Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Feats and Eats #8 plus Rendering Tallow, Part I

Breakfast: Just my fish oils. I needed to go shopping this morning, as we were out of eggs and fresh meat.

Lunch: Salami, ham, swiss, and havarti, with mayo. Nice and filling, but lunch meats do tend to give me a little trouble. I was crabby, emotional, and slightly foggy feeling for several hours after eating.

Dinner: Chicken drumsticks. Yum.

Caveman was having a hankering for something sweet, so for dessert I made oopsie rolls with cardamom and cloves, with chocolate whipped cream.

It was sweetened with a little sucralose and tasted quite good, but I found I wasn't overly interested. How out of character! I ended up giving half mine away to the older caveboy and munching on another drumstick and a large slice of cheddar instead. Furthermore, I found myself regretting the dry rub on the chicken, as I was wanting to taste the meat itself. I'm pleased with this development. I think this is the first day that I've been able to imagine what it might feel like not to desire sweets.

I also rendered suet and made beef tallow for the first time today. I attempted to follow Lex Rooker's directions without a thermometer. I suspect I burned it, but I've never before seen tallow in person, so it's hard to say. Here's my finished product:

I am going to try it again by a different method soon, to see if I can produce something that tastes more pure (as in, not like ash). I did a bit of googling and was left confused as to why some recipes recommend melting the fat on low for a short period of time, while other recipes say to boil it for an hour or more. My concern is that if I cook it on low, too much water will remain mixed in with the fat and the tallow will not keep well if made into pemmican. On the other hand, I boiled it on a lower setting and for a shorter time than Lex's instructions stated, and it still smelled burned even though it looked very much like the pictures.

My plan is to render my next batch of tallow on a very low temperature so I can see, taste, and smell tallow that is for certain unburned. Then I will leave it out and see if there are any indications it is too wet (such as a fuzzy growth of mold). If it proves to be too moist, I will give the other method another try, this time with a candy thermometer. I can get a pound of beef suet for under a dollar, so I figure it is best to experiment with making good tallow before I begin making jerky and pemmican. I'd be mortified if I wasted an eye of round by mixing it in with bad tallow.

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