Tallow is to beef what lard is to pork. It is rendered fat that is used for a variety of different things. Although it can be used to make hand soap, laundry detergent, and skin balm; I’ll only cover the nutritional value of tallow, how you can make it, and how you can use it to make candles.

Nutritional Value

The most common way to use tallow is in your everyday cooking. Anywhere you would use butter, oil, lard, or shortening (like Crisco), you can substitute tallow and receive these great health benefits:

  1. Beef Tallow is a great source of Vitamins A, D, and E.
    This means that this natural product is great for your skin, boosts your immune system, and is a powerful antioxidant.
  2. Beef Tallow helps burn fat.
    It’s ironic, right?! Eating fat helps burn fat. It is the same principle that drives the “Keto Diet.”
  3. The CLA in tallow may protect against breast tumors and colon cancer.
    “Animal studies consistently show that CLA reduces mammary tumor metastasis. Relatively low levels of CLA are required for mice to experience these benefits. In this study, mammary tumor growth was suppressed when the researchers replaced vegetable fat with beef tallow.” (Read More about this and the other nutritional value facts at https://carnivoreaurelius.com/what-is-tallow/)

How To Make Tallow

There are two ways to render your beef fat and make tallow: wet and dry rendering. The easier of the two is dry rendering and that’s what will be explained below. Most of these instructions from from www.theprairiehomestead.com. I bet you can’t guess which one we added!

  1. Buy your beef fat from a local butcher, preferably one in downtown Lincolnton!
    1. If you’re butchering animal yourself, find leaf fat in a big mass around kidneys-it has a cellophane-ish coating on it and feels kind of waxy
    2. Remove from carcass and put in a bucket to refrigerate until the next day because cold fat is MUCH easier to handle
    3. Dry rendering (no water) Beef Tallow:
    4. Trim beef fat
  2. Chop it into manageable chunks, then trim off bits of meat, blood, gristle, and whatever else you may find including the “cellophane” wrapping around the leaf fat
  3. Once trimmed, run fat through the food processor (MUCH easier when cold!) until it’s the consistency of ground meat (If you don’t have a processor, just chop fat into small pieces)
  4. Dump shredded fat into a large stockpot or slow cooker for several hours and use very low heat to begin melting
  5. Check fat and stir occasionally to make sure it’s not burning
  6. As fat renders, it slowly melts allowing “impurities” to rise to the top
  7. It’s done where there’s clear liquid at the bottom and crispy bits floating on top
  8. Strain tallow through a piece of cheesecloth or fabric to remove all the “floaties” (you may want to place your cheesecloth inside a colander to make straining easier)
  9. Pour into jars and allow to harden and cool at room temperature

    You can leave the tallow out at room temperature for 1 week, but afterwards you need to refrigerate it. If kept in the refrigerator, it will keep for several months to a year.

How To Make Tallow Candles

You will need:

  • Canning jars
  • Tallow
  • Wicks


  1. Cut your tallow into 1 inch chunks.
  2. Melt the tallow in a double-boiler.
  3. Once it has melted completely, remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.
  4. Prepare jars by hot-gluing a wick in the bottom of each jar.
  5. Once the tallow has cooled, but not hardened, pour it into the jars.
  6. Allow the tallow to harden completely.

For more information regarding this process, go to https://www.theprairiehomestead.com/2014/01/tallow-emergency-candles.html

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