If you’ve been keeping up with barbeque trends, you may have heard about the latest craze: using tallow on brisket. Tallow, which is rendered beef or mutton fat, is believed to be the secret ingredient at the renowned Franklin Barbecue, and now many pitmasters are using it to add extra flavor and moisture to their brisket. In this article, we’ll delve into the world of tallow, covering everything from its history and uses to how to make and apply it to your smoked briskets. Whether you’re a seasoned pitmaster or just getting started with barbeque, this guide has everything you need to know about using tallow on brisket.
Tallow is a type of fat that is made by rendering beef or mutton fat and removing impurities. It has been used in cooking for centuries, and was once a popular choice for deep frying. In barbeque, tallow is often used on brisket by smearing it onto butcher paper at the wrapping stage of the cook. This technique is commonly used in Texas barbeque restaurants, as many believe it adds extra moisture and flavor to the brisket. Tallow can be made in a smoker by simmering the brisket trimmings in an aluminium tray alongside the brisket, or it can be made on the stove and stored in jars for up to 6 months.
- Tallow is a type of rendered fat that is made from beef or mutton fat, and has been used in cooking for centuries
- Tallow can be used as an alternative to oil or butter when cooking, and is especially popular in barbeque
- Tallow is believed to add extra moisture and flavor to brisket, and is commonly used in Texas barbeque restaurants
- Tallow can be made by simmering the brisket trimmings in an aluminium tray alongside the brisket in the smoker, or on the stove and stored in jars for up to 6 months
- Tallow is applied to the brisket at the wrapping stage of the cook, using butcher paper
- There are two methods for applying tallow to the butcher paper: smearing it on the paper, or placing a dollop of tallow on the paper and placing the bottom of the brisket on top of it
- After applying tallow, wrap the brisket tightly in the butcher paper and continue to smoke until it reaches the desired internal temperature
- Some tips for using tallow on brisket include trimming excess fat from the brisket before applying tallow, using enough tallow to cover the entire surface of the brisket, and avoiding overloading the brisket with tallow, which can lead to a greasy finished product
What is Tallow?
Tallow is made from fat. It can be rendered from beef fat or mutton fat, and people have used it in cooking for centuries. Similar to lard (pork fat), or ghee (rendered butter), tallow is rendered fat that has been cooked down until all impurities have been removed.Tallow has many uses, from making soap to molding candles or deep frying food. Once upon a time, McDonalds made their french fries in deep fried tallow before switching to oil over 40 years ago. If you want an oil alternative, tallow is a great substitute for butter or oil when cooking, and it will add flavor and richness to your cooking, and especially your barbeque!
Why Tallow on Brisket?
We all know fat is flavor, so using tallow on your brisket is a way of adding to the flavor profile of the brisket. Smoke adds one layer of flavor to your brisket and the rub adds another layer. Beef tallow is just another method you can try to introduce to your barbeque to add yet another layer of flavor to your already delicious brisket.
Why Does Tallow Taste So Good?
Some believe tallow is the secret ingredient at Franklin’s world famous brisket, and if it’s true, I can see why. Even scientists say that our taste buds on our tongue have a neurological response to the taste of fat. The pleasure we receive from fat can lead to cravings for more fatty foods, similar to a drug addict craving drugs. So with that in mind, be careful how you use this information. Tallow may be the ingredient that makes your brisket addictive and you will have all your family and friends begging for more!
How To Apply Tallow To Brisket
The best time to apply tallow to your smoked brisket is at the wrapping stage of the cook. Butcher paper is the preferred wrap when working with tallow, and I have yet to see a pitmaster use anything different when using the tallow method. There are several ways to apply the tallow to the butcher paper, and as always, experiment until you find a method you prefer.
- The first option is to smear the tallow onto a sheet of butcher paper as if you were smearing tomato sauce onto a pizza base. Give the paper a decent covering and then place the brisket on the paper and wrap it as you normally would.
- The second option is to place a huge dollop of tallow (about 1 cup) on the butcher paper and place the bottom of the brisket on top. Make sure the fat cap is facing upwards, then wrap the brisket in a tight parcel.
For more information on the foil vs butcher paper debate, check out this article. How Should I Wrap My Brisket: Paper or Foil?
Spread The Tallow On Butcher Paper- Step-By-Step
Before adding tallow, smoke the brisket through the first phase as you normally would. Bring the brisket to a 150°F internal meat temperature and then assess the bark formation until you are ready to wrap. Once the brisket is ready for wrapping, follow one of these methods.
Making Tallow: Method 1
To apply tallow to your brisket, you will need to lay out butcher paper or aluminium foil and cut it to size. Spread a thick layer of tallow over the inside layer of the paper, like spreading pizza sauce. Place the brisket on the tallow-smeared paper and wrap it as normal. Once the brisket reaches an internal temperature of 203°F, remove it from the smoker and unwrap it. If you plan to rest the brisket, allow it to rest for at least 30 minutes to an hour before slicing. If you plan to hold it for 4+ hours, add more tallow to a fresh sheet of paper, re-wrap the brisket, and wrap it in a towel before placing it in a dry cooler until you are ready to slice.
|1||Lay out butcher paper or aluminium foil and cut it to size|
|2||Smear a thick layer of tallow over the inside layer of the paper, spreading it around like pizza sauce|
|3||Place the brisket on the tallow-smeared paper and wrap it as normal|
|4||Once the brisket reaches an internal temperature of 203°F, remove it from the smoker and unwrap it|
|5||If you plan to rest the brisket, allow it to rest for at least 30 minutes to an hour before slicing. If you plan to hold it for 4+ hours, add more tallow to a fresh sheet of paper, re-wrap the brisket, and wrap it in a towel before placing it in a dry cooler until you are ready to slice|
Making Tallow: Method 2
Here’s another way to apply tallow to brisket, and some believe this method will protect the bark. For this method, you will need some pre-made tallow as well as some hot smoked tallow from your smoker. You can make some hot tallow using brisket trimmings and smoke the fat alongside your brisket. The pre-made tallow should be solid after being chilled in the refrigerator.
To apply tallow to your brisket, you will need some pre-made tallow as well as some hot smoked tallow made from brisket trimmings. Cut the fat into small cubes, place it in an aluminium tray, and smoke it alongside the brisket in the smoker. Lay out butcher paper or foil, place a large dollop of pre-made tallow on it, and place the brisket on top with the fat side facing up. Wrap the brisket in the paper and continue cooking until it reaches a internal temperature of 203°F. Unwrap the brisket, pour the liquid tallow from the aluminium tray onto the brisket, and re-wrap it. Allow the brisket to rest for at least 30 minutes to an hour before slicing, and store leftover tallow in a mason jar, separating the meat and tallow with a metal sieve. If holding the brisket, wrap it in a towel and place it in a dry cooler for 4+ hours.
|1||Trim the brisket and set aside some fat|
|2||Cut the brisket fat into small cubes and place in an aluminium tray|
|3||Smoke the fat alongside the brisket in the smoker at 220°F until the fat is rendered into liquid|
|4||Lay out butcher paper or foil|
|5||Place a large dollop of pre-made tallow (about 1 cup) on the paper and place the brisket on top, with the fat side facing up|
|6||Wrap the brisket in the paper and continue cooking until it reaches a 203°F internal meat temperature|
|7||Unwrap the brisket, pour the liquid tallow from the aluminium tray onto the brisket, and re-wrap the brisket|
|8||Allow the brisket to rest for at least 30 minutes to an hour before slicing|
|9||If holding the brisket, wrap it in a towel, place it in a dry cooler, and hold for 4+ hours|
|10||Store leftover tallow in a mason jar, separating the meat and tallow with a metal sieve|
How To Make Tallow The Traditional Way
You can make tallow on the stove, in a slow cooker, or in your smoker if you’re always after more smoked flavor. Whichever way you decide to make tallow, keep in mind that cooking fat down to nothing will stink out the house! If you have an outdoor cooker, then I would recommend making tallow outside. The goal is to cook the meat trimmings until the meat and fat has been separated. Be careful not to burn the fat, so it’s important to keep the heat low, but warm enough to keep the fat simmering. Add a little water to the fat and stir regularly.
To make tallow from leftover brisket fat trimmings, cut the trimmings into small cubes and place them in a pot or slow cooker with 1 cup of water. Stir every 5-10 minutes, making sure the heat is high enough for the fat to bubble without burning. After 45 minutes, scoop out the meat and allow the fatty liquid to cool for at least 1 hour. Strain the fat using a metal sieve or coffee filter with cheese cloth or paper filters, then pour the tallow into a mason jar and seal tightly. The tallow can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.
|Cut leftover brisket fat trimmings into small cubes||Use kitchen grinder/mincer if available|
|Place diced fat and trimmings in a pot or slow cooker||Add 1 cup of water to prevent burning and sticking|
|Stir every 5-10 minutes||Make sure heat is high enough for fat to bubble without burning|
|After 45 minutes, scoop out the meat||Allow the fatty liquid to cool for at least 1 hour|
|Strain the fat using a metal sieve or coffee filter||Place cheese cloth in sieve or use paper filters|
|Pour tallow into a mason jar and seal tightly||Store in refrigerator for up to 6 months|
Quick and Easy Brisket Tallow
Using your smoker is by far the quickest and easiest way to make tallow. Set aside your brisket trimmings and chop them into cubes after you’ve cubed your brisket. Place the fat and trimmings into an aluminium pan and add a drop of liquid. Place the pan in the smoker set to 220°F. Let the fat simmer for several hours. Once the brisket is ready to be wrapped, remove the tallow pan and pour the liquid over the butcher paper. Add some more after the once the brisket is done, right before it goes into resting/holding.
Experiment With Tallow
I have learned over the years that smoking brisket is about experimentation because there are dozens of techniques that you can use at any one time. When I’m cooking for a crowd, I don’t like to stray from methods tried and true, however, when I’m just cooking for my family on the weekend, I like to try out different things. Every tip and trick you apply will add a slight difference to the flavor and texture of the brisket. For example, the bark on a foil wrapped brisket will have a different texture to the bark on a brisket wrapped in butcher paper, or a naked unwrapped brisket. By adding tallow to your list will add another variation to your brisket. If you were to take this experimentation approach to your barbeque, I would recommend only changing one thing at a time when smoking brisket.
|Uses of tallow||Tallow can be used as an alternative to oil or butter when cooking, and is especially popular in barbeque|
|Benefits of using tallow on brisket||Tallow is believed to add extra moisture and flavor to brisket, and is commonly used in Texas barbeque restaurants|
|How to make tallow||Tallow can be made by simmering the brisket trimmings in an aluminium tray alongside the brisket in the smoker, or on the stove and stored in jars for up to 6 months|
|How to apply tallow to brisket||Tallow is applied to the brisket at the wrapping stage of the cook, using butcher paper. There are two methods for applying tallow to the butcher paper: smearing it on the paper, or placing a dollop of tallow on the paper and placing the bottom of the brisket on top of it. After applying tallow, wrap the brisket tightly in the butcher paper and continue to smoke until it reaches the desired internal temperature|
|Tips for using tallow on brisket||Trim excess fat from the brisket before applying tallow, use enough tallow to cover the entire surface of the brisket, and avoid overloading the brisket with tallow, which can lead to a greasy finished product|
My Favorite Brisket Tools
Thanks for checking out this article. I hope you learned a few things. Here are some of my favorite tools I use when smoking brisket that may be useful to you. These are affiliate links, so if you decide to purchase any of these products, I’ll earn a commission. But in all honesty, these are the tools I recommend to my family and friends who are just starting out.
Meat Injector: Injecting meat is a great way to take your barbecue to the next level and help you make competition-style brisket. An injector is the only way you will be able to get flavor and moisture into the middle of the meat. The Beast Injector is a stainless steel injector that is sturdy and affordable. Check the latest price on Amazon here.
Brisket Marinade: The best injection solution on the market is the Butcher BBQ Brisket Injection. This marinade is used in competitions and is made by World Barbecue Champion pitmaster, Dave Bouska. You can find the marinade on Amazon here.
Butcher Paper: Wrapping brisket in butcher paper has become a huge trend in barbeque thanks to Aaron Franklin. Wrapping your brisket in paper will give you a nice brisket bark. However, you can’t just use any old paper, it has to be unwaxed, food grade paper. You can find it on Amazon here.
Brisket Rub: These days I make my own rub when possible, but I always have a few pre-made rubs for when I’m running low. Barbecue guru Malcom Reed produces Killer Hogs, one of the best brisket rubs I’ve found over the years. Another great rub is Slap Yo Daddy, made by brisket master and multiple World Barbecue Champion, Harry Soo.
Meat Thermometer: There are dozens of fancy thermometers on the market, but I still use my trusty TP20. For around $50, I have a high-quality meat thermometer with two probes, and can track the temperature of my smoker with one probe, and my meat with the other probe. The ThermoPro TP20 is an Amazon Best Seller because it’s the easiest thermometer to operate, is durable, highly accurate, and comes with pre-programmed meat settings.
Instant Read Thermometer: Arguably, the second most important tool you need is a fast and accurate instant-read thermometer. These tools play an important role in the latter stages of the cook when the meat needs regular checking in multiple areas. I use the ThermoPro TP19 because it can do everything a ThermaPen can do, but for a fraction of the cost. You can check out the TP19 on Amazon here.
Advanced Thermometer and Automatic Temperature Controller: Once you’re ready to take things seriously, the FireBoard 2 Drive is a six-channel Bluetooth/Wi-Fi thermometer that can monitor up to 6 pieces of meat, control and graph your cook sessions on your smartphone, and attaches to an an automatic blower that will convert your charcoal smoker to a set-and-forget. This is one of the most advanced meat thermometers on the market. You can check it out on the FireBoard website here.