Making Your Own Tallow (Rendered Beef Fat)

By Paleo
In Paleo Recipes
Apr 16th, 2012

Tallow is rendered fat, usually from beef (fat rendered from pork is called lard). Rendering simply means you are melting the fat down. Tallow is a great addition to a paleo kitchen because it’s resistant to damage caused by heat, so it’s  great for cooking a variety of paleo foods and recipes. Tallow is more heat-resistant than coconut oil, olive oil and lard, because it is high in saturated fat.

It’s possible to buy tallow, but it can be expensive, so it may be more economical and beneficial to make your own.

To begin, you’ll need raw fat, from a cow- preferably a grass-fed cow. It’s possible to call butchers at health food grocers to see if they have any on hand, or you could call local ranches. You can get fat from a regular butcher, but if you’re following a strictly paleo diet, you’ll need to ensure you’re not getting the fat from a grain-fed cow.

After obtaining the cow fat, the next step is to cut it up into pieces that are as small as possible, ensuring that you remove as much of the meat as possible. Once you’ve removed the bloody portions and the meat, you can place the fat in a food processor, to make sure the pieces are as small as they can be. By making sure your meat is in as small of pieces as possible, you’ll be ensuring that the meat cooks evenly. It’s also very important when rendering fat to make sure you remove all the bits of tissue because these parts will burn when cooked, and destroy the purity of the fat.

After cutting the meat, place it in a big pot. A thicker pot will probably work best for this, because it will allow for the most even distribution of the heat. Turn the heat on the lowest setting, and cover the pot. The fat can take several hours to melt fully, and during the cooking process you should stir it with a wooden spoon every thirty minutes, to make sure nothing is sticking to the pot.

After all of the fat has melted, place a metal strainer in a big glass bowl, and cover it with cheese cloth or a paper towel. When tallow cools, it generally has a solid, white appearance, similar to butter, but with hints of gray. You can use your homemade tallow to cook eggs, meats, stir-fries and other recipes. The tallow generally has a savory flavor, so keep that in mind when considering which recipes to use it with.

2 Responses to “Making Your Own Tallow (Rendered Beef Fat)”

  1. I noticed your post because you mentioned coconut oil.

    I always used large amounts of water when I was rendering tallow. I have an eleven liter (2 gallon) pot into which I heaped “soup bones” that had as much fat as meat and added water – leaving it to simmer for five or six hours.

    After it had cooled overnight, I would roll up my sleeves, and lift the disk of fat off the top of the rest. It was about ten inches diameter and often three inches thick.

    Then I’d squelch my hands through each super tender bit of meat to detect and remove the bones, and cook it up again with other ingredients to make stew.

    After that I’d put the fat back in the emptied pot and fill it to about an inch of the top with water. After the fat had melted I’d stir it vigorously with a wooden spoon to try to get the fat and water thoroughly mixed. I suppose you could also use a blender.

    That washes the fat. You let it cool, lift out the cake of fat, scrape the thin layer off the bottom that is less than pure white, and I had a large disk of pure white tallow.

    That was the easy part. Finding a source of fat from grass-fed animals is a lot more difficult.

  2. OC says:

    Simply wish to say I enjoyed this article. Thanks!

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