Before entering into the world of real food you most likely never heard the words beef tallow before. Lard yes, beef tallow no. That is unless you’re:
- Really interested in history.
- Went to cooking school.
- Getting on in years ;-).
So I thought we’d talk a little about beef tallow, what it is and how to use it.
What is Beef Tallow?
Beef tallow is to beef what lard is to pork. In other words it’s a rendered saturated fat from beef. For centuries people have been making their own lard and beef tallow at home so the process of rendering is very simple unlike solid fats commonly found in the grocery store. These shortenings are highly refined and denatured fats that have been through a process called hydrogenation. Virtually all of the fats, particularly solid fats available in the supermarket are hydrogenated. They have a shelf life of many many years, some say decades. These fats are very, very bad for you and are to be strictly avoided (More detail on this in the links below). Beef tallow is an easy replacement for these fats in your cooking.
What do I use Beef Tallow For?
Lots of things, it’s a real staple in our home! So far I haven’t had much luck acquiring non-hydrogenated lard so this is my main cooking fat. The story of lard will have to wait for another day :-). I use it at the stove for most situations where a little oil is needed. I use it for deep frying like in my beef tallow french fry recipe or for frying chicken. You could use it in place of shortening for biscuits and pastries though I generally use butter.
Where to Get Beef Tallow
There are three primary ways to get your hands on some beef tallow:
- Buy it from a local rancher/farmer.
- Buy the fat from a butcher/processor and render it yourself.
- Order beef tallow online.
I’ve opted for the last choice since my farmer doesn’t sell rendered fats. I did however receive the fat from the beef I bought this spring and plan to give a go at rendering my own using the crockpot method mentioned below. I order mine from Amazon. They can send it in small jars or a big 1 gallon bucket.