Making your own beef tallow is a great way to use extra fat trimmings from a brisket or other parts of the cow. The beef tallow makes for a delicious substitute for oil or butter, and it tastes amazing. It’s quite easy to make and if you follow along, I’ll show you How to Make Beef Tallow in your own kitchen.
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What is Beef Tallow?
“Tallow” is a fancy name for rendered fat. Specifically, beef tallow is beef fat that has been cooked down with impurities removed. Tallow is a liquid when heated and a solid when cool, making it a great substitution for oil and butter in recipes.
Tallow used to be used much more often until vegetable shortening and other oils became mainstream, but there is no reason why it can’t be used when cooking at home. It’s also a great way to use up all those trimmings leftover from Trimming a Brisket to get the most bang for your buck when purchasing a whole packer brisket.
Beef tallow is extremely versatile. In the past, it was often used in making candles, soaps, skin products, and much more. For those of us into BBQ, beef tallow is a great item to have on hand for cooking as it’s packed full of flavor that brings a different element to sautéed veggies and cooked potatoes.
Tools for Making Beef Tallow
Making beef tallow is not difficult, but there are a few items and tools you’ll need to have on hand to help you achieve that gorgeous, smooth beef tallow as a final product. I’ve linked a few of the things you’ll need to assemble prior to rendering the tallow.
- 16-quart stock pot. The fat cooks down in a stock pot, and I recommend you use a bigger pot that you think you’ll need. You don’t want any fat splashing on your countertops or stove top, believe me.
- Fine mesh strainer. Make sure you have a pretty fine strainer on hand to strain all the large pieces of meat and other impurities that don’t cook down with the fat.
- Funnel. A funnel is a must-have when doing the final straining into your storage jar(s). Any funnel will do here. I linked a funnel/strainer combo so you can snag both and have less items to purchase for making this tallow.
- 100% cotton cheesecloth. Cheesecloth is the best item to use to do the final straining, but if you don’t have any on hand, you can also use a coffee filter or paper towel.
- Wide mouth mason jars. A wide mouth mason jar makes the perfect jar for storing your tallow. The wide mouth makes it easier to get the tallow in and out, and it’ll store nicely in the fridge.
How to Render Beef Tallow
Once you have all your tools gathered, you’re ready to render some beef tallow! Do not be intimidated by this process! Once you’ve tried it, you’ll find it’s pretty straightforward.
- Add the beef fat to a stock pot. Gather the beef fat in a large stock pot, and heat to a low simmer. Low and slow temperatures while you render or the fat will result in a browned tallow with a funkier flavor, and it won’t be as white when it cools.
- Slowly simmer to render the beef fat. During the cook time, you will notice the fat slowly starts to render and cook. There will be a light simmer and small bubbles forming during the cooking process, but you don’t ever want a rolling boil. If your rendered fat starts bubbling too much, reduce the heat and stir well.
- Strain. Straining is important. Impurities won’t taste great and can cause the tallow to spoil faster, so make sure to strain twice. The first strain is in a fine strainer to remove any large pieces, and the second uses cheesecloth, a coffee filter, or a paper towel to get all the final small pieces removed.
- Use or store. You can use this immediately. It will remain a liquid until cooled where it will turn solid and white. Once you have your beef tallow cooked down and strained, store it in a lidded glass jar or container in the fridge for up to 3 months.
Beef Tallow Recipes
Now that you’re ready to render your own beef tallow and use it in your baking, try it out on these recipes. If the recipe doesn’t call for beef tallow specifically, you can use it in place of oil or butter.
- Skillet Potatoes. This recipe calls for cooking the potatoes in beef tallow, and oh, baby, are these the best potatoes you’ll ever have.
- Reverse Seared Steak. When making a tasty reverse seared steak, try searing the steak in some tallow for extra flavor!
- Homemade Cornbread. You can use this beef tallow in place of butter in most recipes. Try substituting for the butter in this recipe for a killer flavor.