You might not fully appreciate beef tallow – otherwise known as rendered fat – but it’s that salty, savory, slightly oily liquid that gives ribs and steaks so much flavor. Similar to lard (which comes from pigs) it has the texture of butter and adds that extra hit of umami to grilled meats. Given its content, beef tallow also melts easily, and one restaurant in Colorado took advantage of this property by creating beef tallow candle.

@foodwtf #Beeftallow candle with garlic bread from 📍The Still Whisky Steaks in #FortCollins #Colorado 🎥 IG: @mama.freebirth #tallow #foodie #foodietiktok #tallowcandle ♬ original sound – Nunu😮‍💨

The Still Whiskey Steaks in Fort Collins, Colorado is all about the red meat. The menu features dishes with names like the Meat Tornado (​​bone marrow topped with steak tartare) and the Meat Pile (filet dripping with chimichurri and garlic butter). Meanwhile, the steaks are marinated in whiskey distilled at the local Elevation 5003 Distillery. There’s even an elk tenderloin on the menu.

You can imagine that with all that beef cooking, there is a lot of rendered fat on hand. In order to cut down on waste and repurpose the ingredients that are already available in the kitchen, the restaurant came up with a clever appetizer: freshly baked dinner rolls served in a cast iron skillet with a tea candle made from beef tallow.

The candle arrives at the table lit and melting into a bed of herbs, so that diners can dip the bread into the buttery, salty melted fat. It might not be the dipping sauce you typically expect to find paired with bread, but its similarity to butter and its abundance in a kitchen that cooks steaks constantly, it makes sense.

In fact, the soft tallow has been used in the past to make candles (and some crafty folks still use it for that purpose, although not usually the edible kind). Tallow was cheaper than beeswax, and even better than that, it was readily available for free in most households going all the way back to the Middle Ages. The slow burning tallow produces a strong flame, too – so it lasts a long time, a benefit if you’re low on supplies.

This nod to the history of beef tallow at The Still Whiskey Steaks is clever, practical, and best of all it produces a tasty and memorable treat for diners that they are unlikely to find at any other restaurant.