How to Make Beef Tallow

Video beef fat butter

Making your own beef tallow is a great way to use extra fat trimmings from 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.

Beef tallow in a glass mason jar with text overlay - How to Make Beef Tallow.

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.

Beef fat cooking in a large stock pot.

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 fewer 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.
See also  Tri-Tip Steak: Tips from the Butcher

Strainer of cooked beef fat over a bowl of rendered beef tallow.

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.

  1. 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.
  2. Slowly simmer to render the beef fat. During the cooking 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Glass mason jar of rendered and strained beef fat.

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.
See also  8 Tips for a Successful Deer Drive

Overhead view of chilled beef tallow in a glass mason jar.

Homemade Beef Tallow Recipe

This recipe was created for you, backyard griller! Here at Hey Grill Hey, we’re in the business of helping you make better BBQ, feed the people you love, and become a backyard BBQ hero. You can find more of my smoking and grilling recipes here on my website (browse the Homepage for inspiration) on Instagram, YouTube or our Facebook Page.

This post was originally published in October 2020. We recently updated it with more information and helpful tips. The recipe remains the same.

Previous articleRuger Mark IV 22/45 Review: Sheer Fun [Tested]
Next articleThe Fastest .308 Win. on the Market?
Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>