How Long Does Beef Dripping Keep? The Complete Guide for Storing and Using This Versatile Fat

Beef dripping, also known as beef tallow is a type of animal fat that can be used for cooking baking and even cosmetic purposes. This tasty fat was a kitchen staple for centuries, valued for its high smoke point and rich, meaty flavor.

While many home cooks today reach for vegetable or olive oils, beef dripping is making a comeback in modern kitchens. Its savory depth is ideal for making flavorful roasts, crispy potatoes and flaky pastries.

But like any animal-based fat, beef dripping has a limited shelf life. So how long does beef dripping keep? What’s the best way to store it? And how can you use this tasty fat before it goes bad?

In this complete guide we’ll explain everything you need to know about storing beef dripping and making the most of it in your kitchen. Let’s dive in!

What is Beef Dripping?

Before we get into storage times, let’s make sure we all know what exactly beef dripping is.

Beef dripping goes by a few different names, including beef tallow, beef fat and suet. But they all refer to the same thing – the rendered fat from cows.

To make beef dripping, pieces of fatty beef are cooked slowly until the fat melts away from the meat. It’s then strained and cooled. The end result is a shelf-stable cooking fat.

Beef dripping has a delicious meaty aroma and flavor. It was traditionally saved and used for cooking after roasting beef or making beef broths and stews. The leftover fat was considered too valuable to waste!

These days, most of us aren’t cooking with whole beef joints or bones on a regular basis. But pre-rendered beef dripping can be purchased to use in cooking and baking recipes.

How Long Does Beef Dripping Last in the Fridge?

Freshly made beef dripping can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. Keep it towards the back of the fridge, as this is the coldest area.

If you’ve bought pre-packaged beef dripping, it should keep for about 1 month past the sell-by date, if it’s been stored properly in the fridge.

Keep your eyes peeled for any signs of spoilage, like changes in color, texture or a rancid smell. Discard if any mold appears.

To extend the shelf life of beef dripping, consider freezing any extra for longer term storage.

How Long Does Beef Dripping Last in the Freezer?

Frozen beef dripping will keep for 6-12 months in an airtight container. Make sure to wrap it well or place it in bags to prevent freezer burn.

For the longest freezer shelf life, store beef dripping in small batches that you can thaw and use up quickly. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before use.

You can also freeze already cooked foods in beef dripping, like roasted vegetables or meat drippings. Allow to cool completely before freezing.

If kept continuously frozen, beef dripping can actually be stored even longer – up to 2 years. But the quality slowly declines over time. It’s best to use your frozen beef fat within 12 months.

How to Store Beef Dripping

To get the longest shelf life out of your beef dripping, proper storage is key. Here are some tips:

  • Keep beef dripping in an airtight glass or plastic container with a tight fitting lid. Mason jars work great.

  • Store in the back of the refrigerator or coldest part of freezer.

  • Freeze beef dripping in small batches to avoid contamination from repeatedly opening.

  • Allow drippings to cool completely before refrigerating or freezing.

  • If saving meat drippings, strain well through a fine mesh sieve to remove food particles. These can accelerate spoilage.

  • Avoid direct light exposure which can cause oxidation. Use opaque containers if possible.

With proper storage techniques, you can keep beef dripping on hand for whenever you need to add rich, meaty flavor to your cooking!

How to Tell If Beef Dripping Has Gone Bad

Despite best storage practices, beef fat can still go rancid eventually. Here are some signs that beef dripping has spoiled and should be discarded:

  • Odd or unpleasant smell

  • Change in color from white to grey, yellow or brown

  • Mold growth

  • Slippery, slimy texture

  • Separation of fat and watery liquid

  • Smoking excessively when heated

Don’t taste beef dripping if you notice any of these warning signs. Rancid animal fats can make you sick. When in doubt, throw it out.

Creative Ways to Use Beef Dripping

Now that you know how long beef dripping keeps, let’s discuss the many ways you can put this flavorful fat to work in the kitchen!

Here are some of our favorite ways to use beef dripping:

  • Roast potatoes – For gloriously crispy, savory roast potatoes, coat with melted beef dripping instead of oil.

  • Yorkshire pudding – Use beef dripping for perfect, puffy Yorkshire puds with golden crispy edges.

  • Fry fish – From fish and chips to pan seared tuna, beef dripping is ideal for frying fish.

  • Sauté vegetables – Caramelize onions, mushrooms and other veggies in beef dripping.

  • Make gravy – Use beef dripping as the base for rich, meaty gravies and pan sauces.

  • Spread on bread – Drizzle beef dripping on bread instead of butter for a more savory flavor.

  • Deep frying – The high smoke point makes beef dripping a great choice for deep frying foods.

  • Pie crust – Use beef dripping in place of shortening or lard for the flakiest pie crust.

  • Risotto/Pasta – Stir a spoonful of beef dripping into rice or pasta dishes for a meaty boost.

With its high smoke point and rich flavor, beef dripping can be used in most recipes that call for oil, butter or other fats. Get creative with this versatile animal fat before it goes bad!

Frequently Asked Questions About Beef Dripping

Let’s round up this guide with answers to some common questions about buying, storing and using beef dripping:

Where can I buy beef dripping?

Beef dripping can be found alongside oils and shortenings in some grocery stores. Check the baking aisle. It’s also available to order online. Or save your own drippings from roasting beef.

What is the smoke point of beef dripping?

Beef tallow has a high smoke point around 375-400°F, making it suitable for deep frying and high heat cooking. Clarified butter has a similar smoke point.

Is beef dripping healthy?

Like other animal fats, beef dripping is high in saturated fat. But it also contains vitamins A, D, E and K. Use moderately as part of a balanced diet.

What does beef dripping taste like?

Beef dripping has a rich depth of flavor with a subtle beefy taste. It’s much more flavorful than neutral fats like vegetable oil.

Can you substitute beef dripping for lard?

Yes, beef dripping can replace lard in most recipes at a 1:1 ratio. Both are excellent for baking and frying.

What oil is the closest to beef dripping?

Ghee (clarified butter) is the closest substitute in terms of rich taste and high smoke point. Olive or avocado oil can also be used in some cases.

How do you dispose of beef dripping?

Small amounts of cooled beef dripping can go directly into the garbage. For larger amounts, mix with clay cat litter or coffee grounds to solidify, then discard.

Get the Most Out of Your Beef Dripping

Beef dripping is a treasure trove of beefy flavor that deserves a spot in every carnivore’s kitchen. With proper storage in the fridge or freezer, you can keep it on hand for weeks or even months.

Use this guide to get the longest shelf life out of your beef fat. And experiment with creative ways to use beef dripping in all kinds of delicious recipes, from crispy roast potatoes to flaky pie crust.

By keeping an eye out for spoilage and using the best storage practices, you can enjoy the many benefits of cooking and baking with beef dripping for months to come.

How To Render Beef Fat – Beef Tallow

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