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Transforming Steak Fat: The Art of Making Tallow

Stop throwing away your steak fat and make tallow

Tired of throwing away the fat from your steak? Did you know that you can actually turn that fat into a delicious and versatile ingredient called tallow? In this article, we will explore how trimming the excess fat from your steak can not only enhance your eating experience, but also give you the opportunity to make tallow, a flavorful beef fat that can be used in a variety of ways. Let’s dive in!

The benefits of trimming fat

While the adage “fat is flavor” is true, biting into a chunk of slippery fat while enjoying a steak can be off-putting. By trimming excess fat from your steak, you not only improve the texture and flavor, but you also unlock the potential of tallow. Tallow is beef fat that has been rendered to remove impurities, similar to how pork fat is turned into lard.

Making tallow at home

Making tallow at home is a simple process that requires minimal effort. One of the easiest methods is to use an air fryer. After trimming a steak, dice the fat and cook it in a dry 400-degree air fryer. Check every five minutes until only crispy bits remain in the basket, while the liquid fat collects in the tray below. This liquid fat is your precious tallow. If you don’t have an air fryer, you can use a saucepan. Simply place the diced fat in a saucepan with a little water, which will help melt the fat without burning it. Once the water has evaporated, strain off the solids and voila! Your homemade tallow is ready to use.

Explore the uses of tallow

Tallow is a versatile ingredient that can enhance your culinary creations in many ways. Here are some exciting ways to use tallow:

Frying Foods

Tallow’s rich and meaty flavor makes it an excellent choice for frying foods. Many restaurants, including the popular McDonald’s before a recipe change in the 90s, used tallow to fry their famous French fries. Buffalo Wild Wings continues to fry both its traditional and boneless wings in beef shortening. By using tallow for frying at home, you can achieve that irresistible flavor and texture.

Baking Savory Pastries

If you enjoy making meat pies, quiches, or other savory pastries, consider rubbing frozen tallow into your dough instead of cold butter. This simple substitution adds a delicious depth of flavor that enhances the overall flavor of your baked goods.

Enhancing Salad Dressings

Tallow can also be added to salad dressings to add richness and a distinct beefy flavor. Experiment with different ratios and combinations to find the perfect balance of flavors for your salads.

Elevating Popcorn

Forget about using regular oils on your popcorn. Instead, drizzle melted tallow over freshly popped kernels for a burst of richness. The result is a satisfying and indulgent snack that will keep you coming back for more.

Discovering the Underrated Ingredient

Chef and food TV icon Nigella Lawson has called tallow the most underrated ingredient, and it’s easy to see why. With its high smoke point, super-beefy flavor, and multiple culinary applications, tallow is a valuable addition to any kitchen. By using the fat from your steak to make tallow, you not only reduce waste, but also open up a world of culinary possibilities.
So the next time you enjoy a juicy steak, don’t throw away the fat. Turn it into tallow and let your culinary creativity soar. From frying to baking and everything in between, tallow will become your secret ingredient for adding depth and flavor to your dishes. Embrace the possibilities and start making the most of your steak fat!
– Mash: Stop Throwing Out Your Steak Fat and Make Tallow


Can I use any type of steak fat to make tallow?

Yes, you can use the fat from any type of steak to make tallow. The fat from different cuts of steak will contribute to slight variations in flavor, but they can all be rendered to make delicious tallow.

Is tallow safe to eat?

When properly rendered and stored, tallow is safe to eat. The rendering process removes impurities and helps preserve the fat. However, as with any ingredient, it’s important to handle and store tallow properly to maintain its quality and prevent contamination.

Can I store tallow for a long time?

Absolutely! Tallow has a long shelf life when stored properly. It should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. This will help prevent oxidation and extend its shelf life. Properly stored tallow can last for several months.

Can I reuse tallow for cooking?

Yes, tallow can be reused several times for cooking. After each use, allow the tallow to cool, strain out any food particles, and store properly. Before reusing, make sure it is free of any off odors or signs of spoilage.

Can I use tallow in sweet baking recipes?

While tallow is commonly used in savory dishes, it can also be incorporated into certain sweet recipes. Keep in mind, however, that tallow has a distinct beefy flavor that may not complement all sweet treats. It is best used in recipes where a subtle hint of beefiness can enhance the overall flavor profile.

Can I replace tallow with other fats or oils in recipes?

Yes, tallow can often be used to replace other fats or oils in recipes. However, it’s important to consider the flavor and smoke point of tallow when making substitutions. Experiment and adjust accordingly for the best results in your dishes.

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