Meat Candles are Heating Up the Beefy Dining Scene in Denver and Boulder
Meat candles. Two words I never thought I would ever utter in the same sentence, yet lo and behold, with more than one restaurant in the Centennial State offering this oddly edible treat, it appears we have a trend on our hands. Keep in mind, however, that normal wax candles belong in the bedroom; only meat — beef-fat, actually — candles are for the dining room. Here’s where to try this uniquely meaty treat.
Edge Restaurant & Bar
1111 14th Street
At Edge, guests can order a meat candle with bread service. As the rendered beef fat melts into a dusting of steak seasoning, it becomes a fresh alternative to butter or oil for dipping. The first batch was infused with rosemary and garlic, while the next one will experiment with huckleberry sage. The brainchild of executive chef Simon Purvis, the candles are made from the fat trimmings of excess Wagyu beef offered throughout the menu. If you’re wondering how Purvis make these, it’s a bit of a refined arts-and-crafts process. First, the fat is rendered at 350 degrees, then cooled, strained and poured into shot glasses to shape. Before the tallow solidifies, a (non-edible) twine wick is inserted, and, once solid, the whole container is dipped into hot water to un-mold. The project was inspired by the chef’s time living in Berlin and the schmaltz (rendered chicken fat with crispy shallots) he fondly remembers there.
A fiery new appetizer.
1606 Conestoga Street, Boulder
Blackbelly chef/owner Hosea Rosenberg and head butcher Nate Singer were trying to come up with a creative use for the leftover animal fat from their butcher program; the beef-tallow candle is the result. More than just a fun, quirky conversation starter with your breadbasket, the candle is a delicious beef-tallow blend seasoned with rosemary, garlic and herbs picked straight from the restaurant's outdoor garden. When the candle melts, you're left with a small pool of amazingly scented dip that is 100-percent natural, safe and delicious. The fat trimmings come from pastured animals purchased from Carter Country Beef, with no hormones or antibiotics used. Currently, the candles make appearances at farm dinners, outdoor catering events, weddings and holiday parties and will be available for sale at the market inside Blackbelly Butcher next door. They may be also be offered at the restaurant in the future (pending fire-department approval, of course).
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Denver dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.