How to Make Beef Tallow

Make the most of those precious brisket trimmings, by rendering them down to make a mild beefy flavored tallow.
cold beef tallow in a jar

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Beef tallow (aka liquid gold) makes a great substitute for butter or oil and is really easy to make at home. 

All you need is the fat from brisket trimmings, so nothing goes to waste from that piece of brisket you purchased.

With just a few steps you can have delicious tallow in a few hours. 

Homemade Beef Tallow!

What is beef tallow?

Tallow is rendered beef fat. Not to be confused with lard which comes from rendered pork fat. 

Beef tallow was commonly used in the 1970s until vegetable oil gained popularity. It has recently made a comeback as research has shown it is a healthier and more natural option than vegetable oil. 

Besides any health benefits, tallow is delicious to cook with and is a great way to avoid waste. 

What can you use beef tallow for?

Beef tallow can be used in many different cooking applications.

Due to its high smoke point, 420°F to 480°F, it’s commonly used to fry food like chicken wings or french fries. Beef tallow mild beefy flavor and is an excellent replacement for many oils and butter. 

Using tallow in bbq 

Beef tallow has become increasingly popular in the BBQ community not only to use in cooking but especially when smoking brisket. The idea is that by adding more fat the brisket will stay moist and taste amazing.

Some of the ways beef tallow is used in BBQ:

  • Injection: I have seen tallow injected straight into the flat of a brisket to keep it from drying out during the smoking process. 
  • Wrapping: Sometimes when wrapping brisket people take warm tallow and pour it over the beef as it glosses the surface and makes it look shiny and juicy. I’ve done that several times and my briskets always turn out pretty good! 
  • Binder: I have also seen people use tallow as a binder instead of using a neutral oil or mustard to allow the rub to stick to the meat. 

How to make beef tallow 

Some people make smoked tallow while smoking their brisket which seems like a tasty option, but for our version, we’ll cook it down on the stovetop.

aluminum tray with brisket fat
You can also freeze the leftover fat each time you make brisket and then make one big batch of tallow. 

You will need at least two to three pounds of beef fat. When I trim a full packer brisket, I usually end up with between two to four pounds of fat. 

Take a stock pot and add one cup of water and the beef trimmings.

water being poured into a stock pot
raw fat in a stock pot

Cover and cook on low to medium heat for about 2-3 hours.

Make sure you stir every 20-30 minutes as the bits on the bottom could burn. The key is to take your time and not burn the fat or beef attached to it.

rendered fat in stockpot being stirred with tongs
The reason I like to use a little bit of water is to ensure the rendering process is slowed down and the fat does not burn on the bottom of the pan.

The heat will slowly render the beef fat, separating it from the meat it was attached to. 

The beef fat will start to render down and eventually, the water will evaporate, leaving you with liquid tallow and chunks of beef that have separated from the fat. 

rendered fat in a stockpot

Once the fat is rendered, I like to remove any big chunks of meat with tongs. Then I strain it to ensure all the little bits are completely removed and all you are left with is pure tallow. 

You can use cheesecloth or even a coffee filter, but I simply place a few sheets of paper towel over a strainer and then pour the contents of the pot into it.

jug with paper towels as sieve with rendered fat in it
jug with paper towel sieve with sediment in it

After a few minutes, the beef tallow will drip through the strainer, leaving any other bits behind. If need be, strain twice to make sure everything is completely removed. 

warm tallow in a mason jar
While the tallow is still warm, it will be a golden brown color,
cold tallow in a mason jar
when it cools down and hardens it turns cream or white like lard.

How to store tallow

Once I have separated and strained the tallow, I place it into a jar with a lid and store it in the refrigerator.

You can store beef tallow in a sealed container for several weeks or up to a few months.

When I want to use it, I just take a scoop out with a spoon as I would butter. If I’m using it as a binder or to pour over my brisket and need it as a liquid, I just take my jar out of the refrigerator for a bit until it melts down. 

Beef Tallow Recipe

beef tallow recipe

How to make Beef Tallow

Use up those brisket trimmings by rendering them down to make beef tallow.
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 30
Calories: 387kcal
Author: Jordan Hanger

Ingredients

  • 3 lb brisket fat
  • 1 cup water

Instructions

  • Place one cup of water and the beef trimmings in a stockpot. Cover.
  • Cook over low to medium heat until the fat has rendered down, around 2-3 hours, stirring every 20 to 30 minutes to avoid sticking.
  • Once the fat has rendered down, remove the large pieces of meat with tongs.
  • Place a few sheets of paper towel over a strainer and then pour the contents of the stockpot into it letting the fat drip through to remove sediment.
  • Pour into a jar, seal with a lid, let it cool down before storing in refrigerator.

Video

Homemade Beef Tallow!

Nutrition

Calories: 387kcal | Protein: 1g | Fat: 43g | Saturated Fat: 24g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 31mg | Sodium: 4mg | Potassium: 7mg | Calcium: 1mg | Iron: 0.1mg
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10 Comments

  1. Do you do anything interesting with the larger pieces of meat that are separated from the rendering fat?

    1. Jordan Hanger says:

      We just discard them.. you could try to snack on them but I don’t think they will be very good

  2. Randal Rowland says:

    5 stars
    Has anyone tried rendering this down in an InstaPot (Pressure Cooker) instead to reduce the cook time? I am thinking 30 minutes on high pressure might do it. I make a lot of my own bone broth in the IP and cook the bones for 4 hours to get all the collagen out of the bones.

    1. Jordan Hanger says:

      Hey Randal, I heard you can do it in an InstaPot but never have. If you try let us know how it goes!

  3. Interesting. I use quite a bit more water, and I don’t cook the water out. I strain the fat/meat out and put it in the fridge to separate. The oil floats and the water and any remaining debris sink. Then I just pick the whole solid piece of tallow out of the container.

    1. Jordan Hanger says:

      When we make tallow, the water is long evaporated leaving just the fat. I think its easier this way and saves some time.

  4. You can even make soap out of tallow. When we have a beef butchered I make bone broth out of the bones like you I always hated throwing out the fat but then I found out you could make soap with it. I feel better about not wasting it and I don’t think the soap I make is as drying as the soap you buy.

    1. Jordan Hanger says:

      That’s great that nothing goes to waste!

  5. I have been doing this for years. I cut the fat into 1 in wide by about 2 in long thin strips and place them on a heavy cooling rack over a foil pan. The tallow picks up the smoke. Add that to my brisket when I wrap in foil, basically basting in it’s own fat. The fat crackling I grind down to bacon bit size pieces and add some to green beans for a little smoke flavor.

    1. Jordan Hanger says:

      That’s a really unique way to do it but sounds great!

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