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 keto recipes or carnivore diet because it’s high in saturated fats and has no carbohydrates. Let’s explore all things tallow.

What is Tallow Exactly?

Tallow is a popular and fancy way of saying rendered beef fat. This means the fat is simmered until it becomes a stable, usable liquid or a cooking oil substitute product.

Most often, tallow fat comes from cattle beef or mutton. However, the industry loosely classifies rendered animal fats from sheep and horses as tallow too.

5 Interesting Facts

measuring waist with healthy food

1) Beef Tallow Nutrition

It’s predominantly saturated and monounsaturated fat. Thanks to many scientists busting the myth that ‘fat is bad,' we now know that saturated fat is essential. Tallow fat, much like many animal products and animal fats, has trace elements of essential fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, as well as Omega-3 and minerals.

Choline - Choline is among the essential nutrients that do 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 make your cardiovascular system healthy. It also aids in removing 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 ensure healthy bones, teeth, and muscles.

Vitamin E - Vitamin E is important for organ function in your body. It is also an antioxidant that can fight off free radicals. 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

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2) Health Benefits of Tallow

Fat Loss

Using 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 form to 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, including cancer and heart-disease-fighting antioxidants.

Skin Health

Beef tallow includes stearic acid, which helps to repair damaged skin. It also contains the best ratio of fat to relieve anti-inflammatory symptoms. These are the essential building blocks made for a strong immune system and youthful skin cells. With these traditional properties, you would be able to put skin care to the next level.

3) Carnivore & Keto Diet-Friendly

Grass-fed beef tallow from animals is 100% carnivore and keto diet friendly. We’ve got friends who say it’s great drizzled on delicious homemade keto bread, just like olive oil.

Recommended Article: What's The Carnivore Diet?

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) Tallow as a Natural Moisturizer

Yes, you can cook and use beef tallow fat as an excellent natural skin moisturizer or oil. It’s a similar consistency and skin feel to coconut oil. Is it the next anti-aging facial cream in a jar? Probably not. But you never know. It contains high saturated fat and fatty acids that are 100% natural and shares many of the same fatty acids as our skin, so it's made to absorb quickly.

5) High Smoke Point of Tallow

The high smoke point of beef tallow is about 400°F. A high smoke point means you can barbecue your steak without worrying it burning and creating toxins that you may find in one unhealthy oil or two.

Recommended Article: How to Use a Smoker Box

Additional Uses

dog food

Tallow from cows has many other uses and benefits like soap or candle making at home. Have you ever wondered why McDonald's french fries and KFC fried chicken tasted so good? When they first started years ago, they used tallow fats before the recent switch to cooking oil, vegetable oils, and palm oil.

Beef Tallow as Dog Food

If you’re conscious of reducing your carbon footprint, eat a complete nose-to-tail diet, or don’t like to waste food today, then pay attention. You can use the greaves - fat-based leftover from rendering beef tallow, as full animal 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 start to make and use tallow soaps with essential fatty oils, water, body butter, and balm. You can use it for washing your clothes. If you want to get creative, you can even make tallow fat candles. Tallow is to total budget-savers what bi-carb soda is to savvy house cleaners.

Difference Between Beef Tallow & Pork Lard

What is tallow? Is it the same as lard?

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

Lard is essentially ‘old-fashioned butter.' It was and still is, used to make pastries, sausages, and pates. If you check carefully, you’ve probably eaten many saturated fats and not even known it or think about 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 fat is the modern version of lard. It's used more often in high heat cooking and baking instead of vegetable oil.

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How to Make Beef Tallow

The rendering process for beef tallow is easy. It just takes a little time.  Read these tips to help you out. As a guide, starting with 2kg of beef mutton make roughly 1kg of tallow.

  • Preheat your oven to 248F.
  • Chop 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 fat jelly bits.
  • Use a cheesecloth or fine muslin cloth to strain the fats again.
  • Enjoy your clarified tallow fats with your next meal.

Stove Top Rendering Process

spoonful of lard

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

Note: from 1lb of beef fat, 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 the fat around the kidney rather than meat fat

Beef Tallow Sauce

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

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup beef fat 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?

scoop of tallow

Yes, high-quality tallow fat is good for you. Now that the myths around "what is tallow 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 fat range from immune system benefits and improved brain function to essential skin repair healing vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids that include palmitic acid, which enable the healthy function of cell membranes.

FAQs

Can you eat tallow raw?

We wouldn’t recommend it. But yes, you can eat tallow raw solid at room temperature tallow raw. It’s like eating butter or natural fat. We prefer to render it and use it in our cooking. We use it on 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 fat does not need to be refrigerated. Providing it’s in a well-sealed container, tallow can be safely stored on your bench at room temperature for up to 6 months. Some people prefer to keep tallow fat 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. When a tallow hardens, it usually comes in white or yellow color. Yellow tallow fat generally means it’s more nutrient-dense.

Can you buy tallow at the grocery store?

Tallow fat 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, make sure to look for ‘beef dripping’. Or ask for ‘beef fat’ at the counter or your local butcher. Remember to buy organic, grass-fed, if you can.

Can you use animal fat-soluble for baking?

Tallow fat 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.

Is there a variation between tallow and dripping?

There is no variation 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.

What Is Tallow - Resolved

Hopefully, we have 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 having a trending moment thanks to carnivore and keto fat loss diets. Got questions about tallow or more exciting 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

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