Feature image with a lump of tallow with a knife sticking in it along with the words 'beef tallow uses - 66 surprising ways that go beyond cooking
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Beef Tallow Uses: 66 Surprising Ways That Go Beyond Cooking

Meet tallow, the unsung hero of self-reliance and sustainability. You might know it as a cooking staple, but trust me, it’s so much more.

Imagine one simple ingredient that can smooth out your bike ride, kickstart a campfire, and even polish your grandma’s old dining table to a mirror shine.

Whether you’re an avid DIYer, an outdoor enthusiast, or just someone looking for cost-effective solutions, tallow is your new best friend.

We’re diving deep into this multi-purpose wonder, uncovering its wide array of uses that go way beyond the frying pan.

From personal care to household hacks, I’ve compiled an exhaustive list of ways this versatile fat can make your life easier, healthier, and just a tad more interesting.

Get ready to be amazed; tallow’s talents are truly endless!

Table of Contents

What is Beef Tallow

Beef tallow is the rendered fat obtained from beef, typically from suet, leaf fat, or muscle fat. It’s a stable, saturated animal fat that’s solid at room temperature. Unlike vegetable oils, beef tallow has a high smoke point, making it ideal for high-heat cooking methods like frying.

Rich in saturated fats and essential nutrients, it’s an incredibly versatile fat that extends beyond the kitchen. Its long shelf life and range of uses, from cooking to skincare and even candle making, make it a valuable resource in any household.

If you’re interested in a more natural, multipurpose fat, beef tallow could be your new go-to.

Find out more about beef tallow in my article ‘miracle tallow‘.

The Full List of Beef Tallow Uses

Let’s dig in and discover how tallow, especially grass-fed, is the unsung hero of your home. Whether you want more flavor in cooking or a durable fat for soap making, tallow has got you covered.

1. Cooking & Frying

Tallow is a kitchen superstar. Perfect for frying up some tasty fries or sautéing veggies. It’s stable at high temps, so no worries about harmful stuff getting into your food.

2. Baking

Swap out butter for tallow in your favorite recipes. Makes your baked goods flaky and rich. Who doesn’t love a good pie crust?

3. Skin Care

Say bye-bye to dry skin. Tallow-based creams are super moisturizing. Plus, they’re often free from those pesky chemicals. A win-win for your skin.

Find out more about beef tallow for skin.

TIP

For a grass-fed tallow balm, mix the finished tallow with some apple cider vinegar and essential oils.

4. Hair Conditioner

Give your hair the love it deserves. Tallow can work as a natural conditioner. Makes your hair smooth and shiny without all those added synthetic ingredients.

5. Tallow Soap Making

Making soap at home? Tallow makes your soap creamy and lathers well. Bonus: it’s usually cheaper than other oils. I cover more about tallow soap here.

6. Making Candles

Tallow candles burn slowly and give off a natural, soft light. No need to worry about toxic fumes. Perfect for setting the mood.

7. Lubrication

Use tallow as a natural lubricant for machinery. It’s less toxic than standard oils and easy on the wallet too.

8. Leather Care

Treat your leather goods right. Tallow can clean and condition leather, making it soft and durable. Your shoes and bags will thank you.

9. Pet Food

Believe it or not, tallow is good for Fido too. Add it to homemade pet food for some extra nutrients.

10. Emergency Food

Do you have a survival kit? Add some tallow. It’s a dense source of calories and lasts a long time. Handy when you need energy in a pinch.

Tip

If the tallow smell is too strong for your liking, try mixing it with olive oil to make it more palatable.

11. Fire Starters

Mix tallow with some cotton balls. You’ve got yourself a DIY fire starter. Great for camping trips or an emergency kit.

12. Bird Feed

Winter is tough on our feathered friends. Melt some tallow and mix it with birdseed. Hang it outside, and you’ll make some birdies very happy.

13. Seasoning Cast Iron

Tired of your food sticking to the pan? Rub some tallow on your cast iron skillet. It helps create that non-stick surface you’re craving.

14. Rust Prevention

Tallow can coat metal and keep rust at bay. Useful for tools or any metal items that spend time outdoors.

15. Fishing Bait

Yep, you read that right. Tallow can be used as bait for certain kinds of fish. If you’re into fishing, why not give it a try?

16. Traditional Medicine

Some folks use tallow to make medicinal balms. Think natural remedies for cuts, scrapes, and minor burns.

17. Natural Insect Repellent

Mix tallow with essential oils like lavender or citronella. Slap it on, and those pesky bugs won’t know what hit ’em.

18. Cooking Oil Lamp

Need some off-the-grid lighting? A jar of tallow can serve as a simple oil lamp. Stick a cotton wick in, and you’re good to go.

19. Crayons for Kids

Mix tallow with some natural dyes, and voila! Homemade crayons that are non-toxic and fun for kids.

20. Treating Wood

Got a wooden cutting board or furniture? Rubbing tallow on them can help keep the wood conditioned and long-lasting.

21. Dental Care

Some folks swear by tallow for oil pulling. It’s said to improve oral health, though more research is needed.

22. Gum and Resin Cleaner

Got sticky stuff you can’t get rid of? Tallow can help dissolve gums and resins. Think labels on jars or that gunk on your scissors.

23. Foot Cream

Cracked heels? No problem. Tallow makes an excellent foot cream. Rub some in before bed and wake up to softer, smoother feet.

24. Frying Fish Bait

Some anglers use tallow to fry their fish bait. They say it attracts more fish. Worth a try on your next fishing trip!

25. Antiseptic Balm

Mix tallow with essential oils like tea tree or lavender. You get a natural antiseptic balm for minor cuts and scrapes.

26. Natural Deodorant

Tallow can even help you smell fresh. Blend it with some baking soda and essential oils, and you’ve got DIY deodorant.

27. Garden Tools

Tallow can keep your garden tools in tip-top shape. Just rub a bit on the metal parts to prevent rust and increase longevity.

28. Art Supplies

Believe it or not, some artists use tallow to make traditional paints and pigments. Not just for crafts but for serious art!

29. Windshield Wiper Fluid

Some DIYers make homemade wiper fluid with tallow. It helps to repel rain and gives you clearer vision on the road.

30. Livestock Feed

On a farm? Tallow can be used in livestock feed. It’s high in calories and helps keep animals healthy.

31. Cuticle Cream

Say goodbye to ragged cuticles. A little dab of tallow can keep them soft and easy to manage.

32. Sports Gear

You can even use tallow to condition sports gear like baseball gloves. Makes them more flexible and easier to use.

33. Joint Lubricant

Some claim that tallow helps with creaky door hinges and stiff locks. Just a touch can make things move smoother.

34. Stain Remover

Tallow can help remove stubborn stains. Apply some on the affected area and wash as usual.

35. Plant Food

In small amounts, tallow can be mixed into soil as a plant nutrient. Your garden might just thank you.

36. Chewing Gum

In traditional settings, tallow was used to make chewing gum. Probably an acquired taste, but it’s a fun bit of trivia.

37. Zipper Lubricant

Sticky zipper? A little tallow can make it slide smoothly again. Just apply a small amount and you’re good to go.

38. Body Scrub

Mix tallow with sugar or salt and add a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Hello, homemade body scrub!

39. Shaving Cream

Tired of razor burns? Tallow can make a soothing, natural shaving cream. Your skin will thank you.

40. Wood Polish

Bring out the shine in your wooden furniture. A tallow rub-down can make your chairs and tables look brand new.

41. Baby Care

Believe it or not, tallow can be a gentle option for baby skincare. Think diaper rash creams or lotions.

42. Mouse Trap Bait

Looking to catch a mouse? Smear a little tallow on your trap. Those critters won’t be able to resist.

43. Acne Treatment

Some people find tallow helpful for acne. Though not scientifically proven, it’s worth a shot if you’ve tried everything else.

44. Waterproofer

Tallow can be used to waterproof boots or canvas bags. A thin layer will make them more resistant to water.

45. Grill Cleaner

Done with your BBQ? A brush and some tallow can help remove grime from your grill. Plus, it’s ready for next time.

46. Hand Soap

Combine tallow with lye and some scents. Now you’ve got a homemade hand soap that’s moisturizing and effective.

47. Beard Balm

Guys with beards, listen up! Tallow can tame those unruly hairs. Just work in a small amount.

48. Mixing With Spices

In the culinary world, spices and herbs can be mixed with tallow to create unique flavor bases for dishes.

49. Ice Cream Base

Some traditional ice cream recipes actually use tallow as a base. Talk about a creamy texture!

50. Muzzleloader Lubricant

For historical reenactments or hunting, tallow is used to lubricate the patches in muzzleloaders.

51. Sealant for Jars

In old-school food preservation, tallow was used to seal jars. It solidifies and forms an airtight layer.

52. Wood Sealer

For woodworking projects, tallow can act as a sealer. It helps protect the wood from moisture and decay.

53. Bike Chain Lubricant

Got a squeaky bike chain? A little tallow can make your ride smoother and quieter. Just rub some on the chain and pedal away.

54. Chapped Lip Remedy

Cold weather got your lips feeling dry? Tallow can be a quick fix for chapped lips. Just apply a little and smile on.

55. Musical Instruments

Some musicians use tallow to maintain their instruments. For example, it can be used to lubricate valves on brass instruments.

56. Insect Trap

Mix tallow with a sweetener like honey. Place it where ants or roaches frequent. They’ll be drawn to it and get stuck.

57. Preserving Iron and Steel

In historical times, tallow was used to prevent rusting of iron and steel artifacts. Still works today!

58. Recycled Soap Bits

Gather all those leftover soap scraps. Melt them down with some tallow to make new bars. Waste not, want not!

59. Skateboard Bearings

If you skate, you’ll love this. Tallow can lubricate your skateboard bearings, making for a smoother ride.

60. Makeup Remover

Tired of expensive removers? Tallow can take off makeup while nourishing your skin. Double win!

61. Coating for Preserved Foods

Some folks use tallow to coat preserved fruits or cheeses. It acts as a barrier, prolonging shelf life.

62. Boat Maintenance

Believe it or not, tallow has been used to seal wooden ships and condition ropes. Ahoy, DIY sailors!

63. Bullet Lubricant

In shooting sports or hunting, tallow can be used to lubricate bullets. Makes for more consistent firing.

64. Mouthwash

While not common, some people use tallow in homemade mouthwash recipes. Blended with essential oils, it might freshen your breath.

65. Floor Polish

A little tallow can polish your floors to a nice shine. Just make sure it’s a small amount to avoid slipperiness.

66. Wind Instrument Cork Grease

If you play a wind instrument like a clarinet or saxophone, you know how important it is to keep the cork joints flexible. Tallow can serve as a natural alternative to commercial cork grease. Just a thin layer will do the trick, making it easier to assemble and disassemble your instrument.

How to Make Beef Tallow

Ok, so now you know what it can be used for, the next thing to understand is how to make it. Here’s a quick guide on how to make your own tallow, and trust us, it’s easier than you think! For more in-depth instructions, check out my article on how to make beef tallow.

What You’ll Need

  • Beef fat from your local butcher or online supplier
  • A heavy pot or slow cooker
  • A glass container or mason jar
  • A Fine Mesh Strainer

Steps to Render Beef Tallow

  1. Collect the Beef Fat: Head to your local butcher and ask for beef suet or the hard fat surrounding the beef, commonly known as leaf fat. Make sure it’s grass-fed beef for better quality and higher vitamin D content.
  2. Chop It Up: Once you have your beef fat, chop it into smaller pieces. The smaller, the better—this will speed up the rendering process.
  3. Cook it up: Place the chopped beef fat into your pot or slow cooker. Set it on low and let it melt. It’s a dry method that will slowly turn the beef fat into rendered beef fat.
  4. Filter Out the Solids: Once the fat is melted, use a fine mesh strainer to strain out any remaining solids. You’re left with pure fat that’s called beef tallow.
  5. Cool and Store: Pour the melted tallow into a glass container or mason jar. It will solidify at room temperature and become shelf-stable. Keep it in an airtight container.

Types of Rendered Beef Fat That Make Tallow

When it comes to beef tallow, not all fats are created equal. There are different types of rendered beef fat that contribute to the overall tallow taste, nutritional value, and usability.

Leaf Fat

The leaf fat surrounds the internal organs of the animal. It’s considered the highest quality of beef fat, offering a mild beefy flavor. Leaf fat is commonly used in baking recipes and is also perfect for rendering tallow for skincare products.

Suet

This hard fat can be found around the kidneys and loins. Suet is highly saturated and great for long-term storage. Its high smoke point makes it ideal for frying and other high-heat cooking methods.

Suet can be rendered into tallow and is often used as a base for tallow balm. Find out more about suet here.

Muscle Fat

This is the fat that’s marbled into or surrounding the beef muscle. While not as pure as leaf fat, muscle fat can still be rendered into a usable tallow for cooking and other applications. Its tallow smell may be more pronounced compared to other types of fat.

Where to Buy Grass-Fed Beef Tallow

Making your own tallow may be too time consuming and let’s be honest a bit of a faff in our busy lives. The good news is that you can buy beef tallow pre-made. Let’s look at some options. Be sure to find tallow from grass-fed animals.

Local Butcher Shops

Your local butcher is a great starting point. They often provide the freshest, grass-fed beef tallow, and you’ll be supporting local businesses too. Just pop in and ask; they might even render beef tallow specifically for you.

Online Retailers

There are plenty of online stores selling grass-fed beef tallow. Just make sure to read reviews and ensure you’re getting a pure, high-quality product. Many of these shops deliver right to your door, making it super convenient. Here are some options:

Health Food Stores

Specialty health food stores often carry a variety of grass-fed products, including beef tallow. Check out the oils and fats section, and you’re likely to find a jar or two.

Supermarkets

More and more supermarkets are stocking grass-fed beef tallow as its popularity grows. Look in the cooking oil aisle or where they keep other animal fats like lard.

Conclusion

I bet you didn’t know there were so many uses. To be honest, neither did I before I started writing this post. Tallow has absolutely amazed me with its versatility.

With its high smoke point, it’s a go-to for high-heat cooking. But beef tallow uses extend beyond just frying up some tasty french fries. This rendered beef fat is a treasure trove for DIYers, offering more flavor and less waste.

From baking recipes to making soap and candles, tallow can replace other oils like vegetable oil and even coconut oil. Grass-fed beef tallow offers a host of benefits, including a mild beefy flavor that can add a new dimension to your beef tallow recipes.

Render your own tallow in a slow cooker, and you’ll have a shelf-stable fat that can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container, like a mason jar. Beef fat is rich in saturated fat and conjugated linoleic acid, making it a worthy contender to olive oil.

Melted tallow or tallow balm can protect your skin, offering an alternative for skin care products. If you love the tallow taste, use it in pie crusts and other baked goods. You can even visit your local butcher for quality beef fat surrounding the meat, often referred to as leaf fat.

But why stop at rendered tallow? From cast iron seasoning to skin care, the uses are endless. The process of rendering tallow, be it beef or even rendered pork fat, offers a sustainable way to use every bit of the animal.

FAQ: Beef Tallow Uses

How is Beef Tallow Made?

Beef tallow is made by rendering beef fat, usually using a slow cooker. The beef fat is chopped into small pieces and melted down. The liquid fat is then strained to remove solids, resulting in pure, rendered tallow. It solidifies at room temperature and is shelf-stable.

Can You Make Tallow from Any Beef Fat?

Yes, tallow can be made from various types of beef fat, including leaf fat, suet, and muscle fat. However, leaf fat is considered the highest quality for making tallow, especially for uses like baking and skincare.

What Do You Make Beef Tallow Out Of?

Beef tallow is made out of rendered beef fat. The most commonly used types of beef fat for tallow are leaf fat, suet, and muscle fat. Each type offers different flavors and qualities suitable for various uses.

Is Beef Tallow Just Lard?

No, beef tallow and lard are not the same. Beef tallow is rendered from beef fat, while lard is rendered from pork fat. Each has its own unique flavor and uses, but both are animal fats suitable for cooking and other applications.

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