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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
How to make Beef Tallow
- 3 lb brisket fat
- 1 cup water
- 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.