How to Render Beef Fat

cat_126Beef fat can be used in place of margarine or other butter substitutes.  It’s a bit of a challenge to get used to its consistency: when cold, it is harder than butter (almost rock hard), yet it softens more quickly becoming semi-solid at room temperature.  But if rendered slowly, and strained of any water or particles, its flavor is almost imperceptible, and can be used in pie crusts for fruit pies, brushed between Phyllo for apple streudel and more.

  • 4 lbs beef fat
  • 2-3 tablespoons water
  1. Set beef fat and water in a dutch oven or heavy pot.  Heat over low flame very slowly until the fat starts to melt.  Continue to heat, stirring occasionally, until all fat has melted.  Alternately, set pot in oven at 170F overnight or for several hours.  The lower the heat you use, the longer it will take but the purer the flavor will be.  At higher heat, any remaining meat particles will caramelize and lend more beefy flavor to the fat.
  2. Once the fat has rendered, strain through a muslin cloth, several layers of cheese cloth, or paper towels.  Refrigerate in a wide, shallow dish until mostly solid.  Cut into chunks (weighing out 1/2lb increments, if you choose) to use in baking later.

Yields 2-3lbs rendered fat.  Substitute 1 for 1 in pie crust and tart recipes.  Our tests for use of rendered beef fat in cookies and cakes is ongoing — we’ll update this page as we find out how it goes!

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