Beef fat has a variety of uses. Though it is a highly saturated fat, when rendered into tallow, it is extremely useful and has a wide range of practical applications. Beef tallow is used in soap making, in the manufacture of biodiesel and in cooking. Beef fat and animal hide, as we know, is used extensively in leather and other industries. It is also used in preparing other tallow like lard, in the making of candles, in cooking, as flux in soldering and as lubrication for steel sheets in the steel rolling industry.
Soap-making industry uses huge amounts of beef tallow. Since hard beef fat called suet cannot be used in soap making without rendering, manufacturers employ various methods to render beef fat into tallow for commercial use. This rendering can be done at home, if you have a nose for handling beef meat and also know a bit about the multitude uses of beef tallow. This article will provide tips on how to render beef tallow at home.
What exactly is beef tallow? Beef tallow is the rendered form of hard meat/fat taken from the loin and kidney areas of cattle. White or off-white in color, beef tallow is a solid block of beef cleansed of impurities in animal fat. It often carries a mild odor and is soft at room temperature:
1. Get suet: Suet is the first step to making beef tallow. If you want good suet, you have to special order it as there is not much of a demand in most areas. You can special order suet at farmer’s markets, butcher’s shop or even find some packed suets in stores. Once you special order it, you will ensure that it arrives in time, and not too late for you to prepare beef tallow.
2. Cut the suet into small pieces: Cut your suet into smaller pieces of ¼ inch diameter each with a sharp knife. Cutting into smaller pieces facilitates faster melting of the meat. So, the smaller you cut, the faster you make your beef tallow.
3. Add water and let it melt: Add sufficient water and four tablespoons of salt and let the mixture melt in a shallow pan. It make take several hours for the suet to melt. The salt will separate impurities from the meat and let them float in water.
4. Boil over medium to high heat. See to it that the mixture (water-suet) does not boil over your pan. Stir it often to control the boiling mixture. Add more water if the mixture starts to boil away from the pan. Water has to be in the mixture to allow tallow to clear its impurities.
5. Cool after boiling: After hours, say 2 or so, the suet would have dissolved completely in water. Remove the pan from heat and allow it to cool.
6. Sieve the mixture: After cooling, sieve the mixture and store the pure mixture in a plastic container. The sieving would remove the impurities that floated with the water.
7. Refrigerate: Place the tallow container uncovered and allow it to refrigerate overnight. As the fat cools, it would rise above the watery mixture and become hard.
8. Get solid beef tallow: After a night’s refrigeration, allow the tallow container to be placed upside down in the sink. Don’t worry the tallow will not fall off, only the water will. You can then gently scrape of the hardened tallow from the container and remove any impurities too. You would notice that the tallow is now in white or off-white color.