Beef tallow has been around for ages. It’s often used in traditional and specialty cooking… but what exactly is beef tallow?
Let’s take a closer look at how beef tallow is made, its benefits, how to cook and bake with it, and more!
What is beef tallow?
Beef tallow is a type of rendered fat that is derived from the fatty tissue of cattle, particularly from suet, which is the hard fat found around the kidneys and loins.
It is a traditional cooking fat that has been used for centuries in various culinary applications.
The taste of beef tallow is rich, savory, and slightly beefy. It adds a distinct flavor to dishes, making them more flavorful and enjoyable. Its particularly tasty in dishes like roasted potatoes, fried chicken, and pie crusts.
How is beef tallow made?
To produce beef tallow, the fat is first separated from the other tissues, such as muscle and connective tissue.
It is then heated and melted down, and any impurities or solids are removed through straining or filtering.
The resulting liquid fat is cooled and solidifies into a creamy-white, firm consistency.
What’s the difference between beef tallow and lard?
Beef tallow and lard are both types of animal fats commonly used in cooking.
The main difference lies in the source: beef tallow comes from cows, while lard is derived from pigs.
In terms of taste, beef tallow has a rich, savory flavor, whereas lard has a slightly milder taste. Both fats have similar characteristics and can be used interchangeably in many recipes.
Benefits of beef tallow
One of the advantages of beef tallow is its simplicity. It’s made solely from beef fat without any additives or preservatives. This makes it a natural and clean option for those who prefer to cook with minimally processed ingredients.
Beef tallow also doesn’t contain any common allergens, such as dairy, soy or nuts, making it a safe choice for many individuals.
Beef tallow contains slightly less saturated fat and more unsaturated fat compared to butter. It’s also a rich source of vitamins A, D, E, and K.
Beef tallow nutrition facts
Here’s a breakdown of the nutrition facts for beef tallow per 1 tablespoon (15 mL) serving:
|1 tbsp (15mL)
The primary fat source is bolded.
How to cook and bake with beef tallow
Beef tallow has a relatively high smoke point, typically around 400°F, which means it can withstand high temperatures without breaking down and smoking. This makes it suitable for frying, roasting, and sautéing.
Beef tallow is also commonly used in traditional dishes, such as Yorkshire puddings, pastries, and flaky pie crusts, as it can add a rich, savory flavor and a moist texture. In my experience, beef tallow makes some of the best crispy French fries that pair perfectly with a nice grilled steak cooked in beef tallow.
For a real treat, try using wagyu beef tallow for your next smoked brisket – it’s a game changer!
For baking, look for unbleached, odorless, and high-quality beef tallow. This will help ensure that the flavor of the tallow doesn’t overpower the other ingredients in your baked goods. Of course, if you want a truly neutral fat, vegetable or shortening may be a better option.
For baking, look for unbleached, odorless, and high-quality beef tallow. This will help ensure that the flavor of the tallow doesn’t overpower the other ingredients in your baked goods. Of course, if you want a truly neutral fat, vegetable oil or shortening may be a better option.
Ways to use beef tallow
Beef tallow works beautifully in the following dishes/recipes:
- Searing steaks and other meats
- Smoked brisket
- Making flaky pie crusts
- Sautéing onions and other aromatics
- French fries
- Roasted potatoes
- Yorkshire pudding
- Fried chicken
- Fish and chips
- Biscuits and gravy
- Beef empanadas
How to make beef tallow at home
Making beef tallow at home is a pretty straightforward process.
Here’s a simple recipe:
- Start with beef fat. Trim off any meat or connective tissue, and cut the fat into small pieces.
- Place the fat in a heavy-bottomed pot or slow cooker.
- Heat the fat on low heat, stirring occasionally, until it melts completely.
- Continue to cook the fat on low heat for several hours until the liquid fat separates from the solid residue.
- Strain the liquid fat through a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth to remove any impurities or solids.
- Let the beef tallow cool and solidify before transferring it to an airtight container for storage.
How to store beef tallow
Beef tallow lasts a VERY long time. It can last up to a year at room temperature, 18 months in the fridge, or even longer when frozen!
Just be sure to keep it in an airtight container in a cool, dark place to maintain its quality and watch out for the signs it has gone bad.
What are the best substitutes for beef tallow?
Lard (rendered pork fat) is very similar to beef tallow in terms of flavor and how it acts in cooking. It’s the best all-around substitute for beef tallow.
You can also use schmaltz (chicken fat) for regular cooking… but for high heat, I recommend ghee, which has a higher smoke point than beef tallow, lard, and schmaltz.
However, if you want a more neutral flavor for baking, vegetable shortening is a great choice.
Beef tallow is great for cooking and frying as a flavorful and high-temperature cooking fat.
Beef tallow, like any fat, should be consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet. While it contains saturated fat, it also offers various nutritional benefits when used as part of a well-rounded diet.
No, beef tallow and lard come from different animal sources. Beef tallow is made from beef fat, while lard is made from pork fat. They have similar characteristics and can be used interchangeably in many recipes, but their flavors may differ slightly.
While beef tallow has a rich and savory taste, it doesn’t taste exactly like butter. However, it can be a delicious substitute for butter in many recipes, adding a unique flavor and enhancing the overall taste of the dish.