Are you a fan of deep-fried foods? Have you tried using beef tallow as an alternative to oil?
Not only does it make deliciously crispy and flavorful dishes, but it also has some temperature advantages and a longer shelf life compared to vegetable oils.
But what about reusing beef tallow? Is it safe to do so?
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at how many times you can reuse beef tallow before it needs to be changed, how to properly store it, and other frequently asked questions about cooking oils.
So, let’s dive in and learn more about this versatile and tasty fat!
Can You Reuse Beef Tallow?
The short answer is yes, you can reuse beef tallow. In fact, it’s a great way to save money and reduce waste.
When it comes to deep frying, high-quality, rendered tallow can usually be reused three or four times before it becomes rancid or starts to break down. However, the number of times you can reuse beef tallow depends on the quality and type of tallow you have, as well as how it’s been stored.
For breaded foods, it’s okay to use beef tallow three to four times before needing to discard it. For non-battered or breaded foods, you can reuse beef tallow eight times or more.
It’s important to note that you should always let the beef tallow cool completely after use and strain it through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any impurities. Store the beef tallow in an airtight jar in the fridge and label it as used, so you don’t mix it up with fresh tallow.
It’s also a good idea to add the date it was used and how many times you reused the tallow. This will help you keep track of how many times you’ve used it and when it’s time to discard it.
What Is Beef Tallow?
Beef tallow is a type of rendered fat that comes from various fatty cuts of beef. The process of rendering involves cooking down the fat from rump roast, ribs, steaks, or any other cut of meat from the cow. It can also be the pure fat skimmed off the meat and melted into a liquid before settling back in a solid, more malleable substance.
Tallow is a versatile ingredient that can be used in cooking as a substitute for olive oil or butter. It has a high smoke point, making it great for deep frying and any cooking that requires high heat. Beef tallow is similar to lard, which comes from pigs, but it’s specifically made from cattle fat.
Historically, tallow has been used in many ways beyond cooking. It has been converted into biofuel, incorporated into medicinal salves, and used to make candles and grease rifles. Today, tallow is more of a throwback or novelty ingredient, used by chefs to make statement dishes such as beef-fat candles to dip bread in before the meal and as a flavorful spread for toast.
Tallow has many health benefits and contains fatty acids in a similar proportion to human skin, making it easily absorbed. It is particularly healing for rashes and other inflammatory skin conditions as well as cuts and scrapes. Tallow from grass-fed beef contains fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, which are necessary for health. These nutrients contribute to hormonal, neurological and cardiovascular health as well as bone and muscle growth and immune function.
Benefits Of Using Beef Tallow For Cooking
Using beef tallow for cooking has numerous benefits that make it a popular choice for chefs and home cooks alike. Here are some of the key benefits:
1. High smoke point: Beef tallow has a high smoke point, which means it can be heated to high temperatures without breaking down and producing harmful smoke or toxins. This makes it ideal for frying, sautéing, and other high-heat cooking methods.
2. Rich in nutrients: Beef tallow is rich in fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, as well as healthy fatty acids that support your metabolism and body weight management. These nutrients are essential for overall health and well-being.
3. Promotes fat-burning: Despite being a fat, consuming healthy beef tallow stimulates the release of glucagon, the hormone that signals to your body that it’s time to burn stored fat for energy. This makes beef tallow an ideal fat for a ketogenic diet.
4. Nourishes the skin: The saturated fat found in beef tallow nourishes your skin’s cell membranes, which helps to keep skin smooth and healthy. You can also use beef tallow on your skin as a natural moisturizer.
5. Protects your body from free radical damage: Beef tallow is rich in antioxidants like vitamin E, which helps to protect your cells from free radical damage. This can help to reduce the risk of chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease.
How Many Times Can You Reuse Beef Tallow?
When it comes to deep frying, the number of times you can reuse beef tallow depends on the type of food you’re frying and how it’s been stored. For breaded foods, you can reuse beef tallow three to four times before needing to discard it. This is because the breading can break down and contaminate the tallow, making it less effective for future use.
However, for non-battered or breaded foods, you can reuse beef tallow eight times or more. This is because the tallow doesn’t come into contact with any contaminants that could break it down quickly.
It’s important to note that you should always let the beef tallow cool completely after use and strain it through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any impurities. This will ensure that your tallow stays clean and free of any food particles that could cause it to spoil faster.
When storing beef tallow, make sure to keep it in an airtight jar in the fridge and label it as used. Adding the date it was used and how many times you reused the tallow can also help you keep track of its lifespan. If the beef tallow starts to smell bad or has an unpleasant appearance, discard it immediately.
By following these guidelines, you can safely extend the use of your beef tallow and save money in the process.
Signs That Beef Tallow Needs To Be Changed
While it’s possible to reuse beef tallow, it’s important to know when it’s time to change it. Here are some signs that your beef tallow needs to be changed:
1. Unpleasant odor: Beef tallow should have a neutral odor, but if it starts to smell rancid, sour, or off, it’s time to discard it. The smell will be more noticeable when the tallow is kept at room temperature.
2. Discolored appearance: If the beef tallow starts to turn brown or develops dark spots, it’s a sign that it’s gone bad and needs to be changed.
3. Cloudy texture: Fresh beef tallow should be clear and smooth. If it starts to look cloudy or grainy, it means that it has started to break down and is no longer safe for use.
4. Unusual taste: If your food tastes off or has a strange flavor after cooking with beef tallow, it could be a sign that the tallow has gone bad.
In general, if you’re unsure about the quality of your beef tallow, it’s better to err on the side of caution and discard it. Using old or rancid tallow can lead to foodborne illness and spoil the taste of your food.
Proper Storage Of Beef Tallow
Proper storage of beef tallow is essential to ensure its quality and longevity. There are three ways to store beef tallow: at room temperature, in the fridge, and in the freezer. Generally, beef tallow keeps the longest in the freezer.
If you bought a large quantity of beef fat to render yourself, or a big vat of already-made tallow, it’s recommended to divide it into smaller, more usable portions to use it all with little waste. This can be done by using freezer bags or airtight containers.
When storing beef tallow at room temperature, it’s crucial to keep it in an airtight container, with no exposure to moisture, air, and extreme temperature fluctuations. A good air-tight container is a glass mason jar. The USDA requires a frozen sticker for beef tallow that doesn’t use preservatives or additives. The container can sit on the pantry shelf unrefrigerated for a month without issue. At some point, the surface will begin to oxidize. Since the tallow is not highly perishable, it just comes down to personal preference for storage. A lot of customers opt to keep it in the fridge, while others that use it more frequently may leave it on the kitchen counter covered and out of direct sunlight.
For long-term storage, it’s recommended to divide the tallow into smaller containers for freezing. It will keep for years in the freezer and months in the refrigerator. When freezing beef tallow, be sure to thaw it before using it as frozen fat will be difficult to work with.
The primary consideration for storage is preventing odors from contaminating the tallow or lard. It’s important to store beef tallow away from strong-smelling foods like onions or garlic as they can affect its flavor and aroma.
Frequently Asked Questions About Cooking Oils
Q: Can I reuse cooking oil?
A: Yes, you can reuse cooking oil as long as you store and reuse it safely.
Q: How many times can I reuse cooking oil?
A: There’s no hard and fast rule for how many times you can reuse cooking oil. It depends on the type of oil, how it’s been stored, and what you’ve used it for. Generally, you can reuse cooking oil three to four times for breaded or battered foods, and eight times or more for cleaner-frying items such as potato chips.
Q: How do I know when it’s time to replace my cooking oil?
A: You’ll know it’s time to replace your cooking oil when it becomes dark in color, has a strong smell, or starts to bubble.
Q: What’s the best way to store cooking oil?
A: Store cooking oil in an airtight container in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight.
Q: Do I need to refrigerate beef tallow?
A: No, you can store beef tallow at room temperature in an airtight jar for up to 12 months before it becomes rancid.
Q: Can I mix old and new oil together?
A: Yes, many restaurants and chefs mix old and new oil together to add flavor and color to their dishes. However, be sure to use good judgment when doing this and don’t mix oils that have been used for different types of foods.
Q: How do I dispose of used cooking oil?
A: Do not pour used cooking oil down the drain as it can clog pipes. Instead, let the oil cool completely and then pour it into a sealable container and dispose of it in the trash. Some cities also have recycling programs for used cooking oil.