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"Chalky" Beef Tallow

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 15, 2011 at 11:45 AM

I recently rendered some beef tallow. I froze the suet and thawed it in the fridge prior to using it. When chopping it up for the slow cooker, I noticed that it seemed really dry and chalk-like. The process seemed to proceed normally - I rendered for about 16 hours and filled three jars which I left on the counter to cool for about 8-10 hours with the lids loose. Flash forward to last night, I pulled it out of the fridge and noticed that the final product has a similar dry texture. My wife has already complained that it solidifies really quickly and sticks to the roof of her mouth. Does anybody know what happened here? Did I screw up the suet by freezing it? Did I dry it out by letting it cool with the lids loose?

5d6a58590ba76136e8dc50c561c8ada2

(450)

on July 27, 2011
at 09:51 AM

i have the same problem with tallow. i just rendered some and while the cracklings were delicious hot, after cooling they are kind of disgusting due to the chalky, solid tallow... same thing happens when i cook ground beef :/ i'm thinking i will just always reheat whatever dish i cook it with.

1ccc0b0b7a756cd42466cef8f450d0cb

(1801)

on June 16, 2011
at 09:20 AM

Thanks, J. Interesting idea about the coconut oil - I might give that a shot.

1ccc0b0b7a756cd42466cef8f450d0cb

(1801)

on June 16, 2011
at 09:20 AM

Interesting about the "chalkiness gradient" but I've gotten suet from the same source and don't remember it being so chalky... and no, I'm afraid I don't have the cojones to eat it straight up... yet :)

9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

(15833)

on June 15, 2011
at 07:04 PM

Not sure if it is an option for you but the lard I make from pork leaf fat is fantastic, smooth and white with minimal flavor, fantastic for pan-frying almost anything.

1ccc0b0b7a756cd42466cef8f450d0cb

(1801)

on June 15, 2011
at 02:32 PM

A coworker just suggested that I add some water to the jar and place it in a pot of hot water until the tallow remelts. Hopefully I can then cool it in the presence of the water and have moister tallow.

1ccc0b0b7a756cd42466cef8f450d0cb

(1801)

on June 15, 2011
at 02:30 PM

Thanks, ULH. I got the suet from Whole Foods - trimmed fresh from their grass fed beef. I followed the protocol on MDA (http://www.marksdailyapple.com/how-to-render-beef-tallow/) but let it go to make sure I got all the fat I was going to get. If you're suggesting that could be the reason (it got too dehydrated over time) I could see that.

1ccc0b0b7a756cd42466cef8f450d0cb

(1801)

on June 15, 2011
at 12:46 PM

More importantly, is there some way I can rescue it? I rendered about 8 lbs!

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9 Answers

best answer

4
00c8eb3f6e6a1884216044ca29cf868a

on June 15, 2011
at 09:42 PM

The higher in stearic and palmitic acid (the longest-chain saturated fats), the harder and waxier it will be. The higher in oleic acid (monounsaturated) and short-chain saturated fats, the softer it will be.

Adding water will just make it spatter when it cooks: oil and water don't mix. Perhaps you could add some coconut oil to thin it out a bit.

1ccc0b0b7a756cd42466cef8f450d0cb

(1801)

on June 16, 2011
at 09:20 AM

Thanks, J. Interesting idea about the coconut oil - I might give that a shot.

best answer

1
7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242

(7275)

on December 11, 2011
at 03:36 PM

I got two (pretty much identical) packages of suet from my meat CSA farmer, from grass-fed, healthy cows. I noticed the fat was very dry and chalky, too. With the first batch of tallow I rendered, we had the same problem of it leaving a disgusting film on the roof of our mouths. It was really inedible and smelled of candle wax. I had followed the directions for rendering tallow exactly. With the second batch, I had found a direction website with pictures that showed the cracklin's much darker than I had rendered the first time. So after the tallow was in the oven for something crazy like 12 hours, and still wasn't that dark, I finished it on the stove until it was the same dark color. And what do you know, the second batch didn't leave a coating. In fact, it's delicious. So I think the problem is not cooking it hot enough: an incomplete render, perhaps.

edit: Oh, yeah, it was in the Pemmican Manual.

2
96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on December 11, 2011
at 03:48 PM

I ordered tallow from US Wellness and it's extremely hard and dry. I have to carve out a bit with a sharp implement as it doesn't scoop.

I assumed it was because of purity as beef fat IS hard. It works and tastes great once melted, so I haven't worried about it.

I haven't noticed any coatings in my mouth but I don't mind the feel of fat so it could be and I just don't notice. I do eat salad and veggie with my meat.

1
9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

on June 15, 2011
at 02:05 PM

I keep 5 pound pieces of unrendered leaf lard in the freezer, and I render one of them periodically to produce lard for cooking. I follow about the same process as you, except that I only render for about an hour. Basically chop it up into 1-2 inch pieces and put in a pan over low heat until it's all rendered and the cracklins are crisp. I have never rendered tallow, but why does it take so long?

I don't think that freezing and thawing should have any ill effects on the fat, assuming that it was handled well before freezing. If it was fully thawed and refrozen, perhaps more than once, then that might cause it to change consistency.

It sounds like it was dry and chalky before you rendered it, where did it come from? Any chance that it was cooked or treated in some way before you got ahold of it?

9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

(15833)

on June 15, 2011
at 07:04 PM

Not sure if it is an option for you but the lard I make from pork leaf fat is fantastic, smooth and white with minimal flavor, fantastic for pan-frying almost anything.

1ccc0b0b7a756cd42466cef8f450d0cb

(1801)

on June 15, 2011
at 02:30 PM

Thanks, ULH. I got the suet from Whole Foods - trimmed fresh from their grass fed beef. I followed the protocol on MDA (http://www.marksdailyapple.com/how-to-render-beef-tallow/) but let it go to make sure I got all the fat I was going to get. If you're suggesting that could be the reason (it got too dehydrated over time) I could see that.

0
52d493763a23e2b14854533600846a67

on January 01, 2013
at 12:58 AM

Some beef fat from stores has flour added to it, maybe you got something like that? If you stuck a gluten test strip in the melted fat you would know for sure.

0
0d2dec01a5ed9363a9915e111ae13f7e

on December 12, 2011
at 03:46 AM

If it is like chopping at wax candles, it's good pure real beef tallow. Good stuff, nothing to "save", use it with wild abandon! It'll be a bit softer as it warms, but at fridge temps, hard.

0
361e96d70d6d3b91d63f6ad975e60ab6

(840)

on December 12, 2011
at 02:38 AM

Sounds like you have true saturated fat. Is this not good?

0
3c997ffae3db9464325b96979346d9e9

on June 16, 2011
at 11:42 AM

You might prefer lard...render some pork fat and see, it's less saturated and may give you a more pleasing mouth feel. I render both but prefer the tallow, at the same time nothing beats pork cracklings.

0
9e1dedf12f6ee75b7fe460960971fd21

(624)

on June 15, 2011
at 07:15 PM

Some suet is going to be flakier or chalkier, like if it is leaf lard from near the kidneys.

Leaf lard is supposed to be good stuff, but I don't know how you are serving it.

It almost sounds like you are eating it straight. If so, you get a +1 for having real cojones but I'm not following you there.

1ccc0b0b7a756cd42466cef8f450d0cb

(1801)

on June 16, 2011
at 09:20 AM

Interesting about the "chalkiness gradient" but I've gotten suet from the same source and don't remember it being so chalky... and no, I'm afraid I don't have the cojones to eat it straight up... yet :)

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