What is tallow, how do I prepare it, what is it used for, what recipes do I use it in, where can I buy it, and is it like an oil or butter? Don't worry, I'm here to explain everything about this specific beef or mutton fat! This guide will walk you through all of the answers to your questions about tallow.
What Is Tallow
Tallow (or suet) is an extremely versatile type of fat that is made from rendered animal fat. Tallow is made by taking beef or mutton fat or suet (the fatty area around a cow's kidneys) and cooking it down on very low heat until it melts into a liquid.
In this guide, I will be covering how you can make tallow, the benefits of using it while cooking, where to buy it, and the similarities and differences tallow shares with lard, oil, and butter. In general - why you need this beefy fat in your kitchen!
Uses Of Tallow
Tallow has been utilized in many different ways throughout history. It is primarily used in food preparation as an ingredient and cooking oil.
Due to the tallow's high smoke point of 420ºF (220ºC), it makes a wonderful oil to fry and saute food at high temperatures. Not only does it add a rich beefy flavor, but it also won't oxidize or become rancid during the cooking process.
Tallow is also used in the production of soaps, candles, lubricants, skincare, and even biodiesel! It is a great conditioner for skin, hair, leather, and wooden kitchen utensils.
What Does Tallow Taste Like?
Beef tallow has a distinct, rich flavor that is similar to butter or other animal fats. It adds a depth of beefy flavor to dishes that other vegetable oils and types of fat can't achieve.
There is a slight distinction in tallow's flavor depending on if the cow is grass-fed or grain-fed. But overall, it has a slightly savory, meaty, and mild taste.
How To Prepare Tallow
To prepare some tallow to use as your cooking oil, you need to first purchase some white beef fat from a local butcher shop. Then, you'll want to chill the fat so that it's easier to cut it down into smaller pieces.
You may use a sharp knife and cutting board to chop the fat down as little as possible or use a food processor for a quicker outcome. The fat will need to be pulsed until it has the consistency of ground beef. Then the fat will be transferred to a large stock pot to simmer for 4 hours on low heat.
Once it is heated fully to a liquid form, then the mixture needs to be strained through a fine-mesh strainer to remove any large chunks (or cracklings), and cheesecloth to remove any small pieces left over. Finally, the fat is stored in an airtight container or could be used right away.
Beef Tallow Recipes
You can use tallow to fry, saute, and bake any savory dishes that require cooking oil. To use beef tallow in cooking, you can simply add it to the pan or skillet along with your other ingredients and cook as usual.
Benefits Of Cooking With Tallow
Tallow is naturally packed with nutrients, especially if it comes from a grass-fed animal. Since beef tallow is an unprocessed fat, it helps your body absorb fat-soluble vitamins. It is rich in vitamins A, D, E, K, and B1. It is also rich in a wide variety of fatty acids and contains no carbohydrates. Tallow is also really popular with people that are eating organ meats and animal-based diets such as Ketovore or Carnivore.
Where To Buy Tallow
You may be able to find beef tallow in a jar at a specialty grocery store over a common supermarket. If you can't find any at the store, you could ask the butcher in the meat department if they have any beef fat scraps they can sell to you. Beef tallow can also be purchased online through major websites like Amazon!
Are Tallow And Lard The Same Thing?
Tallow and lard are extremely similar, the main difference is the type of animal these fats come from. Tallow is the rendered form of beef fat, while lard is the rendered form of pork fat.
Is Tallow More Similar To Oil Or Butter?
Beef tallow shares similarities to both oil and butter! In its liquid form, it looks very similar to cooking oil, specifically coconut oil.
As it hardens at room temperature, it shares the consistency of butter. Just like butter and oil, you can use tallow to bake pastries and piecrusts!
Place your beef tallow in a mason jar or airtight container to store in the refrigerator for 12-18 months. You may store beef tallow at room temperature for up to 12 months
Pour your liquid beef tallow into a baking dish lined with parchment paper. Allow the tallow to fully solidify and then cut into bars. Wrap the individual bars with plastic wrap and place them in a freezer-safe container for up to 24 months.
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If your tallow becomes dark in color, you most likely overcooked it. Tallow should be yellow in color and not brown. Always make sure to use low heat and to check on it every 30-40 minutes to avoid overcooking. You'll know that your tallow is finished when you have mostly yellow liquid and brown crispy cracklings on top.
If you are deep frying anything that has a bread or batter coating, you may reuse the tallow oil 3-4 times. It's acceptable to reuse oil at least 8 times for frying cleaner foods, such as potato chips.
No! You may store tallow at room temperature in a mason jar or an airtight container for up to 12 months before it would become rancid. Storing tallow at room temperature may be easier to scoop out what you need when you are ready to cook with it.
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What Is Tallow: How To Make Tallow (+ Everything You Need To Know About Using Tallow!)
- 3-4 lbs white beef fat (or suet)
- Cut your white beef fat into small chunks by using a food processor or sharp knife. *Make sure that there is no meat left on the fat.3-4 lbs white beef fat
- Place the fat chunks into a large stockpot and heat to a low simmer for 4 hours on your stove top. Check on it periodically and stir it every 30-40 minutes. You will notice small bubbles forming, but the fat should never come to a boil. If so, turn the heat down and stir well. Use a spatula to scrape the bottom of the pan when stirring to prevent any fat from sticking and burning.
- Remove the pot from the stove top when all of the fat becomes liquefied. *You should have all liquid and browned crispy cracklings.
- Allow your fat to cool for about 5 minutes. Next, strain your tallow through a fine-mesh strainer over a bowl to remove any large chunks. Strain the rendered beef fat again over a piece of cheesecloth to remove any final small pieces
- Use a funnel to place the tallow in a mason jar or airtight container to store it. *You may use the tallow immediately if desired.
- Make sure that your fat is chilled in the refrigerator overnight before rendering, it will be much easier to work with and cut.
- Trim off any meat, blood, or gristle before cutting it into small chunks.
- Shredding the fat in a food processor will make the rendering process much quicker. Pulse the food processor until the fat is the consistency of ground beef. If you don't have a food processor, use a sharp knife to chop the pieces as small as you can.
- To store: Place your beef tallow in a mason jar or airtight container to store in the refrigerator for 12-18 months. You may store beef tallow at room temperature for up to 12 months.
- To freeze: Pour your liquid beef tallow into a baking dish lined with parchment paper. Allow the tallow to fully solidify and then cut into bars. Wrap the individual bars with plastic wrap and place them in a freezer-safe container for up to 24 months.
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma's kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!