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Not sure if I should be posting this here, or in crafts, LOL.
I make venison sausage, and I have a Kosher friend I wanted to make some for... so I found some beef suet at a nearby abitoire. For those who don't know, suet isn't merely beef fat. It's the fat around the kidneys, and has a chunky, waxy texture. So, I cleaned, ground and rendered it. Then I read online that rendering (and straining) three times gives you tallow. Each time it is rendered, it becomes more dense, I guess.
I knew candles were made of tallow. Then I read that tallow used in frying is actually good for you, thanks Sally Fallon! It will sustain a higher heat than any other fat/oil and when cool, can be strained again for re-use. Plus, it's shelf-stable. Granted, you don't want to fry onion rings or chicken in it all the time.
So, part of my tallow will make a candle or two to try; some I will save for onion rings, and some will go for suet cakes for the birds. BTW, suet is very high in winter nutrition for the birds.
Here's part of it... still needs a third rendering.
In the oven @ about 225ºF. It renders quickly if run through a meat grinder (or chopped finely). You can do it on top of the stove... one way says to add 2 cups of water to a skillet, and use medium heat. I decided the oven (and no water) was safer.
So it sounds like the added water is used to extract the water soluble component of the suet from the fat portion. Hmmmm...interesting.
When we make medicated oils, we first make a water decoction of the plant material, and then add that to the oil and cook off all the water. The oil absorbs into the skin more readily when it has been medicated in this process. Considering that water is a universal solvent, I wonder if it restructures the fat molecules in some fashion. This makes me wonder what transpires in the oven such that added water is not needed.
Speaking from my experience (purely personal) I prefer water because without it the tallow or lard tends to toast which results in a different flavor. The cracklings interfere with the purity of the rendering.
If you're using tallow or lard in cooking, you may find the waterless (dry) rendering results in a more intrusive flavor which makes pie crust or other recipes less appealing.
You might want to check with your friend before you go to too much trouble. People keep kosher to different degrees. If your friend just avoids pork, there's no problem, but if he or she really keeps kosher in the traditional sense, there's no way they could eat the sausage. If they're ultra-orthodox, they might not even be able to bring it into the house.
To be kosher, all meat products have to be from animals slaughtered according to ritual procedures under rabbinic supervision. They also have to be handled in a prescribed way after slaughter, using equipment that is ritually clean. No milk products or derivatives can be used with the meat, and only certain parts of the animal can be used at all. I'm not sure the fat around the kidney can be made kosher.
Since I don't keep kosher myself, I'm not familiar with the nitty-gritty, just the broad outlines. It gets pretty complicated.
Thanks, Emily. I knew some of that, having been engaged to a Jewish fellow long ago (and raised in a largely Jewish sector of Miami before it became Cuban). They don't keep strict Kosher but it now doesn't matter as they are moving far away... So, the birds get a double treat!