How to Render Beef Tallow - Texas Recipe Workbook (2024)

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Step-by-step instructions follow after the discussion below.

As with pork lard, enormous amounts of beef fat that could otherwise be rendered into tallow gets dumped in the trash every year.

People do this for varying reasons. Some don’t understand how easy it is to render into tallow, and some believe that its more unhealthy than it actually is.

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I won’t get into detail about whether or not it’s healthy or unhealthy and to what degree. I will say that some research into the subject may surprise you, especially with the evolving science on saturated fats.

I will say that saturated fats are, without question, better than the artificially created trans-fats that are introduced into your diet through the industrial sludge pumped out by giant mega-corporations.

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Fat is Gold, Don’t Throw it Away

Let’s talk about the waste, though, especially for Texans who love to cook brisket. Before writing this post, I found a 17.5-pound prime brisket on sale at HEB. After trimming it and leaving about a 1/4-inch fat cap, I had a 5-pound pile of fat and a 12.5 pound trimmed brisket.

I turned that 5-pound pile of fat into 3 pounds of tallow and 4 cups of beef cracklins. Considering that beef tallow can sell for anywhere between eight and twelve dollars, that’s quite a bit of savings.

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Throwing all that away is wasteful.

Keep in mind that the best fat for rendering into tallow is the leaf fat that can be found near the cow’s kidneys. It has a much milder flavor than the fat trimmed off a brisket. I don’t mind that beefy flavor since I primarily use rendered lard in dishes that need a milder flavor, not beef tallow.

I generally save my beef tallow for beef-based recipes. Beef seared in beef tallow is better than beef seared in vegetable oil (do you know which vegetables are used to make vegetable oil?).

Also, keep in mind thatprimebrisket generally comes with a more significant amount of fat thanchoiceorselectbrisket. If you don’t have enough beef fat to render, just freeze what you have and add to it as you trim beef for other meals.

It freezes well and will be ready for you when you have enough.

Rendering and Storing Beef Tallow

To prepare beef fat for rendering, all you need to do is freeze it for about an hour (frozen fat is easier to cut), then cut it into small cubes. If you have a meat grinder, even better. Just run it through the coarse plate, and it’s ready to go.

After you’ve cubed it up, take the cubes of fat and toss them into a Crockpot with 1/4 cup of water. Turn the Crockpot on low, cover it, and leave it going for about 12 hours, stirring every few hours. About two hours before it’s done, stir it and let it cook with the lid off to allow the water to evaporate.

Water introduces oxygen that can cause tallow or lard to spoil faster. It’s only added in the beginning to keep the fat from frying before it has released enough liquid to protect it from that.

Basically, you’re doing the same thing you would do torender pork lard, except for the addition of the following steps.

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After you’ve finished rendering your beef fat in your Crockpot, you’ll need to strain out all of the solids. Just pour it through a fine-mesh strainer or cheesecloth into a clean, heat-proof bowl.

Let it cool for about an hour once you’ve strained it.

You don’t want to let it get cold yet, though. You just want it warm. Too hot and it will melt the wax off of the wax paper in the following steps, and add a weird flavor.

The difference between rendering beef tallow and pork lard is that beef tallow becomes very firm after it cools. Pork lard is soft enough that you can pour it into jars and tuck it away in the fridge to be spooned out as needed.

Getting beef tallow out of a jar after its cold can be a bit of a challenge.

You can solve this problem by pouring it into a wax paper-lined baking pan then refrigerating it until it firms up. Once it’s cold, you can pop it out of the pan and cut it into bricks.

You can use regular plastic wrap, but I prefer to use wax paper due to it being more firm. It makes it a little easier to get it out of the pan. To use wax paper, you need to be careful to let the tallow cool enough to not melt the wax, but not so much that it becomes hard and won’t pour.

Letting the tallow cool for about an hour before pouring it into the pan solves this problem.

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After you’ve cut your bricks of tallow, just wrap them in plastic and throw them in the refrigerator or freezer. They’ll hold up for as long as a year in the fridge and indefinitely in the freezer.

Making Beef Cracklins

This is an optional step that ain’t for everybody. Some people simply don’t like cracklins. If you haven’t tried them before, though, give it a shot. If you have and don’t like them, simply toss the solids out. No biggie.

To make cracklins out of the leftover solids, toss them in a pan and fry them until they’ve released all of their fat and have become crispy.

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Next, strain the liquids from the solids.

If you like, you can add this additional rendered tallow to what you’ve strained from the Crock-pot (before cooling and cutting it into bricks, of course). You should understand, though, that the pan-frying process will introduce a more prominent, beefier flavor that you might not want in your cooking tallow.

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To get your cracklins extra crispy, throw them onto a heavy-duty pan, and crisp them under the broiler for about five minutes.

You can use beef cracklins the same way you would use bacon bits or as a crispy topping for tacos.

I like to make tacos out of rice,refried beans, and roasted jalapeños. Crispy beef cracklins tossed in add a satisfying beefy crunch.

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Like tallow, beef cracklins will hold up indefinitely in the freezer.

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How to Render Beef Tallow

Beef fat is gold. Don't waste those trimmings. Toss them into your Crock-Pot and render them into beautiful bricks of beef tallow.

4.93 from 13 votes

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Prep Time 30 minutes mins

Cook Time 12 hours hrs 30 minutes mins

Resting time 1 hour hr

Total Time 14 hours hrs

Course Ingredient

Cuisine American

Servings 3 lbs. tallow


  • 5 lbs. beef fat - meat removed
  • 1/4 cup water


  • Freeze the beef fat for about an hour before beginning (frozen fat is much easier to work with).

  • Either use a meat grinder (coarse plate installed) to grind the fat or cut it into 1/4-inch cubes with a sharp knife.

  • Add the cubed fat to your Crock-Pot along with 1/4 cup of water. Set on low, cover, and cook for about 10 hours, stirring every few hours. Remove the lid and cook for an additional 2 hours, stirring on occasion (this helps ensure that all of the water has evaporated).

  • Strain the solids out of the tallow with a cheesecloth-lined strainer. Set the solids aside to fry into cracklins. Let the tallow cool for about an hour.

  • Line a casserole dish with one sheet of wax paper (binder clips will help hold it in place) and pour in the tallow. Refrigerate for 3-4 hours, or more, until completely set. Pop the hardened tallow out of the pan, peel off the wax paper, then cut it into soap-sized bars. Wrap in plastic and freeze or refrigerate until ready to use.


If you fry the fat solids into cracklins, you can add the additional rendered fat to what you plan to cut into bricks of tallow, but it will add a stronger beef flavor.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

How to Render Beef Tallow - Texas Recipe Workbook (2024)


How to Render Beef Tallow - Texas Recipe Workbook? ›

Either use a meat grinder (coarse plate installed) to grind the fat or cut it into 1/4-inch cubes with a sharp knife. Add the cubed fat to your Crock-Pot along with 1/4 cup of water. Set on low, cover, and cook for about 10 hours, stirring every few hours.

How do you render beef tallow? ›

How to Render Beef Tallow
  1. Add the beef fat to a stock pot. Gather the beef fat in a large stock pot, and heat to a low simmer. ...
  2. Slowly simmer to render the beef fat. During the cooking time, you will notice the fat slowly starts to render and cook. ...
  3. Strain. Straining is important. ...
  4. Use or store.

How do you know when tallow is fully rendered? ›

If all of the solid, white pieces of fat have liquefied, and all that remains are liquid and browned crispy cracklings, your tallow is done. 6. Strain the liquid. Allow your tallow to cool for about five minutes, then strain the rendered beef fat into a bowl using a fine-mesh strainer.

Do you add water when rendering beef tallow? ›

The first step is to cut away all pieces of meat from the fat, because it can spoil the tallow. Put all the fat pieces into a stockpot, and add enough water to reach the top of the fat. Simmer the fat on low for a few hours, until the fat starts to shrivel. Stir it around every 20 minutes or so.

What is the wet method to render tallow? ›

Wet Rendering Tallow for Skincare
  1. Obtain high-quality beef suet. ...
  2. Using a knife cut the suet into small pieces and run it through your food processor. ...
  3. Place your tallow in a slow cooker and add approx. ...
  4. Set your slow cooker on low and simmer for 6 to 8 hours or until the majority of the suet has melted.
May 6, 2023

Is it better to render tallow wet or dry? ›

You can choose to do a dry render or a wet render. The idea is that adding some water to the suet helps to prevent it from scorching as the suet starts to melt. As this was my first time attempting the reddening process I opted to go with the wet method.

What is the best temperature to render beef tallow? ›

At what temp does beef fat render? Beef fat renders at 130-140°F (54-60°C).

What should rendered tallow look like? ›

Add the water to the suet in the slow cooker and cook on low for 1 ½ - 2 hours. Strain out the pieces left behind, and store your rendered tallow in the fridge. The tallow will be yellow in color when you strain it and will become cream/white in color as it cools and is refrigerated.

Does rendered tallow go bad? ›

Properly stored beef tallow may last up to one year when stored in cool dark environments, while it could extend even further when kept frozen. Avoid direct sunlight and heat sources, accelerating oxidation processes and leading to spoilage. Regular usage helps maintain its freshness and quality.

Can you overcook tallow? ›

Overcooked tallow tastes burnt and isn't good for cooking. Peferctly rendered tallow should be light yellow with a pleasant beefy smell. It should never orange or a darker color, which means it's burnt.

Why add salt when rendering tallow? ›

Purifying is a refining process that may be performed after the initial rendering and straining process. It is achieved by adding salt and water to the cooking vessel as the suet renders. This helps "impurities" sink to the bottom as the tallow cools, and is subsequently scraped off.

Why is my rendered tallow yellow? ›

If you use extremely low heat to melt the fat VERY slowly over the course of 6 or 8 hours, your finished fat will be whiter and smell more neutral. If you speed it up, the fat may brown during cooking. This makes the finished product yellower in color and smell a little more like the animal it came from.

Why does my tallow smell? ›

For example, if you use a high-heat method for rendering which crisps the fat-and-meat mixture, you will end up with a tallow smelling of fried meat (because there will be traces of fried meat in it).

How much salt and water do I need to render tallow? ›

Cut into small pieces and run it through the food processor (you can also have you butcher or processor run it through a meat grinder). Then place your tallow in a crockpot and add about 4 cups of water and 2 tablespoons of salt. Simmer on low for around 6-8 hours or until most of the tallow has liquified.

How do you get the smell out of tallow? ›

Wet rendering is a gentle "purification" method using just three ingredients: Grass-Fed Tallow, salt and water. This method preserves the beneficial properties of grass-fed tallow while reducing the odor and color.

How long does it take to render beef tallow? ›

Choosing between stove top or slow cooker is all about cook time. The total cook time can be almost double when you use either a slow cooker or instant pot, compared to the stove top. Usually a batch of tallow on the stove will render in 3 to 4 hours, while it takes 6 to 8 hours in a slow cooker or instant pot.

What does it mean to render beef tallow? ›

Rendering fat means we are taking raw fat (beef and pork in this recipe) and making it shelf stable by evaporating the moisture (water) which would otherwise limit the shelf life. Water is one of the components that bacteria needs to survive and multiply, so by removing the water, we are making it safer to store.

What is the difference between tallow and rendered fat? ›

Tallow is rendered fat from ruminants, including cattle, bison, and lamb, whereas lard is rendered fat from pigs, boars, and other similar animals. Both are common cooking fats but are also used in other ways such as industrial lubricants. For frying and a beefier taste, use tallow.

How long does rendered tallow last? ›

Properly stored beef tallow may last up to one year when stored in cool dark environments, while it could extend even further when kept frozen. Avoid direct sunlight and heat sources, accelerating oxidation processes and leading to spoilage. Regular usage helps maintain its freshness and quality.


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