As I mentioned in another question, I'm about to undergo a 100 lb suet-to-tallow rendering process. The problem is, as much as I love tallow, I've never rendered suet myself before and I have a million questions (though I'll try to keep it to a few key points). After a lot of research, here is what I've come up with:
- Trim, chop, and partially freeze suet
- Run it through a food processor
- Render with or without water
- Strain and cool
It seems there are 3 rendering options for the typical home kitchen:
- Oven at 250°F
- Stovetop on low/very low (I have an electric range/hobs)
- Crockpot on low setting
And then there's a difference between rendering the fat by itself, or rendering it in water. A few convincing articles imply that rendering it in water creates more "pure" tallow.
I figure since I have so much to render, I'll try all three methods above simultaneously. I have: two crockpots; an enameled cast iron dutch oven and a few large stock pots for the stovetop; and a lot of casserole dishes for my two-rack oven. Even doing them all at the same time like this, I imagine it's still going to take a few (many?) rounds to render it all. I'd like to minimize that time if possible since I don't have room to store the suet for long, but producing quality tallow is equally important as I'll be giving some away.
- Are there any methods for doing this in a typical home kitchen that I'm missing? The grill, perhaps, or is that too dangerous? I also have an electric wok.
- How can I do this as efficiently and quickly as possible? For example, can I stack casserole dishes in the oven or do I need to keep air flow maximized and just do what fits on the two racks at a time? How hot can I have the oven and stovetop without risking quality loss?
- Should I render with water or without it? Will it really make it more pure if I use water, and if not what will?
- About how much tallow can I expect to get from 100 lbs of suet? I have a rough estimate of 20 gallons in my head but that's based on numbers I found from a Google search.