In a recent post of mine, Kimi, the Nourishing Gourmet and a fellow gluten free blogger (if I'm not mistaken!) asked how I used beef tallow. I decided that the answer was worthy of a new post:
I must give credit to Ann Marie and my dear friend K.L. for getting me excited about beef tallow. Ann Marie has a great post on cooking french fries in beef tallow (and they were delish, despite the fact that I think I'm intolerant to potatoes. Sigh). My friend K.L. and her husband always cook the most delicious dishes and when I ask what she did the answer always involved beef tallow, butter, and olive oil together. This combo makes up an amazing "base" for sauteeing vegetables (especially onions) and for browning cubed meat that has been brined for several hours. Can we say HEAVENLY?!!
Beef tallow has to be rendered before it can be used. To render beef tallow, you cut it into small pieces and stick in a shallow pan in the oven at 200. Leave for several hours as it "melts". You will have solid "cracklings" left in the bowl which can be eaten plain or on top of salads. The melted tallow can now be transferred to a glass storage container and left in the fridge. I know these directions call for some photographs, and so next time I render I will go back and add them to this post!
What to do with rendered beef tallow?
Rendered tallow, like any saturated fat, is solid but soft at room temp and can be used just as you would use coconut oil or butter. The great thing about tallow is that it actually has a higher smoke point, so it's ideal for deep frying. I used it to make french fries last night (they tasted like real, old fashioned french fries!) and used it today to fry up some vegetable fritters and saute some veggies!
It's a healthy fat and it adds a nice flavor to whatever you are cooking. I would also use it to deep fry anything.
I suppose it could also be used in pie pastry if you were making a savory pie.
Beef tallow comes already rendered for purchase and can also be ordered from US Wellness Meats and Grassfed Traditions. Lonely Lane farms is a local grass-fed farm here in Oregon and they sell their delicious meats weekly at the Beaverton Farmer's Market. By the way, I love Lonely Lane; they are a family operation and they do things very well. Lonely Lane also has opportunities from time to time to purchase beef quarters, and often times you can ask about tallow when you purchase a cow in this way.
Wherever you are, you can find a good grass-feeding farmer at Eat Wild, a very comprehensive website connecting people with local farmers!