How to Make Beef Tallow
Tools needed to make rendering easier: 16-quart stock pot, fine mesh strainer, funnel, 100% cotton cheesecloth, wide mouth mason jars.
2-5 lbs beef fat
Small amount of water to cover bottom of pot about ½ inch
Cut fat into small pieces. Put water and fat into pot. Turn heat on simmer/low. Cook gently for 2-6 or more hours stirring often. You will be left with crisp looking pieces. Be cautious because the fat is very hot! Strain two times. Pour into your jars and let seal while hot.
To make Tallow:
Gather fat, cut away any meat, chop fat into walnut size pieces or you may grind fat, put into stock pot. Heat on a low simmer. Stir often. Small bubbles will form during the process. You don’t want a rolling boil. If it starts boiling, turn heat lower. Stir. The goal is to get rid of all the moisture, the key to preservation. (A lack of small bubbles coming up from the bottom of the pot is a signal the moisture is eliminated.)
Some people use a thermometer. If water is still in the fat, the temperature won’t get far from 212° F. Once the water is gone, the fat starts heating up and the temperature climbs. Remove from the burner when the temperature reaches 225° F.
Straining is important. Impurities don’t taste good and they will cause the tallow to spoil faster. Two strainings is required. First use the fine strainer to remove any large pieces and second, use the cheesecloth to remove all the small pieces. What is left is called “cracklings”. People eat them, or give as treats to pets.
You can use immediately or let it cool and turn into a solid. Refrigerate for up to three months or best to freeze up to a year. Cut solids in amounts you will be using and freeze individually.
Tallow has a high smoke temperature point. It has about 242 calories/oz. It is a good substitute for butter and cooking oil. It is high in antioxidants, Omega-3, and vitamins A, D, E, K, and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). It is full of stearic acid and nourishes the skin’s cell membranes. It is a natural chemical-free skin moisturizer. You can also make candles and soap from it.
Traditional Simple Osso Buco with Beef Shanks
2 lbs beef shanks
¼ cup flour
¼ cup butter or olive oil (I combine both to equal ¼ cup)
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 chopped rib celery
1 large chopped onion
1 large chopped carrot
1 bay leaf
2/3 cup dry white wine (I used Pinot Grigio) (A must to use wine)
2/3 cup beef stock
1 can (14.5oz) diced tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste
Dredge shanks lightly with flour.
On medium to medium-high heat melt butter and brown shanks (I cut membrane around sides so that shank will not curl). Remove to plate and keep warm.
Add garlic, onions, to pan and cook till onions are tender.
Return shanks to pan, add carrot and wine and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add tomatoes, beef stock and seasonings.
Cover and simmer over low heat for 1 ½ - 2 hours (I cook longer, until fork inserted in meat is very tender, 3-4 hrs).
Serve over mashed potatoes, risotta, or noodles.
Shanks are a very tough cut of meat with lots of connective tissue. Braising them slowly breaks down those chewy bits of tissue.
Searing the shank (browning to create a crust) helps produce the flavor.
Tastes better reheated the next day.
The liquid should cover the shanks ¾ way up. Bring to a boil and put the covered Dutch oven into a 325 degree for 3 hours (If not tender enough, just keep cooking).
May use red wine (burgundy/pinot noir or zinfandel).
May us thyme, other spices of your choice to thicken sauce, mix equal parts cornstarch & water whisk into sauce, cook till thick.