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I just made beef stock and after cooling the stock in the pot I skimmed the solidified fat off the surface and the walls of the pot. Since I often read 'keep duck fat' when making duck stock/broth and because lard is probably something similar from pork, should I keep that beef fat instead of throwing it away? Or does it lack the 'quality' of duck fat (for instance)?

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5 Answers 5

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Rendered beef fat can be used in a lot of ways. You can use it in place of oil in a lot of recipes, but finding out which ones you like will take some experimenting. Around our house, I use rendered fat from beef or bacon in place of oil when sautéing, for example with onions and peppers, garlic or mushrooms. I've also used it to add some kick to gravies.

You could use it to pop popcorn, which I've heard is delicious but unfortunately have never tried.

I've had pasties made with beef fat, and they were delicious. Mashed potatoes as well.

As far as fat ratio goes, it's better than butter, but not as good as other fats. Beef fat has a high smoke point and is suitable for frying.

The table below is based off of 1 tablespoon. Ratio means saturated to unsaturated. Smoke point can vary depending on a lot of factors (olive oil can range from 300 when unrefined, to 375-450 when refined depending on quality) but the table below should be a good guide. For the oils, I took the refined numbers.

                   sat   mono  poly   ratio  smoke
  Canola Oil       0.9   8.2   4.1    1:12   470°F
  Olive Oil        1.8   10.0  1.2    2:11   450°F
  Chicken Fat      3.8   5.7   2.6    1:2    375°F
  Duck Fat         4.3   6.3   1.7    1:2    375°F
  Lard (pork fat)  5.0   5.8   1.4    5:7    365°F
  Beef Tallow      6.4   5.4   0.5    1:1    400°F
  Butter           7.2   3.3   0.5    7:4    350°F

(fat source) (smoke point source)

A lot of people mix it into their dog's food, or use it to feed birds.

Seach for tallow if you want to find recipes that specifically use it.

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The main thing that beef fat is usually used for is Yorkshire pudding. You could save and use it when you want yorkshire pudding but may not be doing a roast.

Duck fat, chicken fat, and bacon fat tend to have broader applications. It's really ultimately up to you and your preference and cooking style. Of course it does become cumbersome to keep a container for each type of fat so you probably have to decide what has the greatest benefit for you and your cooking style.

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If you dont want to eat it, you can feed it to the birds. Take a small can, cut the top off, fold the top over so there are no sharp edges, pour excess fat into it until its almost full. Then throw in a few peanuts and stick it out for the birds.

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In my experience duck fat is the best option for roasting potatoes and other root vegetables. I tend to throw away beef fat as I'm not a fan but McDonalds used it for their fries a while back.

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Good fact! According to Wikipedia, before 1990 they used a combination of 93% tallow and 7% cottonseed oil. They now use a combination of canola, soybean and corn oils. –  stephennmcdonald Aug 23 '10 at 5:08
    
Fun fact: the day they stopped using tallow, Saint Julia cried. –  daniel Sep 3 '10 at 1:41

That fat is called tallow and there are a lot of things you can do with it. Just like duck fat and lard have a place in a kitchen, tallow does too. It is also called suet. It keeps just about forever and I like the mouth feel it can add to a soup or stew. However, the most common uses for tallow are non-food related, like candle making.

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suet is actually more specifically the fat from around the kidneys (not the caul fat, the actual thick fat). It has a slightly different texture, and I do not think that substituting tallow will work in applications such as fruitcakes or spotted dick or whatnot. –  daniel Sep 3 '10 at 1:42
    
The terms are used interchangeably in my books, so I didn't know that. Thanks for the correction –  sarge_smith Sep 3 '10 at 4:41

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