How to Render Deer Tallow

Rendering Deer Tallow

Tallow is the white nearly tasteless solid rendered fat of an animal used in soap, candles, and lubricant. The tallow can easily be rendered by simmering. In this case we will be rendering deer tallow.

How to Render Deer Tallow

  • Begin by cutting the fat into small pieces or even use a meat grinder. The smaller the pieces the less time it will need to simmer. The pieces in the picture are pretty large. You can chop them much smaller if you wish.
  • Place fat into a large pot. To decrease burning on the bottom of the pot you can add water, though in a pinch you may not need it. We did not add water though I did raise the heat very slowly.
  • Raise the heat slowly. Do not cook the fat. Melt it. A liquid will form in the bottom. When the liquid comes to a boil decrease the heat slightly to a simmer. Do not overcook!
  • The finer the fat trimmings the less time it will take. If ran through a meat grinder it can take as little as a half hour. Large pieces may take a couple hours. 
  • After simmering for a while there will be cracklings left floating on the surface. Pour the entire contents through a strainer, colander, coffee filter, or cheesecloth. The finer the straining the more pure the tallow will become. (Note) If water was added you must leave the strained tallow in the refrigerator over night. The tallow will rise to the top of the water where it can be skimmed off.
  • Pour final solution into a mason jar.

This whole process can be done off-grid using an open fire. Tallow can be poured into multiple containers, for instance an old bottle or even a turtle shell.

Deer tallow will keep for a few months at room temperature. As with all food products a cool, dry, and dark place will extend the life. The refrigerator and freezer will extend the life even further.

Uses For Deer Tallow

  • Candles and other lighting sources.
  • Soap
  • Treat Leather
  • Treat Wood
  • Season Cast Iron, For Example a Cast Iron Stove
  • In Germany, deer tallow is used as a base ingredient in certain salves preferred by sportsmen to prevent sore skin or blisters. (Unconfirmed)