With new evidence that consuming reheated canola oil can lead to oxidation, inflammation, and possible heart disease, there’s been a rise in lard, tallow, and beef dripping as a cooking fat.

Tallow is commonly used on a keto or carnivore diet because it’s high in saturated fats and has no carbohydrates. Let’s explore all things tallow.

Tallow is a fancy way of saying rendered beef fat. This means it’s cooked slowly until it becomes a usable liquid.

Most often tallow is from beef or mutton, however, the industry loosely classifies rendered animal fats from sheep and horses as tallow too.

5 Interesting Facts About Tallow

measuring waist with healthy food

1) Nutrition

It’s predominantly saturated fat. Thanks to many scientists busting the myth that ‘fat is bad’, we now know that healthy, saturated fat is essential. Tallow, like many animal products and animal fat, has trace elements of essential vitamins and minerals like:

Choline - Choline is an essential nutrient that does important work in your body. People whose diets include a lot of choline are more likely to do well on memory and cognitive ability tests. In addition to this, MRI scans have shown that high choline consumption is associated with healthier brain tissue. [1]

Cholesterol - High-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good” cholesterol helps keep your cardiovascular system healthy. It also aids in the removal of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol from your arteries. [2]

LDL can lead to plaque buildup in your arteries, which narrows your blood vessels, and can lead to blood clots. This can potentially cause heart disease, a heart attack or stroke.

- American Heart Association [3]

Vitamin D - Vitamin D helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in your body. These nutrients are needed to keep your bones, teeth, and muscles healthy.

Vitamin E - Vitamin E is important for organ function in your body. It is also an antioxidant. This means it helps to slow down aging processes that damage cells. [4]

Selenium - Selenium is an essential trace mineral that assists with cognitive function and fertility. Selenium may help prevent cardiovascular disease, thyroid problems, cognitive decline, which means disorders related to thinking, cancer, and others. [5]

Recommended Article: Carnivore Diet Food List

2) Health Benefits

Fat Loss

Tallow benefits fat loss because it is rich in conjugated linoleic acid. CLA is a powerful polyunsaturated fatty acid that's been shown to help fight cancer, discourage weight gain from body fat and build muscle.

Not only are fatty acids like Conjugated linoleic acid a top source of animal protein, but they’re also higher in precursors for vitamin A and E as well as cancer and heart-disease-fighting antioxidants.

Skin Health

Beef tallow contains stearic acid which helps to repair damaged skin. It also contains the best ratio of fat. These are the essential building blocks for a healthy immune system and youthful skin cells.

3) Carnivore & Keto Diet Friendly

Beef tallow is 100% carnivore and keto diet friendly. I’ve got friends who say it’s great drizzled on keto bread, just like olive oil.

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I’ve also tried it on roast potatoes. Just don’t count the carbs. It was a cheat day, alright.  And let’s not forget that contrary to what we’ve been told, industrial seed oils such as soybean, canola, and corn oils are not “heart-healthy” or otherwise beneficial for our bodies and brains; in fact, plenty of research indicates that these oils are in fact making us sick.

- Chris Kresser, M.S., L.Ac., Creator of ADAPT Practitioner and Health Coach Training Programs.

4) Natural Moisturizer

Yes, you can use tallow as a natural moisturizer. It’s a similar consistency and skin feel to coconut oil. Is it the next anti-aging facial cream? Probably not. But you never know. It contains high saturated fat and fatty acids is 100% natural and shares many of the same fatty acids as our skin so it absorbs quickly.

5) High Smoke Point

The high smoke point of tallow is about 400°F. A high melting point means you can barbecue your steak without worrying about toxins that you may find in other oils.

Additional Uses

other products

Tallow has many other uses like soap making. Ever wondered why McDonald's french fries and KFC tasted so good? When they first started they used tallow before they switched to cooking oil, plant oils, and palm oil.

Dog Food

If you’re conscious of reducing your carbon footprint, eat a complete nose-to-tail diet, or simply don’t like to waste food, then pay attention. You can use the greaves - fat leftover from rendering tallow, as food for your dogs or birds.

Cheap Household Products

If you want to go really old-school and save money at the same time, you can make tallow soap with essential oils, body butter, and use it for washing your clothes. If you want to get really creative, you can even make tallow candles. Tallow is to budget-savers what bi-carb soda is to savvy house cleaners.

Difference Between Beef Tallow & Lard

Lard is another name for pig fat, whereas beef tallow is cow fat.

Lard is essentially ‘old-fashioned butter’. It was and still is, used in pastries, sausages and pates. You’ve probably eaten many saturated fats and not even known it. It’s also used to make body butter.

It contains high amounts of saturated fat (healthy fats) and no (bad) trans fats.

It was quite common until the Industrial Revolution era. During this period it became a lot cheaper to manufacture vegetable oils like soybean oil.

Beef tallow is the modern version of lard. It's used more often in cooking and baking.

How to Make Beef Tallow

The rendering process for tallow is easy. It just takes a little time.  As a guide, starting with 2kg of beef suet will get you roughly 1kg of tallow.

  • Preheat your oven to 248F
  • Chop your suet into small, bite-sized pieces. (Cut them as small as you can because it will melt better. I generally aim for ½’’ cubes or smaller.) If I’m in a hurry I use a food processor.
  • Place into a large pot
  • Sprinkle with salt
  • Place a lid on and pop it in the oven
  • Allow 2–3 hours for the fat to break down
  • Use a strainer to strain out the leftover jelly bits
  • Use a cheesecloth or fine muslin cloth to strain again
  • Enjoy your clarified tallow with your next meal.

Stove Top Rendering Process

how to make tallow

If you don’t have an oven, you can always use your stovetop.

Note: from 1lb of suet, I get almost 16fl/oz of tallow.

Set your element to very low. 

Render for 1½ –2 hours.* *Give it a quick stir about every 1/2 hour. 

Handy Tallow Tips From My Butcher

  •     Always choose organic, grass-fed
  •     Suet is preferred to tallow because it melts fast and has fewer greaves (leftovers)
  •     Try to use kidney fat (suet) rather than meat fat

Beef Tallow Sauce

A great tallow sauce recipe is like a Coca-Cola recipe - everybody is pretty tight-lipped about it. Keep this one a secret.

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup beef dripping
  • 2 cups grass-fed bone broth
  • 100ml red wine
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • ¼ cup red onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • A liberal splash of vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: butter for extra flavor

Method

  • Fry the garlic and onions in tallow until just before browning
  • Add wine and broth and bring to the boil
  • Simmer for 2-3 minutes
  • Add vinegar, flour, and red wine. Reduce for 15 minutes* (*keep reducing if required until the mixture starts to thicken)
  • Add salt and a knob of butter (optional)
  • Pour over your beef for extra flavor

Is it Good for You?

scoopm of fat

Yes, tallow is good for you. Now that the myths around fat are busted and the truth about vegetable oils is out in the open, fat is making a comeback.

The health benefits of beef tallow range from immune system benefits and improved brain function, to essential skin repair healing vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids like palmitic acid which enable the healthy function of cell membranes.

FAQs

Can you eat tallow raw?

I wouldn’t recommend it. But yes, you can eat tallow raw. It’s like eating butter or pure fat. I prefer to render it and use it in my cooking. I use it on my ground beef, for frying veggies, deep-frying french fries, and it’s really tasty when mixed in with your scrambled eggs.

Does tallow need to be refrigerated?

No, tallow does not need to be refrigerated. Providing it’s in a well-sealed container, tallow can be safely stored on your bench for up to 6 months. Some people prefer to keep tallow in the fridge or in ice cube trays in the freezer as it keeps longer.

 

My tallow has turned yellow, is it okay?

The general rule of thumb is the more yellow your tallow, the better. Yellow tallow generally means it’s more nutrient-dense.

Can you buy tallow at the grocery store?

Tallow can be found at Walmart, Wholefoods, in the meat section of some grocery stores and in most health food stores. If you can’t find it, look for ‘beef dripping’. Or ask for ‘beef fat’ or ‘suet’ at the meat counter or your local butcher. Remember to buy organic, grass-fed, if you can.

Can you use animal fat for baking?

Tallow is thought to be a good baking choice because of its fat content. Leaf fat (pig kidney fat) is considered by some pastry chefs to be the ‘secret’ ingredient to flaky pie crusts.

What is the difference between tallow and suet?

Suet is the internal fat found around the kidneys and inner organs of a cow. Tallow is the rendered (melted down and clarified) version of suet.

What Is the difference between tallow and dripping?

There is no difference between tallow and dripping. Tallow is just another way of saying dripping. In the US the word tallow is more common, whereas in the UK they call it dripping.

Conclusion

Hopefully, we’ve answered the ‘what is tallow’ question thoroughly and shown you how tallow can be a great and affordable cooking fat.

Overall, beef tallow is one of the better cooking fats. It increases healthy fat intake and can replenish the essential building blocks of your skin. Add a couple of essential oils and you have yourself an instant body butter.

It’s definitely having a trending moment thanks to carnivore and keto fat loss diets. Got questions about tallow or more interesting uses for it?

Let us know in the comments below.

References:

  1. https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/theres-a-minute-amount-of-rendered-animal-fat-in-canadas-banknotes-bank-of-canada-confirm
  2. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/a-possible-brain-food-that-youve-probably-never-heard-of
  3. https://www.healthline.com/health/high-cholesterol/why-is-cholesterol-needed#types-of-cholesterol
  4. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-954/vitamin-e
  5. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/287842