You’ve probably heard the word Tallow but aren’t sure what it is. Well, it’s simply beef fat that has been rendered (cooked down) to remove any impurities. Tallow is a liquid when heated and a solid when cooled.
Tallow is a traditional fat that has been used for centuries. Vegetable oils came onto the scene and pushed it out of many kitchens. Thankfully it has been making a comeback as more and more people turn to homesteading and traditional diets.
Why Beef Tallow?
Beef tallow is very versatile, it is can be used in cooking, making candles, soaps, skin products, and much more. Beef tallow makes for a delicious substitute for oil when cooking. It tastes better and is a much healthier option despite what we’ve been told!
Beef tallow is rich in vitamins A, D, E, and K, which are excellent for your skin. It is more stable than processed vegetable oils and has a high smoke point. And the best part is you can grow, harvest, and render tallow right in your kitchen!
Where to Get Beef Fat
If you raise your own beef, you can easily ask your butcher to keep the fat for you. If you don’t raise your own beef then you can look for local farmers who do and ask if they have any extra fat to sell or call your local butcher and ask them. In some states it may have to be labeled “not for human consumption” but rest assured it is safe to use, here in FL we have to label for pet consumption on some farm products, like raw milk.
What You Need
- Beef Fat
- Stock Pot (the bigger the better so it’s not splashing all over your kitchen.)
- Strainer and/or Cheesecloth
- Widemouth mason jars for storage
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How to Render Beef Tallow
- Chop your beef fat into chunks or run it through the food processor. The smaller the pieces, the faster it will render.
- Add your beef fat to a large stock pot or slow cooker. Begin melting at a very low heat until you bring it up to a simmer. You DO NOT want it to boil.
- Keep it at a low simmer. This can take hours.Keep an eye on it.
- Stir occasionally and make sure it isn’t burning. As it renders impurities will float to the top.
- It is done when the bottom is filled with liquid and there are crispy bits on top.
- Strain it, twice. You want to get all the impurities out as possible! You can line your colander with a cheesecloth for this.
- Pour it into jars to cool completely for storage. You want your tallow to cool to a nice white color. You can also pour it into pans lined with parchment paper and chop into bars once cooled.
Your tallow can be stored in the pantry, refrigerator and even the freezer! I like mine in the fridge and it will keep this way for a year or more.
Now you get to use your tallow! Experiment with cooking, try making a balm with essential oils for dry skin, and much more!