Stop Throwing Out Your Steak Fat And Make Tallow

Perhaps you've heard the adage that "fat is flavor," but that doesn't make biting down into a chunk of slippery fat when you're eating steak any more enjoyable. And, as it turns out, leaving all the fat on your steak could actually be the wrong move.

Trimming excess fat from your steak not only makes for a more enjoyable eating experience — but also allows you to make tallow. Tallow is essentially beef fat that's rendered down in a process that removes impurities; it's the same way pork fat is made into lard

Tallow has a high smoke point and super-beefy flavor, so it's ideal for a variety of uses. And it's easy to make, too. The easiest is in your air fryer — another of many useful hacks for the appliance. Once you trim a steak, cube the fat and cook it in a dry 400-degree air fryer. Check it every five minutes until only crackly bits remain in the basket; the precious liquid in the tray underneath is tallow. Or, if you don't have an air fryer, pop cubed fat in a saucepan with a little water, which will help the fat melt without burning. Once the water evaporates, strain the solids out and enjoy your tallow!

Here's what you can do with tallow

Making tallow from beef fat is a great way to avoid wasting food and get some nutrients, too. Tallow contains vitamins D and E and minerals like selenium, plus weight-healthy conjugated linoleic acid.

Once you make tallow from your leftover steak fat, there's plenty you can use it for at home. As plenty of restaurants know, its beefy flavor is great for frying foods. Tallow might even be the reason you used to love McDonald's fries — until a recipe change in the '90s. Even Buffalo Wild Wings still fries its traditional and boneless wings in beef shortening.

If you're making meat pies, quiches, or other savory pastries, grating frozen tallow into your dough instead of cold butter can add depth of flavor. Or, try incorporating tallow into salad dressings or popcorn instead of other oils for a burst of richness. No wonder chef and food-TV icon Nigella Lawson calls tallow the most underrated ingredient!