Making Use of Excess Beef Tallow


For chefs of successful kitchens, avoiding waste is never far from mind. One beef byproduct that has extensive potential is strained and rendered fat—or tallow.

Prior to the popularity of vegetable shortening, tallow was once commonly used in both home and commercial kitchens where fat from trimmings was cooked and collected to be used in the future. While tallow is an excellent ingredient substitution, it can also be used to craft auxiliary items which can be gifted to guests or sold as another source of revenue.

Rendering Your Tallow

  1. Add your fat trimmings into a stock pot.
  2. Simmer on your stovetop low and slow. The portions of fat will melt into a liquid state.
  3. After all remaining pieces of beef are brown and crispy, remove from heat and let cool.
  4. Strain out all large and small pieces, collecting liquid tallow in a sealable container.
  5. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Using Excess Beef Tallow

“Usually, if you’re preparing your own roast beef or prime rib, you’re going to get some rendered fat,” says Chef Stephen Giunta, Culinary Director at Cargill. “Most chefs throw fat in the trash, but there are a million things you can do with it.”

Excess beef tallow is an excellent substitute for oil or butter when cooking steak, frying potatoes or sautéing vegetables. Chef Stephen encourages getting creative with it. “I know of a chef in Chicago who took liquid beef tallow, hit it with liquid nitrogen and made a fluffy crumble—like a white snow that tastes like roasted beef tallow. It was unbelievable.”

A tallow crumble like that doesn’t have to stay within your restaurant walls. Package it and give it out at the end of a meal as a unique experiential gift, or sell it as an additional form of revenue. “Your guests can sprinkle it on popcorn, homemade potato chips or steak fries,” says Chef Stephen.

Beyond the plate, some use beef tallow for handmade soaps, equipment lubrication or even candles. “One of our food scientists at Cargill used tallow to make beef tallow candles. He melted the tallow and poured it in flexible trays, put the wick in, put it in the freezer and you have candles. And when you light them, they melt and smell great.”

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