How to make stock and render fat

I’m on a beef stock making mission right now, primarily because of the great beef stew recipe I shared in the thread recipes-for-cooking-with-only-non-perishable-food/ . That recipe served the two of us three generous meals.  The last one was a little skimpy so I poured the stew over freshly made biscuits. That meal was probably the best of the three!

I used ten pounds of beef ribs to get roughly four quarts of stock, and I canned it according to USDA recommendations. I’ve just started another stock pot.  I browned the ribs in a 400F oven, covered them with a lot of water, added some apple cider vinegar, and will now simmer the bones slowly for 24 hours, then “reduce” the stock before canning.

There’s a big bonus in this process.  I got about a pint of snowy white beef fat, which after rendering, is shelf stable.  I measure it out and freeze it in silicone molds, and once wrapped it will keep virtually forever in the freezer, but it will last for months on the shelf.

Here is an article that explains the basic how-and-why of rendering fat I’ll add some additional notes. 

Fat should be slowly heated to 255F to insure that all moisture has been driven off.  Carefully dip the clear liquid off the top and strain into clean containers (sterilized canning jars are good!).  Fill all the way to the top because the fat will contract quite a bit while cooling.  Chill as quickly as possible for a fine grained product.  Cap and store in a cool, dark place.

Air, light and moisture can cause the product to go rancid or sour.  If all moisture is removed and the product chilled thoroughly before capping, there will be no souring.

The notes on rendering lard are taken from the book “Stocking Up” by Rodale Press.


  • Comments (4)

    • 1

      Thank you so much for this guidance! I always feel wasteful when I toss leftover fat into the trash. I had heard about rendering fat but never really looked into it (rumor has it it is great for winter birds if you don’t want to use it for human consumption).  You just gave me the excuse I needed to finally get those silicone molds I’ve been eyeing!  I store a great deal of coconut oil and other fats in my freezer but beef and pork fat (and oooh lamb fat) are especially tasty.  

      • 1

        Good morning M.E. Yes, I would bet it’s great for feeding birds!  I know it’s considered “unhealthy” but making gravy with fat is so tasty! 

        I’ve been thinking about candles too.  The rendered beef fat can be considered tallow, I think, and it’s pretty firm at room temperature, so the rendered fat would be good for that.  And I’m pretty sure I’ve read about preserving other foods in rendered fat.

        Silicone molds…this isn’t “shelf stable”, but I’ll frequently pick up an extra 18 pack of eggs to freeze.  I’ll shell an egg, mix it gently with a wire whip and pour it into the silicone muffin cups. I find it’s easier to do one egg at a time instead of mixing a bunch and trying to measure them into the cups.  I freeze these, pop them out, then generally wrap them individually in cling wrap, and put them in a freezer bag.  There have been many times when I’ve run out of fresh eggs, and have those frozen ones in reserve.  They taste perfectly fresh.

        So yes!  Go get those silicone molds!

      • 1

        @Barb Lee, you’re talking about those silicon muffin molds and not any other size? My wife uses those all the time for GF/DF almond flour muffins. Much easier than peeling paper. And how long have your frozen eggs been ok?

      • 1

        Hi Shaun, yes, silicon muffin molds.  My cheap amazon ones hold about 1/3 cup and that’s about perfect for a large egg. I’m currently using them to freeze enough tallow to make a pint of beef gravy with the new beef stock. 

        I can’t really say about the length of time the frozen eggs keep.  Let’s just say that I have never had one that didn’t taste fresh.  They look a little scary when thawed, very orange, but when scrambled they look and taste exactly like fresh, and of course they’re perfect for recipes.  They probably last at least a year.  Longer if they were vacuum sealed, which I have done.

        I did happen to read the label on a jar of “cream of tartar” that I just opened.  Aside from being a main component in baking powder, they are used to “stabilize egg whites” as in for making meringues I guess.  I need to see whether a pinch would improve the freezing quality of eggs, not that I’ve noticed they need improvement!