Now I’m not sure what rendered goat fat is called… Lard? The internet doesn’t yield the answer. Anyone know?
My husband and kiddoes butchered a goat last weekend. B. came in the house and asked me what I wanted before they hung it or gave the innards to Areli (our dog), and I said, “The fat, the heart and the liver.” The heart and liver I plan to add to other meat dishes to boost nutrition. The fat was destined for rendering and a multitude of cooking uses: definitely frying, perhaps pastries, and possibly soap. I hear that goat fat makes very hard soap.
I have rendered beef tallow before, and this followed the same process — except this goat fat was so white and clean. The finished product needed no straining. I was able to ladle the melting fat right into muffin tins, which I froze in quart size bags when hardened. My mom tipped me off to freezing small chunks in the freezer, which she learned from my grandmother and namesake, Tata Wardee.
How to Render Goat Fat (or any animal fat)
Ideally, cut up the fat into small chunks (how small? anywhere from 1/4″ cubes to 2″ or 3″ chunks). Or you can skip that and put the sheets of fat right into the crockpot or pan. If you skip this, it is possible the process will be longer, require more stirring, or less completely render. But it’s all good. I read that women used to render big pieces of fat in big iron pots outside over a low fire, using big wooden paddles (source).
On low, allow the fat to begin melting. As it melts, ladle it into waiting containers, through a strainer if necessary. Your containers can be mason jars, baking trays, muffin tins, or ice cube trays. Tip the pan as needed to fill the ladle.
Gently stir the fat in the crock or pan to make sure all pieces are getting equal heat treatment. Repeat the ladling, stirring and heating until all the melted fat is released. If you have more fat, you can keep adding it as there is room. You’ll know you’re done when all that remains are “cracklings” — yummy, crunchy leftovers.
Using a crockpot is more hands-off; just an occasional stir is all that is necessary in addition to the ladling off of melted fat. Using the stovetop requires that you be present and stir more — but the process is much faster. Either process can be smelly (like a deep frying smell), depending on the type of fat. Some people use their crockpots or electric roaster pans outside or on a porch to keep the smell out of the house. I found that this very clean goat fat was hardly smelly at all; much less than the tallow I’ve rendered.
For best results, keep rendered fat in cool storage or freezer. Use for: pastries, frying and deep-frying (like these tortillas chips), or soap.
Conventional wisdom has got fats all wrong. Don’t be afraid of saturated fats; we need them. Before processed vegetable oils, healthy, traditional cultures had only the fats from animals, coconut and olive. (I am trying to think if there were any other obscure fats this doesn’t cover. Any way, you get the picture. ) These people were healthy and free of modern diseases. In our classes and on this blog, we use healthy fats frequently — from biscuits and muffins, to frying tortilla chips, to eggnog and cheese, to making and enjoying cultured butter, to peppermint patties, and beyond.