How to Render Beef Tallow

how to render beef tallowI almost never hear of people cooking with beef tallow, even in Primal circles. I hear about lard, duck fat, ghee, butter, olive oil, and avocado oil, but rarely tallow. Hey, those are all great, delicious fats, and they deserve their prestige, but I like sticking up for the little guy. I like an underdog. In this case, of course, the little guy comes courtesy of a big cloven-hoofed ungulate.

Another reason to try tallow: those of you experimenting with the carnivore diet will want to mix up your cooking fats here and there. Each one has a different nutritional profile.

Here’s how to do it.


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How to Render Beef Tallow

To render beef tallow, you need to get your hands on some raw beef fat.

It’s called suet, and the best stuff for rendering is going to be solid and firm. Most suet comes from the tissue surrounding the kidneys and the loins, but any hard beef fat will do. What I did was buy steak and roast trimmings from a butcher. Grass-fed and grass-finished is best, but if you can’t find that, look for clean, organic meat. It should be inexpensive. If you can find a good butcher that deals with grass-fed meat, I’d imagine buying the fat trimmings is still fairly inexpensive and completely worth the extra effort.

I don’t know whether my batch was suet or not (I suspect there was at least a bit, judging from the thick, hard pieces that felt like cold butter when you sliced into them), and it did look a little ragged and hastily thrown together, but it was still fat. I wasn’t going to let a little uncertainty slow me down, for I was armed with the knowledge that fat can always be rendered.



Using a chef’s knife, trim off any leftover tissue (it will be red or hard) and cut the fat into cubes. I’d read tons of contradictory information about particle size, with some recipes calling for larger, 1-inch cubes and others claiming finely diced or shredded fat got the best yield. When I rendered pre-shredded buffalo kidney fat, I went for shredded. So this time, I opted for cubes so I can test both ways. Shredding and cubing both work just fine.


So, after trimming the fat completely and removing all attached muscle meat and bloody tissue (this step is crucial, because meat and blood will only burn and ruin the purity of your tallow), I ended up with small cubes. Tiny bits of red are fine. You’ll end up straining later.

how to render beef tallow


Dry rendering vs. wet rendering method

Here, I could choose to dry-render over the stove in a high quality pot, or do a wet-render and get the potentially purest tallow by boiling and then separating fat from water. I’d read about several different ways to render fat, but I chose two that seemed to make the most sense. The wet-render sounded tempting, if a bit messy and time-consuming, but I eventually passed on it. I settled on doing the traditional dry-render over super low heat on the stove top. I used enameled cast-iron pots and about a pound of cubed fat in each.


Stove top dry render method

The stove top fat started rendering almost right away, even with just a tiny flicker of a flame doing the heating. After about 20 minutes, the first sign of “cracklins”began to show: light brown shriveled up pieces of (former) fat bubbling around inside the newly rendered fat. I was initially worried that I was going too fast too soon, but that wasn’t the case. The cracklins were great, and they never burned. The fat remained pure and clear.

how to render beef tallow fat


I used a fine mesh strainer and it was completely sufficient. The result was pure, delicious tallow that turned white in the fridge and was easy to scoop. If you look really closely, you can see some specks at the bottom of the jars, but you’d really have to look for them.


From my experience, both methods work equally well. If you like stay in the kitchen and tend to your dishes, go with the stove top method. As long as you keep an eye on it and keep the fat from sticking to the bottom, your fat will render much faster this way. If you want to go do other stuff while it renders, use the oven method. Other than keeping the heat low and occasionally popping in for a quick stir and scrape, you can pretty much set the clock and forget about the rendering.

how to render beef tallow

Anyone ever use the wet-render method? Got any tips for my next batch of tallow? Let me know!

TAGS:  cooking tips

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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131 thoughts on “How to Render Beef Tallow”

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  1. Great experiment, Mark! What does it taste like?

    I imagine it would be hard to find fat scraps from grass fed beef. If anyone considers using fat scraps from a non organic source, remember that toxins are stored in fat!

      1. I worked in an environmental contaminants lab for several years. Most of the serious toxins that you read about are lipophilic (or, hydrophobic) and hence will tend to partition into animals’ fat in the wild (i.e. bioaccumulate). Examples include dioxins, PDBEs, PCBs, etc.

      2. to name one …all animals (for food purposes) are injected with “growth hormones” called cattle implants, this does not leave the animals system. We then consume these into our systems. This causes a lot of grief with human beings as our bodies do not know how to process this. from this, there are many side affect with the human population….obesity, cancers, etc.

        1. Not all animals, even for the purpose of food, are injected with growth hormones. That statement is false. I grew up on a Black Angus farm and I never saw growth hormones. Beef is always better when you know where it comes from. My father raises bulls and sells them across the Midwest. He has been breeding with superior genetics for years. My grand father actually went to Canada to get the first cattle. Now Black Angus cattle are the only beef bread with their own genomic test. This means that they can bread cattle for better meat and don’t use growth hormones.

      3. I don’t get why so many paleo followers believe toxins don’t exist. Can someone explain the logic behind this ignorance.

        1. As far as I can tell, it’s more a skepticism of “cleanse” and “detox” buzzwords and related marketing. If I recall correctly, a toxin is defined by our ability to solely process it via our liver. Perhaps avoiding fructose and polyunsaturated fats does more to remove such toxins in your system than any so called “cleanse” pill or supplement.

    1. I’ve had 2 sides of grass-fed beef in the past 2 years and I can tell you that there is plenty of fat on it. Note that I’m saying “on” rather than “in”. Most of that fat is on the outside of the cuts and is very easily trimmed off. With the exception of certain cuts, the meat itself is not well marbled. The brisket was one exception. It was surprisingly fatty – about 50% fat. After trimming, the meat pretty much fell apart. I also asked the farmer to give me extra suet – many of the other customers don’t want theirs so he gave it to me.

      1. I just picked up a whole grass-fed cow from a local producer, and they saved the fat for me. I have bunches of it, much of it in large pieces, purchased specifically to render the tallow, so I was glad to find this article!

      2. Not all grass fed beef is created equal. If it has fat on it, there is no reason why it should not have plenty of fat in it too. The reason why it doesn’t have more marbling, with ample exterior fat, is most likely due to genetics. Less marbling means less Omega 3’s. I know plenty of Lowline Black Angus grass steers that have graded USDA choice at 20-24 months. Lowline Black Angus are just like Angus cattle used to be 50-100 years ago, before grain feeding became so popular, so they are the ideal grass cattle. However, even within the Lowline breed, their are certain genetics that are superior to others when it comes to both marbling & tenderness. Today, there are DNA tests that measure both marbling & tenderness traits, so a producer/breeder has the tools available to produce superior grass fed beef, if they so choose to use them.

    2. OK, I’m a stumbler and was wondering what to do with some recently created beef tallow other than use it for use in lubricating musket ball patches. Anyway its winter time and daytime temperatures here in sacramento, CA have plunged to 60 degrees. That’s soup weather. Having noticed that even packaged Organic beef broth has stuff in it, such as gluten, I was motivated to make my own beef stock. I boiled marrow bones, with some meat and fat still attached, for three hours. This provided about three quarts of soup stock/broth; and, after sitting in the frig for a few days, about a half cup of nice white fat. Still haven’t figured out what to do with it; but, this site will certainly give me some ideas. Thank you.

      1. with that nice fat you can do your veggies , eggs, add it to the beans and so and so ,countless things, if you do pie that is the best fat you can use.

    3. I buy my grass fed beef by the quarter steer and I give the meat locker the instructions that I want the suet and I render away!

    4. I get mine from grass fed beef. I get all my meat, lard etc. from grass fed beef. I have to have a cow leasse to get it but as a bonus I can get raw milk as well.

    5. I use the water method with a crock pot. That way you don’t have to watch it. Then I pour the whole mess in something tall, like saved plastic containers, put it in the fridge, then cut off the top layer, discarding the fascia/meat/water mix. Then I repeat to get really fine tallow for soap that doesn’t “melt”, candles, and cooking. The “kidney” fat is the best, if you can get it, and I agree, you want as close to organic humanely treated fat as you can get.

    6. I found grass-fed pastured beef suet at a farmer’s market yesterday for $3 a pound. If you can buy grass-fed beef, you can probably get suet as well. Many of the farmers in my area that offer grass-fed beef also offer suet, marrow bones, knuckles, and dog bones for free if you ask for them with your purchase of 1/4, 1/2, or whole cows.

  2. This might be a dumb question, but what do you use it for? In place of oils, like for greasing a pan when you cook eggs? I get my meat locally, and it’s grass fed, antibiotic and hormone free. They process it right there and will probably have fat available…

    1. It has a high smoking point so it is good for high heat cooking. Many use it for deep frying and baking.

      Fry your eggs in it. Throw it in a beef and veggie stir-fry. Use it in place of butter or coconut oil for a variety of dishes. The list of uses is long.

    2. French fries! Or so I’ve heard. I’ve ordered suet at my local organic butcher so I can try cooking french fries in tallow. I’ve head it’s delicious, but I’ve never tried it.

      Serve that with a nice steak and a sauce Béarnaise and you’re in heaven.

  3. What about using a crockpot? Would that be low enough for heat or would it be too low?

    1. I use a crockpot to render my beef fat and it works out great–on the low setting that is.

      1. I haven’t read this post in a while but rendered 4 lbs this weekend in the crock pot. Worked Perfectly…not fast but I also didn’t have to watch it. Started with a block of frozen suet, didn’t even chop it up. Set it on warm a few hours till some fat accumulated in the bottom and then upped it to low. Left it overnight and then broke down the soft fat into smaller pieces with a knife and let it go all day into nice clear tallow and cracklins. Got about 5 cups out of it.

  4. You can even use it as an extra healing and penetrating base for many herbal first aid ointments (really much more effective than most plant based oils for healing the human body).

    1. Interesting.

      One point to note, however, is that Coconut oil has high levels of lauric acid, which is also has been known to have healing properties. When I’m not eating it, I use it as hand lotion.

      Thanks for the article. I have only seen wet methods so far. I just got some FREE (grass fed) beef fat from the butcher at my co-op. She said they just throw it away so I could have it.

      -they can get lard (and sell it), but so few people are interested in tallow that nobody really produces it locally and it is very hard to get. Can’t beat free I guess.

  5. Mark I’ve used the wet-render method for lard, but with some modifications.

    I tried to boil the fat, which I cut in small pieces with a knife, but it was taking for ever.

    I got impatient, so decided to throw the pieces of fat into the blender and proceeded to boil the “fat-puree” for 20 mins aprox.

    I got a very thick layer of floating liquid fat floating, and then decanted it the best I could to a separate recipient.

    The problem I experienced is that, due to the prior blending, it was impossible for me to decant the very last amounts of lard due to it being mixed with skin/meat tiny residues, so I lost some of it. Not much though.

    An the end, I was very satisfied with the results:

  6. Not sure whether you have seen Jennifer McLagan’s book “Fat” ( that won this year’s James Beard Award for Cookbook of the Year, but not only does she have some great recipes for a variety of animal fats, but she talks about how to render fats like lard and suet, and goes into the differences between wet and dry rendering, why you might want to do one or the other, and how to do it.

    Sounds like you hit upon some of the key components for suet anyway (freeze it a bit and shred it in a food processor rather than cutting it into cubes as you might with pork fat).

    This is still a fantastic book and well worth buying for anyone who is a cooking enthusiast, and especially a *primal* cooking enthusiast.

  7. I’ve used wet-rendering but don’t any more. IMHO it’s a pain in the butt and I don’t have any better returns than with the stovetop or oven methods.

    I would only recommend it if you know you are too impatient to let the fat melt very slowly, especially at first. The water is there to prevent burning and will do this job. But if you use the oven method, or if you keep an eye on the stovetop, there really is no need.

    Also, I mash my bits with a potato masher from time to time. Speeds the process a little bit.

  8. Mark, Thanks for the great post. I am going to do this next weekend when I have some time to watch the pot.
    Thanks also to Tommy for the tip for the book. Awesome!

  9. Really surprised you haven’t made this stuff before Mark, it is the MAIN ingredient for making good deer sausage. I use organic grass fed beef tallow for my deer sausage and refuse to use anything else.

    Again another awesome post to help those primal eaters!

  10. Mark, if you really want the rendered goodness to last , put about a tsp of fair trade sea salt on the bottom of the container you’re going to store it in. If there is ANY suspended moisture or particulate that settles to the bottom, the salt will do its magic and greatly reduce the possibility of spoilage.

    1. Is there something about ‘fair trade’ salt that makes it a superior preservative to say, Morton, Diamond Crystal, or plain old kosher salt?

  11. Once upon a time McDonald’s fries were done in tallow, or mostly so. Then the healthies and vegetarians came along and they didn’t want it, so here we are.

    Slightly off topic, but where can one get lard w/o the partial hydrogenation? I presume it’s a heck of lot less than hydrogenated vegetable oils, but nevertheless…..

    The ubiquitious John Morrell dark blue packaged lard always had a bit of funky smell, at least to me. I recently bought an El Cheapo regional brand at half the price……and no smell!

    1. Guess I answered my own question after I went back and read yesterday’s post!

  12. So I read this article a few days ago and couldn’t help but think “Man I gots to get me some tallow.” This morning I get a call from my cousin who tells me the local grass fed organic cow was ready to be picked up from the butcher this morning. I get 100lbs of the stuff and I am excited. I ask “any chance of getting some of the offal and suet or tallow?” He says the butcher set aside just the kidneys and the suet just for you. Its about 10lbs of fat in a bag.


  13. I have asked for fat at whole foods and farmers markets; both say they use it all (there is not much from young grassfed beef) for sauce, sausages, etc. I did manage to get enough pork belly fat to render a half gallon (slow cooker works well for me) but we used it all within a month. So finally I ordered a 5-gallon of tallow from; they also sell in 2.5 lb for those who want to try it.

    1. Go to and find a farmer right by you. Then ask them to sell you the suet.

  14. I was just trying to order some beef fat and the butcher said you only want to use the beef around the kidneys is this true?

  15. I just made some for the first time today. I cut the fat about 1/4 inch thick and 2 inches long and put it in the pan with about 1/2 cup of warm water and cooked on medium heat for about 45min, stirring occasionally. I think the water kept the fat from sticking to the bottom of the pan, but quickly evaporated so cleanup was super easy and there is no water left in the rendered fat!

  16. Similar to what @Dane said…

    A way to speed up the process of dry rendering is to add a little (keyword little) water to the pot. The steam gets the fat melted down much more quickly on the super low heat setting. The little bit of water evaporates out in no time.

  17. I’ll second the prior comment by grok. I’m a butcher and a chef, and have access to a lot of trimmings, so needless to say I do a lot of rendering. I use precisely the process which Grok mentioned and would add a few other points. First, this method really does work much more quickly than the others but because of the higher heat, as mentioned in the article, it is crucial to get all the lean meat off the fat; it will burn and get you some unpleasant smelling tallow. This process also works with every other animal I’ve tried (pork, duck, goose, chicken, mutton).
    As far as a source of grass fed beef fat, most Whole Foods meat markets carry either a 100% grass fed steer, or a grass fed/grain finished (grain, the final month at feedlot), and many both. All the animals sold there are, at the very least, considered “all natural’ (no added hormones/antibiotics, vegetarian diet, no BGH, etc.) Give them some lead time and they will collect as much trim as they can.

    1. Great tips.

      I still used very low heat. The lowest setting on the stove for oh… 3-4 hours. I first I was worried about sloppiness of leaving some meat on, but mine’s perfect. Almost white as snow.

      I love the cracklins. They make a fantastic big-ass salad topping!

  18. Ask your butcher (of the wonderful folks at Whole foods) for ‘K&L’ fat: kidney and lumbar.

    Best flavor to ease of rendering ratio for beef and very very easy to get working. Hint: buy the meat grinder attachment for your kitchenaid mixer if for no other reason than it makes your tallow project an absolute joy.

  19. I did a couple of batches of tallow this week with some grass fed beef fat from a 1/4 cow we purchased.

    Tried the oven method and some in a slow cooker set on low. Both worked just fine. One batch, I ground up the fat, and one I just dumped the 1-2″ chunks of fat directly in the slow cooker. No difference in taste or clarity.

    I’d say the freezing/grinding step is unnecessary.

  20. I rendered 1.5 lbs this past weekend. I did the dry method – oven at 250F and i left it for 3 hrs. Worked great.

    How do you guys store the rendered tallow? I have probably 10 lbs of the stuff that I need to render still, which is a LOT of fat.

  21. What wonderful tips on this subject. Another use that I have for small amount of Tallow is making it into Suet Feeders for Birds. We have a very large area we feed birds in and they love it. Draws many different specied in as well!

  22. This is so cool. We, in Croatia that is, still butcher farm animals at home. My grandparents are still doing it and I help. From holding the animal during slaughter and cutting meat to making lard and sausages. So this stuff is totally natural for me and this primal thing is kinda reinventing the wheel. If you really want to see things al natural, just pop by the Balcans and enjoy all the weird old stuff like sour cabbage in thousand ways, blood sausages, cured meats and my personal favorite, cold pig’s head and skins in it’s own juice.

    1. I hope you know how truly blessed you are that this is all just normal to you! I so long for this kind of normal, but it is largely non existent in the US. We are reinventing it and hoping that it becomes normal. We hunt and fish and process everything ourselves and we are VERY different here:)

  23. I stumbled here by accident while following some soap links. Tallow is a part of levantine cuisine, and in Lebanon it is a traditional mountain food. It is made mostly with lamb fats. Villagers used to make tallow because it lasted through the cold snowy winters of the mountains. We commonly use it to make “awarma”, which is the name used for food cooked in tallow. Egg “awarma” is a very traditional breakfast, where eggs are baked in tallow using claypots, then eaten with pita bread. Also, chickpea awarma, or “humus” awarma, is a plate of humus with a topping of chickpeas and ground meat baked in tallow. MMMMmmmm

  24. So I just finished rendering some tallow this afteroon. While it is nice and white and clear and I did a great job on the straining, I am wondering if kept it on the stove to long or not long enough.
    What should the end product be like. Mine is very solid after being in the refridgerator…and it for sure has an odor to it…like..well kinda like I was cooking a vat full of fat I guess 🙂
    I am not sure why I was expecting a clean smell to it but I was.
    Does it typically add a lot of flavor to what you are cooking?

    1. To an uneducated or ignorant person (ie one that does not have all the data) or to a person “educated” with the wrong information (mainstream ie Saturated fats are unhealthy) then you are right. This would sound incredibly unhealthy.

      But thanks to the work of people like Mark Sisson, Dr. Loren Cordain, Gary Taubes, Dr. Weston A. Price, Sally Fallon, Dr. Mary Enig,PhD, and many, many others for bringing to light the health benefits of consuming a diet with plenty of animal fats, and thus plenty of fat soluble vitamins A,D,E,K etc., we now have information that repeatedly shows that not only is naturally raised animal protein and fat healthy, but in most cases, essential to maintaining true health and longevity in humans.

  25. So how DO you guys store your tallow? I just rendered a ton of it, and I don’t want to devote the fridge space to it. Wikipedia says it’s stable at room temperature: but how do you seal it? Presto says you can’t can it, using either pressure or boiling water canning (as the fat will get under the lid and prevent a good seal). Any suggestions?

    1. You can just pour it in a jar when still hot and close the jar immediately. It will stay for at least a year at room temperature (i tried some after 3! year and is still was fine). If you have a cold cellar you can roll a block of tallow in parchment paper and keep it for up to 6 months. I do 40 pounds of suet when i make tallow and that last for a long time. Never had problems keeping it as described above. The only real way to make Belgian fries in to deep-fry them on tallow.

  26. I did some tallow, but from 5 lbs of fat I only got like 2 cups of tallow! And while some of the fat looked like I thought it would and cut like codl butter, most of it was VERY difficult to cut. My Cutco knife (and those are SHARP) could barely cut through it. As far putting it in a blender… no way. It would have to have been powered by a lawn mower engine.
    I’m thinking maybe I got some fat that wasnt’ so great. But what I did get was good. I just need more!

    1. I just finished rendering 5 pounds as well. Got about a quart and a quarter of tallow as well as a bucket of cracklins, which were darn tasty (only ate a few rest are in the fridge. Butcher sold it too me at a $1.29 a pound. I didnt blend it, just semi froze it and then diced it, it was hard enough to crumble but soft enough to cut.

      Looks like I need 10 to 15 pounds of raw fat to make enough for my deep fryer.

      as for straining, I just ran it though paper towels in a METAL stainer. tried coffee filters but they kept clogging.

  27. I just got 20 pounds of beef fat from my local meat locker at 50 cents a pound..I rendered some of it in water.Then I looked at my nu-wave oven(hardly ever use.)Perfect.I just put a layer of the fat on the rack, turn it on and the grease drips down into the drip pan.It has a timer on it so no forgeting it.I am getting a lot from it so far.i use it for making soap.

    1. try not to use a micro wave oven for food processes. plenty of bad science attached with it.

  28. I just rendered 0.9 lbs beef suet into 1.5 cups of liquid fat; it’s cooling on my counter in a pint size mason jar and looks terrific, clear pale amber. I expect it will whiten in the frig later. My dog was thrilled to get the cracklings (he deserved a reward for being good today).

    I chopped the suet with a knife and put it in a 3 qt sauce pot with 3 teaspoons water sprinkled on it, gently simmered it for 2.5 hours with no cover, strained it through a paper towel, and it’s perfect! No food processor, no freezing, no problems.

  29. There’s some new farmers at my local farmers market this season I discovered and they are raising their animals the right way. I’ve been buying a lot of meat from them and have become their best customer. They keep me updated on when they have a steer or hog ready to send to the butcher so I can get first pick of the cuts. I asked them what they do with the fat and trimmings and they said they don’t do anything with it. So I asked if they could have it saved for me and what they would sell it to me for. I guess it’s just a waste product so they just wanted to give it all to me! I talked them into letting me pay them $0.50/# for it. The butcher packaged it up in 10# bags and there are 11 bags! I’m working through the first bag right now in my dutch oven on the stove top, wet method. It took forever to render, but now that there’s enough fat bathing the trimmings it renders much faster now. I think I’ll just start with some fat already in the dutch oven for the next bag so it will start rendering immediately. I’ve gotta hurry and get through all 11 bags because they’ve got another steer ready to go in next week!

  30. I purchased my fat from a Whole Foods that sells grass fed beef, I just had to ask them to save it for me as they unfortunately throw away the cuttings from their grass fed steaks and roasts. I offered to pay for it, but they couldn’t figure out a way to charge me for it, so I got it for free. I’ve ended up with about 15lbs and I’m rendering about 5 lbs at a time. I’ll repost the results

  31. Well just put another home produced cow in the freezer, though this time I am going to render the fat, have never bothered before as with that much meet about the place to find a home for in the freezer there was never time!

  32. This was fun reading. Can rendered suet be used in making suet pudding?

  33. Suet is used in the classic Christmas/plum/suet pudding, whatever you call it in your locale!

    This was a great post and I enjoyed reading all the comments, too! Although I have rendered lard many times from our home-raised pigs, this will be my first attempt at tallow from a grass-fed steer we bought from friends. So it’s the exact same process! Good to know! Easy peesy! I always use the dry method for lard and will for the tallow, too, in the oven, and in my cast iron Dutch oven (which seasons it!), then strain it through paper toweling into pint sized jars; I then use new dome lids with rings so that it in essence “cans” the lard preserving it. One 5 lb. batch of rendered fat yields 5-6 pints and lasts us 1 year, but we don’t fry much. I’ve heard thus canned like way it’s lasted others 3 years or so.

    Thanks again for the great article!

  34. Thank you for the wonderful instructions. I just used them to make beef tallow for the first time, and it went perfectly. I used a piece of muslin (the kind used in quilting) for my filter, and it even got the teeny specs in one go.

  35. I just wet rendered some beef tallow myself tonight. The first batch I got from a Carniceria near my house that happily gave me the fat for free since they usually just throw it out. The second time I went to them I got a different butcher and he charged me 50 cents a pound :/ but I had them put it through the grinder for me to make my job easier. When I got home I threw it into my largest pot with just enough water to cover it and a tablespoon of salt per pound of fat. In about 15-20 minutes all the meat was cooked and tallow melted. I strained off the unwanted chunks of meat and whatever else was in there (cartilage?) And threw it in the refrigerator. I am so excited to wake up tomorrow and retrieve my bright white, clean tallow!!! I’m using it to make soap 🙂

  36. I was able to get about 10 pounds of beef fat / trimmings from the local farm where I buy my grass-fed beef. They charged me $5.00 total, really just for the trouble of getting the trimmngs from the butcher they use.

    I froze half and rendered half. It came out very consistent and clean. I used some to make pemmican and the rest for cooking.

  37. We render 20 pounds of beef tallow a week. Done that the last 6 months.

    After much trial and error we found the VERY BEST way (and most tasty) to make it is the following:

    1. Grind the fat in a meat grinder (I use coarse setting). Or cut in small pieces if you don’t have a grinder.

    2. Add to a big pot.

    3. Put pot in the oven at 90 degrees celsius (195 F).

    4. Stir after a few hours.

    4. Keep in the oven for 24 hours (depending on size of batch). Ours is 10 pounds at a time.

    5. Filter the tallow.

    The tallow tastes so much better, when done on relatively low heat and slow rendering. It has a nice beef flavor.

    Highly recommended.

  38. Accidentally made tallow (sort of) one time and used it for a week. Didn’t know it was even called tallow. I just used my George Foreman for some burgers one night–which is designed to collect fat in a little dish. Since becoming primal, I thought…why let all that fat go to waste? So I used it until it was gone. Awesome stuff!

  39. I live in Oregon and we get our beef from my parents-in-law who grow the cattle just for family. I always get all their bones because they don’t know what to do with them. I make a lot of mineral-rich bone broth and the by-product is a lot of beef fat.

    When I make beef bone stock, I skim most of the fat and place it in a jar. Once it hardens, I break it apart to remove the layer of broth at the bottom. I later read that this is basically the “wet rendering” process.

    So I end up with a mineral rich broth and a side of tallow. The proverbial two birds with one stone.

    1. That’s what we do with all the meat we make stock from! I have two bags in the fridge- one of beef tallow and one of chicken fat… whatever that’s called! I’ve started using the fats instead of olive oil, which apparently has a much lower smoke point and should not be used for cooking.

      I didn’t realize I could use it to deep fry- this is going to make our Popplers (… because we’re sort of morbid. They’re really just tiny little chicken nuggets.) even MORE super-delicious than when I cook them in peanut oil!

  40. Hi, I think your website might be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your blog site in Firefox, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, terrific blog!

  41. So would somebody please post the definitive rendering method. We have just killed a cow and have never rendered before and would like to try our hands.

    Thank you

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  43. I used the fat the rose to the top after making bone broth – there was a really thick layer. After chilling, the bone broth was gelatinous and the fat easily came off the top. I used the fat to brown the meat for beef tips and Mexican shredded beef. It browned really nicely – it was my first time using the fat. I have been buying 1/2 beeves for the past 4 years or so but never thought/knew to ask for the fat. I always ask for the bones and in the past threw out the fat that rose to the top after chilling! Wow – wish I could go back in time! This year I will ask for the suet and fat trimmings.

  44. Nice weblog here! Also your website quite a bit up fast! What host are you the use of? Can I am getting your associate hyperlink on your host? I wish my web site loaded up as fast as yours lol

  45. I’ve just rendered my first batch of grass fed beef fat and am concerned that I may have over-rendered it. Is this possible? After straining through cheesecloth, the remaining solids were a dark brown, the tallow has the appearance of a latte with extra cream.

    Also, has anyone tried infusing the rendering fat with cloves of garlic or sprigs of fresh herbs adding towards the end of cooking time? Would love to hear back from you more experienced tallow men/women. Thanks so much.

  46. I’m going to render for the first time today as I’m a soaper and have heard that beef tallow makes superior shaving soap.

    Just a tip: country butcher shops often just dispose of the fat and other ‘extras’. I get mine for free. They even separated out the kidney fat for me.

  47. How to Render Beef Tallow | Mark's Daily Apple I was recommended this blog by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by him as nobody else know such detailed about my trouble. You are incredible! Thanks! your article about How to Render Beef Tallow | Mark's Daily AppleBest Regards Cindy

  48. Great post. And the comments gave me lots of ideas. Since I actually have the “Fat” cook book I’m gonna go check that out. I figure since my 5lbs beef fat came from Whole Foods it probably does not have any “toxins” in it. :-p Now I’m off to tallow!

  49. So I just tried this, but…ahem…modified the method slightly. After cooking dice-sized pieces in the crockpot for a while, I got impatient and hit them all with a stick blender. Now I have fat, but it’s yellow with a lot of floaters too small for the strainer. Did I ruin my batch?

  50. “You want a texture like sorbet (mmmm, beef sorbet anyone?)”

    I made lard ice cream once. It was particularly strange.

  51. I was using Sally Fallon’s recipe for beef stock yesterday and in the recipe she mentions another recipe which uses the fat from the stock to make tallow. I already planned on using your recipe for the extra fat I picked up from the butcher when grabbing my quarter beef the other day but thought it was nice to have the Nourishing Traditions version to compare. She heats the fat on medium/high heat but this is using the already liquid/strained fat from the stock so this would just be to clarify the tallow that was rendered from cooking the stock. I haven’t tried her method yet but do have the extra fat from the butcher in a saucepan cracklin’ away as I type. I have it on medium/low heat now because low heat wasn’t getting things working fast enough. It has been about an hour and 5 minutes and the fat chunks aren’t browned yet. Maybe I’ll turn the heat up to medium for a bit to speed things up. Thanks for the great instructions!

  52. We bought a side of beef, and I rendered about ten pounds of the fat using Mark’s dry method as outlined in his blog post. The result is beautifully white a room temperature, but it is as hard as a brick! I know tallow is used in candles and soap, as well as cooking. But, I thought the rendered tallow would be scoopable or cutable at room temp. Any of you experienced suet renderers have any suggestions?

  53. If you’re going to render fat into tallow then I feel the best use for it is for making Pemmican. Once you’ve got tallow you’re half way there. Just make some beef jerky, shred it and mix. Of course there are more details to the instructions but that’s all the big steps involved. I made my first batch two months ago with no trouble at all. It’s nutritious, Primal, calorie dense and it keeps for years. I was concerend about the taste and texture after reading reveiws but I liked it right away and have since grown to actually crave it. My wife and kids think it’s ok. I tried plain and a few different seasonings and all were good. Great for back packing.

  54. First, thank you for all of the great information on your site! I have rendered beef tallow from suet a few times with WONDERFUL results but this last time it had an odd flavor. It tastes like tallow but with this weird background flavor that I can’t pinpoint. Does winter suet taste different than spring/summer suet? Any other thoughts?

  55. Can you use this tallow for baking cakes or making biscuits?
    Will they not have a meat taste once baked?

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  57. I am set to start rendering tallow from a buffalo I recently “harvested” The front shoulders were made into jerky. The rest is being cut and packaged. I use a large cast iron pan set in the oven. I strain the melted fat through a cloth into a soup pan of water which has a potato sliced in the bottom. Then I simmer the tallow in the soup pan for 30 minutes or so to claify it even more. Sit it outside to cool (today it is 1 above) Take the solid cooled piece off the top and remelt it to put it into a container for storage.

  58. Great article, I’ll def. try it. Also got some tips from the comments. Yet, a question: Has anyone tried to render a mix of suets, both from a gresfed cow and a lamb (for example). As I have bits from both, thought of mixing it. You say? thanks

    1. My mother used to render beef and pork fat together to make the perfect fat for making pie pastry. Tallow is too hard, and lard is a bit soft, but together they are just right!

  59. I guess I “wet-rendered”. Didn’t know what it was called. But after acquiring a quarter of a grass-fed cow from an organic farmer, I just roasted the bones until brown. Covered them with boiling water in a huge pressure cooker (we have a food business, so that was easy). Cooked it for hours on low, making an incredible bone broth. Afterward, strained and let the brew cool. The fat rose to the top- a good 4 lb. or so of tallow. Whoo-hoo!

  60. Before I had children I hunted a lot. One of my favorite meats – bear. My favorite tallow – bear. I had jars of it in the kitchen window. I could tell the weather would be changing by the way the tallow looked/changed in the jar!

  61. Proper beef suet is rendered from the fat surrounding the kidneys.
    Fat from other parts of the animal produce what we call lard or dripping which (nice as they are), is not the same thing at all and do not produce the same texture or taste,
    For certain traditional pies, Mince Pies, Pork pies, which require a specific pastry, or for Christmas Pudding, etc ONLY beef kidney suet will do.
    Ask your butcher for beef kidney fat (preferably from an organic farmer that he knows), cut it up into small pieces and very gently heat it in a frying pan. Let it take it’s time. You can not rush it.
    Strain the fat through a fine cloth into a rectangular mould and let it cool to room temperature. Once it has set wrap it in grease proof paper and freeze it. You can cut pieces off as you need them and it will last for many months.
    There are no short cuts to the best.
    PS the little pieces of golden fat that are left in the frying pan go on to the bird table to feed the birds in winter. They love it and you may find some interesting feathered visitors appearing.

  62. Hi Mark – I was looking for ideas for using my freshly rendered beef tallow and stumbled upon your site. We have a local farmer (in Vermont) who processes one or two cows in the fall and spring, and I was lucky enough to score all the animal fat at no cost! He would have just buried it. I also found a website that shows how to render the fat in a slow cooker (crockpot). This worked so simply, I can’t believe it! I didn’t clean off any of the bits of meat, and didn’t cut it up at all, but plopped a whole bunch of fat in my crockpot, set it on low, and left it for 24 hours. Voila – skimmed off the clear beef tallow this evening – didn’t even need to be strained. Now what do I do with it? Haven’t eaten fried food in years. Just transitioned to paleo a couple weeks ago, and I’m about to embark on the Whole30

  63. I find that rendering tallow in a pressure cooker saves preparation time and cooking time without any oxidation of the fat. I have to be careful to remove all water before storing as I have had a batch grow mould because I left some water in the container (good lesson). Otherwise easy and fast.

  64. Does anyone know where to get pure rendered lard or tallow without antibiotics, hormones, or other added chemicals in Alameda, CA?

    1. Not Alameda, but the Fatted Calf butcher shop in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley area has wonderful lard. Great meats, too.

  65. Tallow is used in many soap & candle recipes. The guy that talked about using muslin to strain the rendered fat reminded me of cheesecloth!

    How do you think slow cooking in a crock pot would work? I am much more comfortable leaving that for long periods of time than a stove or oven.

    1. You can absolutely do it in a slow cooker!! I commented some simple instructions below but if you have problems just look up slow cooker lard/tallow on youtube!

  66. I have rendered beef fat and it is wonderful for so many uses! What I do is grind the fat in a meat grinder, then add it to a crock pot…the crock pot on low prevents burning and does a lovely job of rendering…I spoon the melted tallow out and sieve it with a simple metal sieve…works great and I love using this product for everything, except maybe toast. =D

  67. Thank you for this information on dry rendering. I’ve rendered beef fat a few times using the water method. Somehow, I must have always ended up with a bit of water left in the batch and it would get mold after a while. This seems like a safer way to do it and avoid any potential contaminants. I strained through a fine sieve first, then re-strained through a clean flour sack cloth. My final product is beautiful clear tallow. I can’t wait to see it when it hardens into a beautiful pure white color. 🙂

    Many thanks!

  68. Hi all. You can make tallow super easy in your slow cooker or crock pot. We get the Butcher to mince all our suet and put it into 2 kg (4lb ish) bags so we can freeze it and make up tallow when we want. Just place you suet in your slow cooker with half a cup of water. Cook on low for 12 hours or so (put on at breakfast and do at night). Don’t put a lid on as you want the water to evaporate out, it’s just to help at the start. I put a tea towel over top just to keep the flys out. After 12 hours strain it through muslin cloth. If you think there’s not enough rendered out of the suet after you’ve strained then pop it back on with a touch more water.

  69. Hey! I have recently started following you and every post of yours inspires me to make stuff on my own. Thanks a lot! It’s a great post.

  70. Well this article that i’ve been waited for so long. I need this article to complete my assignment in the college, and it has same topic with your article. Thanks, great share.

  71. I just use fattier bit when I render bone broth (marrow bones plus some not so well trimmed pork bones, etc) Instant pot pressure cook for 4 hours, then strain into large 1.9 liter canning jars and put in the fridge. once it has all cooled it’s really easy to scrape off the large fat layer, put that in a sauce pan and heat on medium until it gets to 330 F or so to boil out all the water in the fat (there’s a surprising amount still). Once it gets to temp and stops boiling it goes in a much smaller canning jar and solidifies into pure cooking gold.

  72. I render my own lard and tallow all the time. We usually buy a whole pig and cow each year and I get the best results when I have the butcher grind the fat for me (saves so much time). I usually do such a huge batch that I have some in my crockpot, some in the Instant Pot (on crock pot setting), a couple of roasters in the oven and two pots on the stove.

  73. I trim and render the fat off the steaks we buy at Costco. They often have an inch thick layer of it around the edge. I use it to fry the steaks in a cast iron skillet when we don’t feel like grilling outside. Otherwise, we mostly use the fat rendered from cooking bacon.

    We do refrigerate any animal fat since it can become rancid if left at room temperature for long periods of time. We don’t use a great deal of rendered fat but always have a jar in the fridge. If you microwave solidified bacon fat on low just long enough to melt it, any bits of “cracklins” will drop to the bottom of the jar in a thin layer of sediment. The remaining fat will be clear.

  74. Hi, I usually do water rendering. I just put like 3kg of cubed tallow into a slowcooker with a little bit of water. I set it to several hours and that’s it. Afterwards I strain it. The pieces of cubes left I eat with salads in the next week (as a protein add on). You have to take a good care while separating tallow from water. Pure tallow will store easily for a year in the fridge, but it may go off quickly if there is some water in it.

  75. I have always put a little water in the bottom of the pot when rendering fat. It keeps things from sticking at the very start, and works a bit faster.
    I wanted to warn everyone to be careful not to overheat the fat. It is very easy to start a grease fire. Keep the cover of the pot close by, and if fire starts, immediately cover the pot! You would be doing this through roaring flames, so have an oven mitt with the cover.
    Also, overheating will make the tallow less tasty, and shorten its life. I have always refrigerated all of my meat fats. It certainly can’t hurt.

  76. The beef tallow sounds similar to collecting/storing bacon grease (I know it is not exactly the same). But I collect and store bacon grease when I am done and use it to cook eggs. Sometimes, I use it in other recipes. From the comments, it looks like fats from just about any animal can be used.

    I have a few questions:

    Similar to collecting bacon grease after cooking bacon, is that how people get chicken fat, or even some beef fat; after cooking the meet and the fat liquifies and seeps out leaving a liquid mess at the bottom of the pan?

    Can these fats be frozen after collection?

    Is there anything potentially harmful in certain types of fats? Thinking more along the lines, as an example, when preparing chicken it is desirable to keep surface areas clean due to COVID-19 (JUST KIDDING!!)……salmonella. Basically, are there any potential storage issues to watch out for depending on the type of fat? Or are there any potential issues with using certain types of fat?

  77. I render my tallow by cutting up the fat, place in a crock pot and let it cook for 24 hours. Strain through cheese cloth or coffee filter. Press excess tallow out of the solids. I keep the ‘crunchy bits’ for the occasional snack! Yummy! I make Pemmican with this; along with soap and for regular cooking–in place of butter because I can’t have dairy of any form.

  78. If you have the APOE4 allele, you may not eat a high fat diet of tallow. You may only eat tallow and fatty beef occasionally.

    The only high fat foods you can eat frequently are oily fish, olive oil, avocado oil, and macadamia oil.

  79. Try using a slow cooker to render beef tallow. Works great on low overnight.
    Hope this helps .