I purchased a package of "beef fat" from the grocery for making tallow. I cut it up into one inch cubes and placed in the slow cooker for 4-5 hours. I ladled off the fat and double filtered it through cheesecloth. The liquefied fat was not as clear as it appeared in an instructional video I'd watched, and in its solid state there's a slightly unpleasant smell. This was my first attempt at making tallow, so I didn't know what to expect.

Does the anatomic location of the fat portion matter?

  • 1
    Are you sure it was fresh? Of course anatomic location matters when it comes to taste (don't know if it prevents making tallow), but in no way should it give "slightly unpleasant smell". Of course, unpleasant is subjective.
    – Mołot
    Commented Nov 2, 2016 at 15:47
  • 2
    By "don't know what to expect", do you mean you have never tasted/smelled tallow before? It is not a neutral fat, it has a slight odor of its own. And it is normal for people to not like a smell the first time they are exposed to it, especially smells of animal origin.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Nov 2, 2016 at 16:22
  • Yes, I'd never smelled/tasted it before. Commented Nov 2, 2016 at 17:12

1 Answer 1


The source of the fat can make a difference in taste, texture, color, clarity, and fat composition. (And that's not just the part of the cow, but also the breed of cow, how old it was, its diet, etc.) The kidney fat, for example, is a particular area used from cows that produces a particular kind of desirable fat, but it's not necessary for making tallow in general.

As for odor, it's hard to say. Rendering animal fats in general often tends to produce pretty smelly odors. That's pretty normal. You'll have to see whether the flavor is acceptable to you. (I'd mainly be worried about odors from the fat before you started cooking it; in that case, it might be a sign the fat was old or even spoiled. But odors during and after cooking can happen: a lot of smelly molecules are fat-soluble, so they may be released when it is cooked.)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.