How to Make Grass Fed Beef Tallow

How to Make Grass Fed Beef Tallow

I use grass fed tallow a lot in my cooking. I choose it because it is a saturated fat, has a high smoke point and has great health properties (and, of course, I have plenty at hand!) What is Tallow you ask?  Tallow is the rendered suet fat from cattle or sheep. It creates super crispy hashbrowns and roast vegetables that are delicious.

What is suet and what is rendering?

Suet is the firm fat from around the kidney area of cattle (or sheep kidney fat is also classified as suet).  To ensure the health properties that come with tallow, choose suet from grass fed animals, as the feed type alters the fat makeup.

Rendering fat is the process of melting it and then straining it to remove any impurities. The resulting cooled tallow is then stable and can be conveniently stored in the cupboard at room temperature – when done so in a sterile airtight container.

Suet has a high smoke point, which makes it a healthy option for frying as it won’t denature unless cooked at quite high heats. We supply it in bags of approximately 2kg with the suet having been put through the mincer, which makes it easier to package and quicker to melt for you.

I render my suet in my slow cooker, but it could also be done on a very low heat on the stove top or in the oven. Just ensure a gentle heat – don’t boil it.

Place the suet into the slow cooker on a low heat and leave it until it has all melted. You will have pure, clear melted golden fat, with crunchy or solid bits on the bottom of the pot and some floating on the top.

Sterilize some jars while the suet is melting.  To do this, place clean glass jars in a cold oven and bring the temperature to around 120oC – leave for 20 minutes.  I place my lids in a saucepan of water and boil the water for around 10 minutes (as some lids have a film on them that will melt if placed in the oven).

Once the suet has all melted, remove any impurities with a slotted spoon and discard (or give to your dog).  These are connective tissues, blood vessels etc. Pour or spoon the remaining clear liquid through a cheesecloth lined sieve into the jars (please be careful!). Place the lids on while the liquid is hot. If you’ve ever made jam, chutney etc, you will know that as the jar contents cool, the lid on the jar will be sucked down, creating a seal and helping to maintain the freshness of the contents.

As the tallow begins to cool it will also solidify and change from a golden yellow colour to a lovely creamy white.

The tallow can be stored in the cupboard for months. Once opened, store it in the fridge.  Note that it can be quite firm after being in the fridge, so if you can choose a squat jar with a wider opening as it is easier to get the suet safely out of. (I did drive a butter knife through the side of a jar trying to get some out a while back! I find a spoon safest now. Choose jars with thicker glass sides if you have them.


Cooking with Tallow

I use tallow wherever I can and it makes sense flavour wise – so browning meat for casseroles, frying eggs, making hash browns for breakfast (grated potato cooked in tallow) – super crispy!

I roast vegetables in tallow in the oven. I put a few big chunks in the pan and place in the warm oven to melt it, then take the pan out and toss vegetables in it and roast at 200oC. (Sweet potato, beetroot, onion, leek, potato, parsnip, swede, carrot). Generous cracks of pepper and a good sprinkle of sea salt, along with some stripped rosemary and thyme leaves. This makes lovely crispy roast vegetables.

If you have an old pudding recipe of your grandmothers, it may call for tallow or suet in the recipe. The reason it is requested in pudding recipes is that it has a higher melting point than butter or vegetable oils, so when grated and placed in a pudding mixture, the mixture around the suet will begin to cook or set before the tallow melts and loses form. The tallow will then eventually melt and cook into the ingredients around and will leave a small air pocket in its place, leaving a light, airy and spongy pudding (according to who had a great blog on tallow).  Another reason for using tallow in your Grannie’s pudding, was also, obviously that they had it readily available.

If there’s one negative of suet making – it’s the pot cleanup! It requires lots of suds and very hot water, with this tipped out in the back yard, as you likely don’t want excess fat down the sink.  You may find at the end of the cleanup process however, that the skin on your hands feel wonderfully nourished from the tallow on them.  If you liked the feel, you could try making this tallow balm, as a treatment for dry, or cracked hands.

Take 1 cup melted tallow, ¼ cup olive oil and 48 drops lavender oil (or try sandalwood or tea tree) and place into sterilized jars.  I also added 3 vitamin E capsules that I had, as it’s good for skin healing. ie. capsules meant as oral supplements. This is not essential. Stir and place into sterilized jars. Your hands may feel somewhat greasy for 5-10 minutes after applying, but I find it worth it as it’s really nourishing if my hands become particularly dry.

You can order our grass fed suet in bags of around 2kg (which makes around 5 decent sized jam jars of tallow).  It is $10/kg. It is only available as an add-on to one of our hampers. Please email if you have any tallow questions and hopefully I can answer them.  I might explore the health properties of tallow in detail in a future post.

Happy tallow making!

Kirrily x