Rendering Beef Tallow the Fast and Easy Way

by Sarah healthy fats, VideosComments: 84

rendered beef tallow

Beef tallow is hands down my favorite fat to use for frying even more than lard.  It is ideal for this purpose as it has less than 3% polyunsaturated fats, just a bit less than coconut oil. What’s more, if your beef tallow comes from a cow finished on grass or given grain for a very short period of time (a few weeks at the most) before processing, a good share of those polyunsaturates are in the form of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), that fatty acid that you should seek to add to your diet as it helps builds muscle, assists with weight loss and drastically reduces cancerous tumor risk to name just a few of the health benefits.

The majority of beef tallow is approximately 55% saturated fats and 40% monounsaturated fats which are both very heat stable and do not easily produce free radicals when heated unlike liquid vegetable oils.

Tallow is not just any old beef fat, however.  It is the rendered form of suet, which is that nutrient rich beef or mutton fat around the organs, particularly the kidneys.

In this newest video lesson, I show you how to render beef tallow from an intact piece of suet straight from a local, grassbased farmer.

Start to finish, this video shows you exactly what you need to know to produce several jars full of deep yellow tallow, rich in Vitamins A and D –  those critical fat soluble vitamins prized by Traditional Societies for their importance in bestowing maximum vitality to both young and old.

Another notable monounsaturated fat that is present in high amounts in beef tallow is palmitoleic acid, which is highly antiviral and antibacterial.  So fire up those healthy french fries on your stovetop using beef tallow.   With flu season coming on, consumption of plenty of beef tallow will serve to help keep you well in the coming cold months.

Please note that tallow is solid at room temperature and keeps well in the pantry, but I choose to refrigerate as this is my personal preference.  In my experience, rendered beef tallow will keep many, many months in the refrigerator.

How to Render Beef Tallow

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

Comments (84)

  • Mack

    what about rendering fat from large cuts of beef? I cook large beef briskets a few times a year. several I get several pounds of fat from trimming the cut.

    June 5th, 2016 10:55 am Reply
  • Elsa perry

    Hi, I was wondering if I could use the fat from my bone broths (marrow or soup beef bones) for body butters or frying? I will be buying tallow next time I go to farmers market. Thanks for your video and sharing the information.

    May 23rd, 2016 9:13 pm Reply
  • Sarah Green

    Thank you for the video, Sarah. I am ordering some beef fat from a farmer I know so I can render it for deep frying. In your video the tallow was in the oven at 200 degrees for 9 hours. Is that how long it should be in the oven? You mentioned when putting it in the oven that there would be lots of little steps, but it seemed very simple… Did I miss something?

    July 28th, 2014 12:25 pm Reply
  • Gunda Chapman via Facebook

    ,

    May 4th, 2014 5:29 am Reply
  • Karla Von Fumetti Staudt via Facebook

    I just recently rendered some beef tallow – WOW. What flavor.

    May 3rd, 2014 10:13 am Reply
  • Lisa Michelle Durey via Facebook

    I recently made my own from organic grass fed suet. To buy it would have cost a bomb but rendering my own cost me about $12 to fill my deep fryer…messy business tho!

    May 3rd, 2014 6:47 am Reply
  • Angela Campagna via Facebook

    http://www.grasslandbeef.com/Detail.bok?no=878

    May 3rd, 2014 1:34 am Reply
  • Kimberly Harrison Bass via Facebook

    Kalda Harris

    May 2nd, 2014 9:11 pm Reply
  • Roger Stiefel via Facebook

    They changed after they were sued by vegetarians that wanted to eat their fries.

    May 2nd, 2014 8:08 pm Reply
  • Mary Stoy via Facebook

    Oh, thanks. That is what my grandmother used. Makes great fried chicken!

    May 2nd, 2014 6:09 pm Reply
  • Mary Stoy via Facebook

    Is tallow the same as lard?

    May 2nd, 2014 5:55 pm Reply
  • Dorie Gamble via Facebook

    I use it for making soap. Don’t eat a lot of fries.

    May 2nd, 2014 5:08 pm Reply
  • Aurelie Cous via Facebook

    yes i come from France near the belgian border (where fries where invented!!!) and we always made them with beef tallow!!!

    May 2nd, 2014 4:59 pm Reply
  • Rebecca Gill via Facebook

    I worked for McD’s when they still used beef tallow. Unfortunately they fell to the pressure of a so-called heart doctor that believed that animal fats were bad. My guess is he had a huge investment in vegetable oil companies and forced a lot of fast food to switch over.

    May 2nd, 2014 4:29 pm Reply
  • Amish Country Foods via Facebook

    I agree! Its absolutely the BEST way to fry fries! 😉

    May 2nd, 2014 4:25 pm Reply
  • Becky Nicklas via Facebook

    Oh man, I would so try this. I know it would be awesome for frying.

    May 2nd, 2014 4:20 pm Reply
  • Helen Rosner McDonald via Facebook

    just be careful of the source… animal fat is good for us…. it’s the veggie oils that are bad….

    May 2nd, 2014 4:04 pm Reply
  • Kinzie Bader via Facebook

    The lack of good fats in our diets have led to all sorts of health problems. Some nutrients are fat-soluble, so without fat, the body cannot absorb them. Butter your veggies, and throw out that margarine! :)

    May 2nd, 2014 4:03 pm Reply
  • Joe Anstett via Facebook

    I recently bought a bag of sheep fat for .32 cents a pound (I live in Peru). My wife’s family (Peruvians) all think that I’m crazy. They don’t like the smell and everybody says that sheep fat is dirty and really bad for your health, about the worst fat you can buy. Pig fat is acceptable, but not sheep fat.
    Best of all, it comes from sheep grazing on grass at 13,000 – 14,500 feet.
    (The traditional way to eat is to eat all the fat. The idea that sheep fat isn’t healthy is recent.)
    Does rendered sheep fat smell bad?
    Is the rendered fat healthier than the solid fat that is left over?
    Do you know anybody that would want to import it to the USA? (I don’t know anything about exporting, but it seems like a good idea. Although teaching Peruvians to not throw it away would be more ethical.)

    May 2nd, 2014 3:59 pm Reply
  • Terri Martin-Marier via Facebook

    That’s is supposed to be god for you? I thought in all fat was bad.

    May 2nd, 2014 3:57 pm Reply
  • Dianna Brittain via Facebook

    interesting

    May 2nd, 2014 3:47 pm Reply
  • Donna Kislingbury Clyde via Facebook

    Miller’s Organic Farm in PA sells it. They’re a private buying club.

    May 2nd, 2014 3:46 pm Reply
  • Jennifer Huntington via Facebook

    FYI Michele Pleasants :)

    May 2nd, 2014 3:22 pm Reply
  • Antonia Nemec via Facebook

    Still looking for a source- (are the laws screwy or what?) but I cant wait to try this!

    May 2nd, 2014 2:44 pm Reply
  • Judy Simon via Facebook

    Ashley Abrams Moyer

    May 2nd, 2014 2:39 pm Reply
  • Dale

    Hi Sara

    I just successfully made my first batch of beef gelatin.

    My question is…All the fat that hardened on the
    top of the gelatin…is this tallow too?

    February 13th, 2014 11:50 am Reply
  • Deb

    HI Sarah~

    THANK YOU so much for making the video! I just received some fat from my Rancher this morning, went looking for some good instruction and found it on your website. Lucky me! It was very informative, answered several of the questions I had and I ended up with about a pint and a half (from 2 lbs of tallow) of beautiful yellow tallow that solidified to a wonderful creamy white. Doing it in the oven was so easy. Thanks again, I’ll be back for sure! 😉

    January 11th, 2014 6:51 pm Reply
  • Stacy

    I purchased a grassfed cow this fall and the small country butcher didn’t save the fat for me. When I requested it, they gave me a bag but its origin is unknown. Very slim chance it is grassfed. Would you pitch it (or give it away if possible), or would you use it? I fear the cow may have been 100% conventional gmo-grain fed.

    January 9th, 2014 1:37 pm Reply
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  • Rebecca

    Does anyone know: I just got two huge sacks of what I thought were tallow, but it is already cut into chunks. Does this mean it’s actually fat just cut off from other parts of the meat? Or maybe the butcher was really nice & cut it up for me? How can I tell what kind of fat it is?

    February 17th, 2013 11:12 am Reply
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    December 1st, 2012 1:46 pm Reply
  • Sara

    Thanks! I am on Gaps and don’t eat potatoes. How else would you recommend using the tallow?

    November 18th, 2012 3:12 am Reply
  • Carrie

    Hi Sarah, I tried this and while I did get quite a bit of tallow from the chunk of suet I had, all of it didn’t melt down like yours did, and I still have a lot of large chunks left that, instead of turning to liquid are just getting dried out in my oven. Did I do something wrong?

    November 5th, 2012 9:45 am Reply
  • Mandyb

    We just started to get tallow from my farmer. Yum, what a great way to oven fry potatoes! I grew up in England, and my grandmother used to always make what she called suet puddings. They couldn’t get butter during the second world war, so they would grate suet into the rice pudding, etc. I believe what she called suet was the fat from the kidneys. Both my grandmothers lived well into their 90’s. There is definitely something to be said for all that lard and tallow/suet, and very little white flour and sugar. Keep Calm and Grate the Suet! (Also, steak and kidney pie is probably not a dish for folks who didn’t grow up eating it – the only thing I couldn’t get my husband and kids to eat. I love it!)

    October 30th, 2012 7:49 pm Reply
  • Katrina Achin Fontes via Facebook

    Will you adopt me? :)

    October 29th, 2012 12:14 am Reply
  • Spook Hetherington via Facebook

    depending what you eat with it…

    October 24th, 2012 10:54 pm Reply
  • Kenneth Gardner

    Tallow is also a nourishing food for skin care! The following page shows how to make your own tallow balm!:
    http://www.vintagetradition.com/how-to-make-tallow-balm-at-home.php

    October 24th, 2012 4:09 pm Reply
    • Aimee

      That website is awesome – I was a bit off-put at the possible smell but after reading it, I will definitely try this!

      October 24th, 2012 9:38 pm Reply
  • DaNelle Wolford

    Okay Sarah, I just have to say thank you! This could not have come at a better time! We have been urban farming for about 3 years and in a couple weeks we’re going to butcher our 7 month old lamb(he’s huge by the way) and I had no idea I should do this. I lost 25 lbs. about a year ago after switching to a whole foods diet, but I feel like your website has opened my eyes to the other things I need to do to complete my diet. The problem is although I lost weight, I still feel sick as ever with my chronic issues. Anyway, I just wanted to see if you could tell me if there’s anything else I should save from our lamb butchering so I can be sure and get all I can from it! Thank you again!

    October 24th, 2012 3:53 pm Reply
  • Heather Curran

    Never mind. I should have watched the video first! my question is answered.

    October 24th, 2012 2:59 pm Reply
  • Heather

    I am getting some fat tomorrow…stupid question, can you render any beef fat? Does it have to be the fat around the liver…I’m new to rendering!! :)

    October 24th, 2012 2:09 pm Reply
  • thehealthyhomeeconomist via Facebook

    @Sheila thanks :) Butter and tallow beat botox any day of the week. LOL

    October 24th, 2012 12:00 pm Reply
  • Kbee

    Thanks for this helpful video, Sarah! As I’m just beginning to “get in touch” with my food, especially meats, I would have liked to have seen a couple of minutes of your chopping away the fat. It may seem very obvious to you, but I’m not sure what a kidney looks like and would be unsure of how to cut around it. I guess you can probably tell by the color and texture difference, but it would be nice to see it in a video before being faced with it on my kitchen counter.

    October 24th, 2012 11:23 am Reply
    • Marlena

      I agree. Would have like to see a bit of that too.

      October 24th, 2012 10:19 pm Reply
  • Tori L.

    Is there any reason not to mix animal fats when you are rendering them? I have a little bit of tallow and a few chicken skins both stuck in my freezer until I got around to rendering them. Any reason why I couldn’t mix them?

    October 24th, 2012 11:17 am Reply
  • Jennifer Amey Fletcher via Facebook

    I did this for the first time last year – and WOW! The only way to fry potatoes!

    October 24th, 2012 11:06 am Reply
  • Stanley Fishman

    Actually, grassfed and grass finished meat can be wonderfully tender and delicious, without any grain finishing. I wrote two cookbooks to prove it!

    It all depends on how you cook it, and getting good meat.

    Personally, I only eat one hundred percent grassfed and grassfinished meat, because we prefer it to everything else.

    October 24th, 2012 10:59 am Reply
    • Kim

      I am put off by the smell… I bought 1/2 calf last year and all year I tried and tried to get used to it. It was slightly gamey to me and smelled funny. I gave a few cuts to friends who eat grassfed beef to see if it was my meat that was weird– they loved it and so clearly, it must be me! I’m not sure what to try next but I don’t want to commit to buying that much beef again until I know I like it. I used a grassfed cookbook but it wasn’t the problem– it was the weird smell.

      October 26th, 2012 11:00 am Reply
      • Judith Y.

        As far as the funny taste and smell… many butchers age the beef by hanging it at slightly above freezing temps for 10-15 days. Aged meat develops that off flavor and we do not like it. We ask the butcher to cut it up ASAP. Usually 2-3 days. Never had an off flavor since.

        April 6th, 2013 4:09 pm Reply
        • Lynne

          If the aged beef has a funny smell, the cooler was not being kept cold enough. We have processed from one to three bulls/steers a year (between us and our son’s family). We used to ask to have the beef hung for 4 weeks. But the butcher’s cooler was not staying cold enough (when you bring warm carcasses in there, it warms up the cooler). So we went to three weeks but it still was too long for a cooler that wasn’t staying cold all the time. Now we have them hang it for two weeks and that’s working ok for now. We would really rather have it hang longer,especially with bulls, but that’s the way it is for now. We have goats processed regularly, as well, and we have them hang for a week. No funny smells or taste. These are grassfed animals, too. I think the grain fed animals get the funny smell sooner…

          April 7th, 2013 12:02 am Reply
          • Lynne

            Just some background on myself – my parents owned a grocery store when I was growing up and I worked in the meat shop most of the time. After I got married, I worked in a slaughter house for a while. We also butchered our own animals at home (cattle ranch) for ourselves. After we moved to another state to homestead (1980), we did all of our own butchering (including sheep) for many years. Then we started using a local family owned processor for the cattle but we still did all of our own chickens, sheep and goats. Now we do all of them at the processor’s – easier to let them do it. Except the chickens – we do one or two when we want chicken noodles or something. My husband has been butchering since he was a kid, too. If the cooler is staying close to freezing, your beef should be able to hang for four weeks without any trouble…

            April 7th, 2013 12:07 am
  • Sheilla Paige via Facebook

    You look amazing in your video, Sarah! That butter and beef fat have treated you well! So much for the low-fat craze so many of us have fallen into!

    October 24th, 2012 10:33 am Reply
  • Dea Warskow via Facebook

    How timely, I just got about five pounds of beef far from my share of a cow.

    October 24th, 2012 9:08 am Reply
  • Brandie Pupi via Facebook

    I know you mentioned suet in the video but can you explain the difference b/w suet and tallow? I have suet from a cow in my freezer and wondered if I can use the same process in your video to render it??

    October 24th, 2012 8:24 am Reply
  • Mae Day via Facebook

    I just rendered some lard last night! :)

    October 24th, 2012 6:55 am Reply
  • Rafael Aspiazu via Facebook

    When I make bone broth from beef bones I get this fat layer on top after putting it in the refrigerator.

    Can I use this fat for cooking?
    What’s the name of this fat then?

    October 24th, 2012 4:38 am Reply
  • Al Lucero via Facebook

    Will pick some up on the next farmers market trip! Great article by the way on oxalates and candida. No clue it worsened the problem.

    October 23rd, 2012 11:42 pm Reply
  • Jennifer Holdridge Black via Facebook

    Matt Black

    October 23rd, 2012 10:12 pm Reply
  • An Organic Wife via Facebook

    I’ve been rendering beef tallow for a few months now, but I do it on the stove! It’s the most economical healthy fat when you do it yourself! For me it comes out to about 3¢ an ounce.

    October 23rd, 2012 10:10 pm Reply
  • Leilani Luna via Facebook

    Thank you!

    October 23rd, 2012 10:02 pm Reply
  • Megan B

    I’m wondering if fat from Bison would be okay to use. Most of the local beef producers around me say there isn’t enough fat on the cows to sell for tallow. But I can get Bison fat from animals raised in the mountains on grass. Thoughts?

    October 23rd, 2012 9:43 pm Reply
    • Stanley Fishman

      Megan, I think bison fat is absolutely wonderful, and great for cooking!

      October 24th, 2012 12:14 am Reply
  • Nathalie Fraise via Facebook

    Great! Thank you for posting. Hopefully many of those traditional fats will come back in people’s kitchens.

    October 23rd, 2012 9:35 pm Reply
  • thehealthyhomeeconomist via Facebook

    Weird .. FB posted this twice!

    October 23rd, 2012 9:24 pm Reply
  • Moses Goldstein via Facebook

    yummy!

    October 23rd, 2012 9:14 pm Reply
  • Delia Carper Garcia via Facebook

    we’re butchering pigs on Friday and rendering lard next week. :)

    October 23rd, 2012 9:11 pm Reply
  • Jennifer Boles via Facebook

    I have grass-fed beef tallow. Sometimes the smell is a little off putting, but the taste is wonderful.

    October 23rd, 2012 9:10 pm Reply
  • thehealthyhomeeconomist via Facebook

    @Helen lucky you!

    October 23rd, 2012 9:10 pm Reply
  • thehealthyhomeeconomist via Facebook

    @Anita Awesome … hope you find the video helpful. You will be delighted how easy it is. I’ve tried different ways to render tallow over the years and the way I show in the video is hands down the best for a busy Mom.

    October 23rd, 2012 9:09 pm Reply
  • Helen Kyriacou Rainey via Facebook

    Thanks again healthyhomeeconomist! We use tallow all the time to fry stuff. I cheat though and buy it, already rendered, from my Amish farmer!

    October 23rd, 2012 9:09 pm Reply
  • Anita Messenger via Facebook

    Thank you! I have some beef suet in the freezer that I need to do…

    October 23rd, 2012 9:07 pm Reply
  • Amy West via Facebook

    Camille McConnell we should look into this!

    October 23rd, 2012 9:06 pm Reply
  • Kim

    Oh, I can definitely do this (I think!)! Thank you, Sarah! Kris has the other half– we will have to make a day of it and render it together. I can’t wait to make my french fries tomorrow. I just picked up some beautiful organic russet potatoes yesterday. I’m so glad I didn’t waste that suet!

    On a separate note, I’m so glad you posted about the finishing of the beef with grains. The beef I had, I’m fairly certain, was not finished on grains, but I think I would prefer the taste/smell of beef that is. I’ll need to explore my options on where to get some. Thanks again for this video!

    October 23rd, 2012 7:15 pm Reply
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  • Becca

    My understanding is that even a few weeks of finishing on grain will undo most of the favorable fat profile in grass fed beef. 100% grass fed and finished is the best way to go.

    October 23rd, 2012 2:06 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Not true. If you look at the chart on eatwild.com a couple of weeks does not greatly reduce the nutrition at all and you gain a lot of tenderness to the meat and it’s much easier to cook without it turning into shoeleather. I know I will probably have many disagree on me about this – which is of course fine – but I prefer my grassfed beef finished for 2 weeks on grain.

      October 23rd, 2012 2:33 pm Reply
      • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

        Here’s the chart. 14 days on grain reduces omega 3s for example by about 16%. Not much to me for the huge increase in enjoyability of the meat.

        http://eatwild.com/healthbenefits.htm

        October 23rd, 2012 2:36 pm Reply
        • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

          The great thing about buying local is that you can get your cow finished any way you darn well please. If you want it 100% grass finished, you can do that. If you want it finished for just a bit on grain like me, you can do that too. The point is to avoid conventional beef which is fed GMO grains for months and there is so much lost nutritionally that it becomes practically a different food group!

          October 23rd, 2012 2:40 pm Reply
          • Janelle

            Yes and in fact the reduction in the heat sensitive omega 3’s is better for frying, I once tried to use beef tallow that was from very healthy cattle and it smoked well below 350 which should not happen to such a saturated fat.

            October 23rd, 2012 8:21 pm
          • Marlena

            I would love to ave access to grass fed beef. But I don’t know of any resources in my area. :0(

            October 24th, 2012 10:12 pm
      • Lynne

        Feeding some non-GMO grain for a couple of weeks to a grassfed beef is ok as long as it’s just part of the diet instead of nothing but grain…like they do in the feedlots. Make sure that the animal is still getting all of the good grass they want to eat. Personally, we don’t feed any grain to our cattle. We have a 2 year old steer right now that is available for sale that is completely grassfed and looks wonderful! What the grass looks like is important to finishing a grassfed animal, as well. Early spring grass is high protein and full of sugar. The grass we have growing right now is the same – we had a bad drought for months and then the rain came so the grass is springing up like it does in spring and the cattle are putting on weight like crazy. If you butcher a grassfed beef after he’s been eating drought/summer stressed grasses, the meat won’t be as good as the higher protein/more tender grasses. Pasture rotation can help with that, too, but most people don’t do that (we do). Remember how people used to wait to butcher their hogs after they knew they’d been feeding on acorns in the fall? Good stuff! We eat goats, too. Getting ready to send several young wethers to the butcher this weekend (some are still nursing their mothers even though they are almost as big as their mom). The grassfed goat meat is wonderful! I love the stewmeat. Even the chops are good – keep the heat low and slow and use some good fats like coconut oil/butter (I mix them) to cook it in. The stewmeat is mild and tender. Same for the lean beef – keep the heat as low as possible when cooking and put some good fat with it. And certain breeds of cattle are also better than others for tenderness…age of the animal is also a factor as is sex (steers are more tender than bulls but we like bull meat – more flavor).

        October 23rd, 2012 9:23 pm Reply
  • Mercedes

    Hi Sarah –

    What about the beef fat that one pours off from making beef stock? While maybe not officially considered “tallow,” do you still use this fat for sautéing/frying?

    Thanks!

    October 23rd, 2012 12:52 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      This plain beef fat that you can peel off the top of chilled beef stock is great for sauteing but I have not had much luck frying with it. The fries just don’t get crispy like they do with tallow. Tallow blows regular beef fat away in the frying department.

      October 23rd, 2012 12:57 pm Reply
      • marge201

        Thanks, Sarah, for this. I searched for “tallow” and it brought me here. It was suggested to me on another blog that the thick layer of solid fat that appears in each bowl of strained and refrigerated bone broth is tallow and is healthy. But that person is clearly uninformed. I throw it away. It’s curious, though, that I never see “strain/refrigerate/discard the solid fat” as part of bone broth recipes. Same thing (but less solid fat) before I started buying beef bones and just used chicken and turkey carcasses, I threw it out. When sauteing or roasting, I’m happy using coconut or avocado oil. But the people who skip the refrigeration step and freeze the strained broth, boy, they are getting tons of added fat. I will pass!

        January 17th, 2015 9:56 pm Reply

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