When I started my carnivore diet seven years ago, I wanted to find a more flavorful alternative to vegetable oil, and beef tallow seemed like the perfect option for me.
Over the years, I discovered that it’s a traditional ingredient used in many classic recipes and also widely recognized for its many health benefits.
I have perfected my methods for making beef tallow, and today, I will share my secrets on how to make it in your kitchen.
- To make beef tallow, obtain beef suet, trim it, melt it over low heat, strain the liquid fat, and allow it to cool and solidify before storing.
- Beef tallow is a cooking fat alternative to vegetable oil with a long shelf life.
- Beef tallow is rich in vitamins, minerals, and healthy fatty acids.
Selecting the Right Beef Fat
The first step in making beef tallow is choosing the fat. The best beef fat for rendering into tallow is called suet, the hard fat surrounding the animal's kidneys.
Suet has a high melting point, which makes it perfect for cooking at high temperatures.
If you cannot get suet from your local grocery stores, your local butcher should be able to help you. However, you can use other beef fat trimmings if you cannot find suet.
Just make sure the beef fat trimmings are clean and free of any other impurities.
Ensure the beef trimmings you choose are fresh, with minimal blemishes or signs of discoloration. And if you want to end up with grass-fed beef tallow, read the label and purchase accordingly.
Preparing the Beef Fat for Rendering
Before rendering suet, it is essential to prepare it properly. First, remove the connective tissue and as much meat as possible from the fat trimmings.
Rinse the beef trimmings thoroughly with water and cut them into small pieces with a sharp knife, meat grinder, or food processor. This will help the fat render more quickly and evenly.
I find it helpful to freeze the fat before grinding it because it makes the process easier. You should also be sure to remove any blood or blood spots from the fat, as this can cause an off-flavor in your tallow.
2 Methods for Rendering the Beef Tallow
A beef tallow recipe has three primary methods for the beef suet rendering process: oven, stovetop, and slow cooker.
1. Oven Method
To render beef tallow in the oven:
- Preheat your oven to 225°F.
- Place the small prepared beef trimmings in a large Dutch oven or oven-safe pot.
- Cover the pot with a lid and place it in the oven.
Cook for about an hour to an hour and a half or until the fat has melted and there are no remaining impurities. Monitor the tallow every 20 minutes to ensure that it doesn't burn.
2. Stovetop Method
The stovetop method is a straightforward method. Place the beef trimmings in a large stockpot or Dutch oven and enough water to cover the fat. Simmer on medium-low heat with a lid for about an hour or two.
As the fat renders, it will separate from the water and form liquid tallow. Skim off any impurities and continue to cook until all the fat has melted and there are no more impurities.
The final temperature of your tallow should be 230°F. Once you reach this temperature, turn off the heat and let it sit for half an hour.
Also Read: Making Your Own Stovetop Smoker
Straining and Storing the Beef Tallow
Once the beef fat has rendered into tallow, it is important to strain it to remove any remaining fat solids or impurities. In fact, straining is so crucial to the final taste that I usually do it twice.
Place a fine-mesh strainer over a large bowl or measuring cup and pour the liquid tallow through the strainer. You can also use cheesecloth, a coffee filter, or a paper towel in your fine-mesh strainer to ensure the final product is free of any impurities.
"A mainstay of traditional, authentic cooking, beef tallow is on trend for flavor and sustainability."
- Eric R. Gustafson, CEO, Coast Packing Company
Once strained, pour the finished tallow into an airtight container. Store tallow in a cool, dark place. Mason jars with wide mouths make excellent containers for storing clean tallow and other solid animal fats. Using a funnel while transferring the liquid fat will help to prevent spills.
The final product should have the consistency of coconut oil and the appearance of pure white tallow.
Although shelf stable at room temperature, refrigeration can keep the beef tallow fresh for up to three months. Another effective way is to store it in the freezer, which can extend its shelf life up to a year.
However, if you notice an unpleasant odor, it's a sign that the beef tallow has gone bad and should be discarded immediately.
How to Use Beef Tallow
When it comes to using tallow in cooking, it is key to note that it has a high smoke point. This makes pure tallow an ideal cooking oil for high-heat applications such as frying.
In fact, homemade beef tallow is an excellent alternative to traditional vegetable oils when deep-frying. It has a mild flavor that won't overpower others in your food.
So, delicious tallow is popular for raw vegetables, fried chicken, and home-style french fries.
Additionally, because it is a solid fat, rendered tallow can help to add richness and flavor to dishes such as roasted vegetables or mashed potatoes. Use it in place of butter or oil and enjoy the subtle beef flavor it adds.
It is also a popular choice for baking and making pastries because it creates light, flaky layers in the dough. Lastly, tallow can be used as a spread, much like butter or margarine on toast or baked potatoes.
Health Benefits of Beef Tallow
Homemade beef tallow is a natural, unprocessed fat that contains monounsaturated fat and saturated healthy fats .
Studies have shown that not all saturated fats are created equal, and the ones found in beef tallow may actually be beneficial for our health.
These saturated fats can help increase good cholesterol levels, reduce inflammation, and improve insulin sensitivity.
Additionally, tallow contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which has purported anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.
Furthermore, beef tallow is an excellent source of fat-soluble vitamins, including vitamins A, D, E, and K .
These vitamins are essential for maintaining healthy skin, eyes, and bones, as well as supporting the immune system and regulating blood clotting.
Tallow contains many beneficial properties for the skin, such as vitamin E, which is an antioxidant that can help protect the skin from damage caused by free radicals.
Beef tallow makes an ideal base for products like balms and creams because the skin absorbs it quickly.
Can You Make Beef Tallow From Any Beef Fat?
You can make beef tallow from any beef fat, but traditionally tallow comes from the rendered beef fat around the kidneys. This fatty material is called suet.
Is Beef Tallow Just Lard?
Beef tallow is not just lard, although both are animal fats. Tallow is made by rendering beef fat, whereas lard is made from rendered pork fat. While both can be used for cooking and baking, beef tallow has a higher smoke point than pork fat, and therefore it is more suited for high-heat cooking methods such as frying.
Making Beef Tallow the Right Way
Making your own tallow is a simple process that requires only a few easy steps. With its exceptional shelf life and high heat point, homemade beef tallow is an excellent replacement for olive oil, chicken fat, and butter while providing multiple health benefits.
If you think that making your own beef tallow is a hassle and want to find a reputable supplier, make sure to check our review of U.S. Wellness Meats.
This meat delivery company sells a wide range of organic meat and meat product, including premium-quality tallow and suet.