Beef Tallow: Definition, Benefits, and Uses

Lauren Platero
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    For those who want to pursue a non-toxic lifestyle and use no seed oils in their food, beef tallow is the best alternative. Despite it being an all-natural product that has been used for thousands of years, the meat industry is beginning to experience a surge in orders for it. From its health benefits to its versatility in wellness products, there are many reasons why it’s becoming one of the most high demand products in the food distribution space. 

    But what is beef tallow? In this article, we’re going to take a look at the ingredient that even wholesale cooking oil distributors are paying attention to these days. Read on!

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    What Is Beef Tallow?

    The beef tallow definition refers to the rendered fat of cattle. The fat that’s turned into tallow is usually taken from around the kidneys and other internal organs. Initially, this is considered suet. 

    After melting the suet and allowing it to purify, you’re left with tallow. All tallow comes from suet, but not all suet will transform into tallow.

    Tallow vs Lard

    The primary difference between tallow vs lard is that tallow comes from beef while lard comes from pork. Tallow has a high monounsaturated fat content, while lard contains more polyunsaturated fats. 

    In simple terms, monounsaturated fats are those that have a single double-bond. Meanwhile, polyunsaturated fats have multiple. It's monounsaturated fat that is better for your health. 

    Back to the debate between tallow vs lard--both carry the same vitamins, but their textures make them unique in food recipes. Tallow's high smoke point makes it a fantastic fat for frying food. On the other hand, any pastry chef will tell you that lard can result in light and flaky textures. That's why it's so popular among dessert menu items. 

    How to Make Beef Tallow

    If you want to make your own beef tallow, you'll need to purchase suet from a butcher or meat supplier. Then, make sure that you have the following tools:

    • A sharp knife
    • A large pot
    • A strainer 
    • Glass jars

    Now, let's get to transforming that suet into tallow! It's super easy--just follow the steps below:

    • Remove any connective tissue or leftover meat from the fat.
    • Use a knife to cut the fat into small pieces. This step is to ensure that it melts evenly. 
    • Place all the pieces of fat into a pot and heat it on low. Stir occasionally so that nothing sticks to the bottom. 
    • Once all the fat liquifies, pour it into another pot through a strainer. This is so that the final product won’t contain any clumps that didn’t dissolve.
    • Once it cools, store the tallow in glass airtight jars. Unlike cooking oil packaging options like bottles, you’ll want to stick with jars and tubs since tallow has a thick and buttery texture.

    After following these steps, you'll have fresh beef tallow to use in food and skincare products. But we'll talk more about those uses in a bit. 

    How Long Does Beef Tallow Last?

    If you store beef tallow properly, it can last up to one year. Be sure to keep it in an airtight glass jar away from light and moisture. It's also ideal if the storage area doesn't get too hot. If it does, the tallow can melt and lose its balmy or whipped texture. If you want to prolong the shelf life of tallow, store it in the freezer.

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    Benefits of Tallow

    There are many benefits of using beef tallow as opposed to various types of vegetable oils. Not only is it a great ingredient for food, but also as a topical product. See below for several benefits of incorporating beef tallow into your diet and skincare routine:

    • Beef tallow is highly bioavailable, which means that the body can quickly absorb its nutrients upon entering your system. 
    • If you’re seeking healthy doses of vitamins A, D, E, and K, tallow is a fantastic natural source of all of them. 
    • For consumers with dairy allergies, beef tallow is a more suitable option than something like butter. 
    • Since wholesale meat distributors are selling more than just cattle meat, much less of each animal goes to waste. 
    • Properly rendered tallow has no scent, which is ideal for those with skin sensitivities when using it topically.
    • Your local butcher will likely carry it in bulk, which is often a great place to buy 100% grass-fed beef tallow.

    What Is Tallow Used For?

    There are many traditional and creative ways to use beef tallow. Read on for a few options.

    Cooking With Beef Tallow 

    The most popular use of beef tallow is for frying foods. It has a smoke point of 400° to 450°. In other words, beef tallow will not break down and release any potentially harmful compounds until after surpassing this temperature. Therefore, despite how healthy a cooking oil business might claim its wholesale cooking oil is, tallow is without a doubt the safest option on the market. 

    Did you know that Buffalo Wild Wings uses beef tallow to cook their fried food? Thanks to resources like Seed Oil Scout, which is an app that locates seed oil-free dining options, more businesses across the restaurant industry are following suit. 

    Baking With Beef Tallow

    If you ever run out of butter when baking, feel free to use grass-fed tallow. Not only will it offer delicious results, but it can make sweet treats just a tad bit healthier. Many baked goods like cakes, brownies, and muffins call for vegetable oil. And even though some cooking oil business marketing efforts claim that these oils are healthy, research shows that they are huge causes of inflammation. So, by using tallow as a replacement to something like canola oil, you’re instantly making a dessert slightly better for your health than it would be otherwise.

    Beef Tallow for Skin

    Good skin starts with a healthy moisture barrier. In other words, the skin requires fatty acids to retain moisture, resist environmental damage, and retain elasticity. Healthy barrier function also prevents skin from feeling or looking sensitive. The best part? Tallow is almost skin-identical, meaning that it mimics compounds that our skin naturally produces. In other words, there will rarely be any outlandish reactions to using it topically.

    Frequently Asked Questions About Beef Tallow

    Beef tallow is an ingredient that has been used for centuries. However, in recent years, many consumers and culinary experts have been paying closer attention to the contents of popular cooking oils. As a result, countless people worldwide are going back to the basics. If you’d like to read a brief recap about beef tallow, take a look at the FAQ section below.

    Is Beef Tallow Healthy?

    Yes, beef tallow is an exceptionally healthy source of fat. It is chock-full of vitamins A, D, E, and K. The best part? It doesn't undergo any toxic processing methods and has a smoke point of around 450°. Therefore, it's ideal for frying and baking food. So, knowing where to buy beef tallow is the first step toward a healthier lifestyle.

    Is Beef Tallow Better Than Butter?

    Yes, beef tallow is significantly healthier than butter. That's because it contains high levels of monounsaturated fats. It also is an excellent source of several healthy fatty acids and vitamin D. And unlike seed oils, it contains a better balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Just ensure that the beef tallow you use is grass-fed for the best benefits.

    Why Is Beef Tallow Better Than Seed Oils?

    Beef tallow is stable at high temperatures and contains several vitamins, unlike seed oils. One of the main reasons why seed oils are so unhealthy is due to their unstable makeup when exposed to high temperatures. Unfortunately, this takes place when processing the oils for consumption. 

    So, even if you consume them at room temperature, they are already toxic. As a result, regularly ingesting seed oils can cause inflammation, while the nutritional value of beef tallow can reduce it.

    What Is Beef Tallow Made Of?

    Beef tallow is made up of rendered fat from cows. It can technically come from any part of the animal but is usually from around the kidneys. After the fat content is melted, purifying it completely, you're left with tallow.

    Is Beef Tallow Safe for Frying Food?

    Believe it or not, beef tallow is one of the best fats for frying food! It's non-toxic, even when exposed to high temperatures. Plus, it will add delicious flavor to your favorite fried foods.

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    Beef Tallow: The Ultimate Non-Toxic Ingredient

    The next time you run out of vegetable oil or butter, consider replacing it with beef tallow. Switching to a non-toxic diet is easiest when you take one step at a time. If not, it can feel too overwhelming to sustain, causing you to revert to using inflammatory products. Just start small, and before you know it, all your freshly cooked meals will be rich in nutrients and free of processed toxins.

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