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Question for those who like to add butter to your steaks ...

... why not instead use rendered beef fat?

I'm thinking about asking my butcher for chunks of beef fat, rendering it and then saving it to "top off" my steaks after they come off the grill.


(By the way, I've done something similar when BBQ-ing brisket by placing a layer of fat cap on top of the brisket as it slowly smokes away.)

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  1. ipsedixit: You are a VERY, VERY bad man ;) adam
    P.S. And here, I thought I was being decadent by adding mere butter to steaks...

    1. I'd be a big fan of potatoes cooked in the beef fat. That being said, butter is the magic ingredient that adds a luxurious flavor to steaks. Wouldn't a tallow-laden steak just be *too much* of a beefy-good thing?

      1. Put that suet on top of the steaks when I broil them indoors. Pull the steaks, add butter to the broiling pan with the bloody juices and rendered fat. That goes directly on top of my baked potato (and then into my arteries) MMM MMM MMM, you can keep the sour cream!

        1. It does seem to me as though it would be redundant. When I do top my steaks with butter, it's usually because I have a wonderfully complementary compound butter, such as porcini butter, already in the freezer.

          3 Replies
          1. re: JoanN

            I agree. Butter, especially compound butter, adds an additional layer of flavor to a steak. Rendered fat, while delicious, just adds more of the same and makes the steak more greasy.

            On the other hand, rendered fat is great for cooking or topping off the other components of a steak dinner.

            1. re: JoanN

              Now that opens up a whole new bunch of possibilities: compound animal fats. Tarragon suet. Maitre d'Hotel lard. Smoked paprika schmaltz. Wait, wait, I'm just getting started!!!

              1. re: alanbarnes

                Yeah, but melted butter has a texture and flavor all its own, which happens to go really well with steak. I need to stop reading this thread. it's too close to dinner.

            2. i'd don't know if it will have a clean enough flavor for me. clarified butter, well, just can't be beat. not too sure about random scraps of beef fat from the butcher's floor or block.

              while the entire world seems to be under the impression that "fat=flavor", I'm not sure random beef fat is the flavor that i'd want. controlled fat (in the form of butter, bacon, fatback, etc) might lead to more consistent results.

              1. Close but wrong part of the cow. Beef Marrow, either in sauce or just lightly blanched, that'll really do it

                3 Replies
                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    Bordelaise sauce is a classic made with Bordeaux, bone marrow, shallots, and demiglace.

                    1. re: alanbarnes

                      I've tried sauce Bordelaise, it's divine. I haven't spread roasted marrow over steak yet, but that would be the next frontier!

                1. Ah, grasshopper, because you've not worked with tallow, have you?

                  Tallow (the rendered fat of beef or lamb/sheep/goats) gets waxy when it cools. And, unless your steak is well done, it will cool to the point that this might happen.

                  Marrow is the better choice, as noted above.

                  Now, I use suet in my mincemeat: I don't render it, I just pick out the thicker membranes and put it in my rotary cheesegrater, whereafter it looks like wax being readied for candlemaking (considering that tallow was the common source for candles, that makes sense). This is why good mincemeat needs to be served warm, and how you can tell the real stuff from mock mince - even warm, there is an ever so slightly (in a good way to mincemeat fans) waxy mouthfeel.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Karl S

                    Thanks for the info. That's good to know.

                    Ok, then, here's another dumb question. How about sous-vide using tallow? For example, Michael Mina is known to first poach sous-vide his steaks in butter before grilling and searing. Could one do the same with rendered beef fat?

                    Humor me ...

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      Tallow has a melting point about 10C above butter. I don't know enough about sous vide to say how that might change the method.

                      You are more than welcome to experiment and advise us of the differences.

                  2. I frequently blacken steaks in a cast iron skillet. Spread soft butter, not too thick, on the raw but room temperature steaks, then cover with your own homemade or store bought blackening seasoning. I usually make my own, but Zatarain's or Prudhomme's are excellent substitutes.This method works well on a hot BBQ grille, also. Talk about good!