By Christie Vanover | Published March 2, 2023 | Last Updated March 4, 2023
So you’ve trimmed up a beautiful brisket to get it ready for the smoker and you’re left with a bunch of trimmings. You paid good money for those extra bits, so let’s put them to good use and make fresh beef tallow.
What is beef tallow?
Beef tallow is the product you get when you render beef fat until it reaches a liquid form. When this process is followed with chicken fat, you get schmaltz, and with pork fat, it’s called lard.
Tallow, like other animal fat, has been used for centuries in cooking as a way to both use up every cut from the animal and to add rich, umami flavor to dishes. It can be used in place of vegetable oils for frying and sautéing and in place of vegetable shortening for baking.
Brisket Beef Fat: When you trim your brisket, separate the fat pieces from the meat. You will notice that there are two types of fat on the brisket, a hard white fat and a softer pinker fat. You can include both in this recipe.
Use the brisket trimmings right away to make your own tallow, or freeze the fat for up to six months and render it at a later date.
If you don’t make brisket regularly, but still want to make natural tallow, talk to your local butcher and ask them if they can sell you beef fat. It doesn’t have to come from the brisket cut.
While the leftover fat is great for tallow, the leftover meat is fantastic for making ground brisket for amazing burgers.
How to render beef fat to make tallow
- STEP ONE: Cut the beef fat into 1-2 inch cubes. Place them in a large sauce pot on the stove over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring every 20-30 minutes.
- STEP TWO: It will take about 3 hours for 2 pounds of brisket fat to render. After the first hour, you will see the liquid fat start to pool in the bottom of the pot.
After the second hour, the beef pieces will be about halfway covered with the liquid tallow. By the third hour, the pieces will almost be fully submerged in the tallow.
PRO TIP: Rendering beef fat is a slow process. You want the fat to sweat out of the meat. You don’t want to cook the pieces too fast. Have patience and stir occasionally, so the heat is distributed evenly and the bottom pieces don’t brown too quickly.
- STEP THREE: Once the beef pieces have shriveled up and released the majority of fat, you’ll be left with crispy bits of beef. Strain them from the pot and set them aside.
PRO TIP: The crispy bits of beef left after rendering the fat are edible. They’re similar to chicken gribenes, which is the crispy fat you get after making schmaltz. Sprinkle with a little salt and enjoy in moderation. Remember, they are fat, so it’s not healthy to eat a whole bowlful at once.
- STEP FOUR: Next, it’s time to strain the tallow. Place a strainer over a large pitcher and pour the liquid into the pitcher through the strainer. This will catch all of the brown bits.
- STEP FIVE: Use the pure tallow right away or pour it into a glass jar or another type of airtight container to store it. Allow it to cool to room temperature before adding the lid.
How to store beef tallow
Rendered beef tallow can be stored in an airtight container in a cool dark place like your pantry for up to 1 month. If you store it in the refrigerator, it will last for at least 6 months, and you can freeze it for up to a year.
You’ll know if it’s gone bad when you open it. If it has a rancid, bitter aroma, you’ve waited too long to use it and should throw it away.
When tallow is stored at room temperature, it will harden from its liquid state, but it will still be soft enough to scoop out a spoonful.
If you store tallow in the refrigerator, it will harden. You can still use a spoon to scrape some out, but it will take a little more effort. Leave the tallow on the counter for about 30 minutes and that will make it easier to scoop.
How to use beef tallow
Beef tallow can be used like cooking oil when frying or it can be used in place of vegetable shortening in baking recipes. It has a high smoke point of about 400F degrees, making it similar to vegetable and corn oil.
I love using beef tallow when cooking burgers. I use tallow in my viral burger recipe, by brushing a little on the griddle before laying down the patties. You can also use a teaspoon or two in a skillet to sauté vegetables or to sear a steak.
Beef tallow is awesome in baked goods like my Tender Buttery Flaky Homemade Biscuits and in my recipe for The Best Flaky Pie Crust for Sweet and Savory Pies.
And next time you want to fry up a batch of french fries, onion rings or egg rolls, heat up a pot of delicious beef tallow. The flavor difference is amazing.
Next time you make smoked brisket, add a little bit in your wrap with your mop. It helps ensure the brisket flat is extra juicy.
GCG Pro Pitmaster Tips
- After trimming a brisket, you can make tallow right away or freeze the fat trimmings for later
- Cut the beef fat into 1-2-inch cubes for even rendering
- Render over medium-low heat for 3 hours
- Strain the rendered fat, so it’s free of beef bits
Frequently Asked Questions
Wagyu beef tallow is made by rendering down beef fat that comes from a wagyu breed cow. You follow the same rendering process as you would with beef fat from any other breed of cattle. Wagyu beef does have more fat and tends to taste a little richer.
You can also make grass-fed beef tallow by starting with beef that eats a pure grass diet.
Beef tallow is a fat. Like all fats, it’s okay in moderation. Any fats that harden when cooled like vegetable shortening, animal fats or even coconut oil do contain more saturated fat than liquid fats like vegetable oil and olive oil.
If you’re following a cholesterol-lowering diet, using monounsaturated fat may be a better option.
Beef tallow will last for up to 1 month in a sealed container in your pantry, up to 6 months in your refrigerator and up to a year in your freezer.
Technically, no. Tallow is shelf stable and can be stored in an air-tight container in a cool dark environment like your pantry for about a month.
If when you open it, it has a rancid, bitter aroma, it’s time to toss it. Prolong its shelf life dramatically by storing it in the refrigerator.
Recipes that use beef tallow
How to Make Beef Tallow
- 2 lbs beef brisket fat
- Prep: When trimming a brisket, separate the fat pieces. Cut those into 1-2-inch cubes.
- Render: Place the cubes in a large pot on the stove over medium-low heat. Render for 3 hours, stirring every 20-30 minutes.
- Strain: Remove the crispy bits of meat from the pot with a slotted spoon. Place a strainer over a pitcher. Carefully, pour the rendered beef fat through the strainer into the pitcher.
- Jar: Pour the strained beef tallow into jars. Allow to cool. Cover and refrigerate.
This estimate was created using an online nutrition calculator
Leave A Comment