we use for cooking and frying.
In commercial meat processing situations, fat is usually collected and rendered for animal feed. Even a small-scale pasture-raised beef farming friend of mine recently lamented the fact that his animals’ gorgeous fat was largely considered waste product. If you raise your own cattle, or if you purchase a side of beef, consider rendering the fat into tallow.
Once you’ve made tallow, what will you do with it? Here are a few ideas to get you started: