Four Reasons To Use Beef Tallow

June 23, 2011 · 29 comments

saturated fat, beef tallow

I just received a quart of beef tallow from my farmer (amazing what I can get excited about!) and tonight I’m going to fry something in it. Probably fish or crab cakes. Traditionally, tallow was used for high heat frying in most fast food restaurants because it remained very stable under high heat conditions and imparted a good flavor. The switch was made in the 1970′s when the vegetable oil industry gained power and propagandized the (supposed) benefits of polyunsaturated fats.

If saturated fats like tallow cause heart disease, then why is heart disease an epidemic today when hardly anyone uses tallow anymore?

Sadly, the USDA still encourages the use of these highly refined polyunsaturated seed and vegetable oils that are probably the greatest contributors to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. The reason for this is that these vegetable oils are highly refined and have toxic elements in them. They are also unstable in heat situations and this causes them to oxidize. Oxidation breeds free radicals and free radicals damage cells, tissues and organs in the body. This damage includes cell membrane damage which is the basis of many diseases.

In contrast, saturated fats from clean, healthy animals that are humanely raised on pasture are protective and necessary for the human body. These are the fats our ancestors have eaten for centuries, way before oil refineries were established.

Here are four reasons to use beef tallow:

Reason 1: For high heat cooking this is one of the best fats because it remains stable with a high smoke point and you will avoid generating free radicals.

Reason 2: Beef tallow is protective against metastatic breast tumors.  Research conducted at The Department of Cell Biology and Human Anatomy, University of California, School of Medicine, Davis, CA, has shown that “Beef Tallow Increases the Potency of Conjugated Linoleic Acid in the Reduction of Mouse Mammary Tumor Metastasis.” The title says it all. This study showed that mice fed CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) with beef tallow, had fewer metastatic breast tumors than another group that was fed vegetable fat blend. The authors concluded that the fatty acids in beef tallow actually enhanced the (known) anti tumor actions of CLA.

The authors stated, “fatty acids normally found in beef tallow, such as oleic, stearic, and palmitic acids, either did not change or enhanced the cytolytic effects of CLA isomers on mouse mammary tumor cells in culture. These data provide evidence that dietary BT, itself with negligible levels of CLA, may increase the efficacy of dietary CLA in reducing mammary tumorigenesis.”

Reason 3: Using beef tallow will help make strong bones as there is a lot of vitamin D in this fat. (However, lard is probably the best source of vitamin D.)

Reason 4: Saturated fats like beef tallow provide an excellent form of energy for the human body to use. Many of the problems people have with metabolic syndrome, pre-diabetes and diabetes is due to the over abundance of sugars in the diet in the form of empty carbohydrate calories. This requires a lot of insulin to regulate the blood sugar and to store the excess calories as fat. The constant need for insulin creates the problems of insulin resistance and this develops into diabetes.

If people would eat more (good) fat and less sugar they would be better off. Tonight, my fish will be bathed in good clean beef tallow. It will taste delicious and—while the low fat demogogues would never admit it—it will be far more satisfying too!


Journal of Nutrition

Nourishing Traditions


This post is linked to: Friday Favorites, Food Trip Friday, Foodie Friday, Fresh Bites Friday, Fight Back Friday, Fun With Food Friday, Friday Food, Seasonal Sunday, Sugar-Free Sunday, Melt in Mouth Monday, Monday Mania, Hunk of Meat Monday, Mangia Monday, Mouthwatering Monday, Weekend Carnival, Tuesday at the Table, Tuesday Tasty Tidbits, Made from Scratch Tuesday, Traditional Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday, What’s on the Menu, Real Food Wednesday, Healthy 2DAy Wednesday, Foodie Wednesday, Full Plate Thursday, Turning the Table Thursday, Simple Lives Thursday, Pennywise Platter

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Alicia June 24, 2011 at 9:18 am

I have a question, I made some beef tallow a few months ago. We used it in deep frying turkey strips, but it left a film in our mouths. Is that normal? Do you just get used to it? or did I not have the tallow heated high enough? I really want to use this, but my family wasn’t too keen on the film….thanks!


Jill June 24, 2011 at 1:24 pm

Hi Alicia,
I’m not sure what the “film” is — sometimes I remember getting that funny feeling in my mouth after eating french fries or fried foods with bad oil…. maybe it was just too much fat on the meat?


Barbara Grant June 24, 2011 at 5:26 pm

Same here. What causes the film as it cools?


Alicia June 24, 2011 at 9:19 am

Thanks for any info…I am planning on getting some more and trying again….;)


Jill June 24, 2011 at 1:24 pm

Yes, I would try it again.


Shanon Hilton June 24, 2011 at 10:24 am

Wow, that’s really interesting about the vitamin D content in lard and tallow. Thanks. –Shanon


Jessica Waters June 24, 2011 at 11:10 am

we use tallow and lard for all our cooking now! It’s super easy to use, tastes great in sweet or savory dishes. We hardly ever use any other kind of oil. We just got some pastured leaf lard from a nearby pig farmer and put it in the crockpot to liquify and once it re-solidifies, we just keep it near the stove (doesn’t need to be refrigerated).


Jill June 24, 2011 at 1:25 pm

Hi Jessica,
Why would you melt the leaf lard? I just got that from my farmer too. It comes in a container already rendered (I think).


Jack in Reston June 24, 2011 at 11:29 am

What’s the difference between lard and tallow?


Barbara Grant June 24, 2011 at 5:25 pm

Tallow is beef fat, lard is pork fat.


Jill June 24, 2011 at 10:07 pm

Hi Jack,
Lard is pork fat and tallow is from a cow (or sheep).


[email protected] June 24, 2011 at 12:19 pm

Do you know where you can get beef tallow?


Jill June 24, 2011 at 1:26 pm

Hi Lori,
I get mine from either my local farmer or US, a reputable on line distributor of grass fed meat. Make sure it is from a grass fed source.


Barbara Goodman June 24, 2011 at 3:49 pm

Very interesting info. Thanks!


Sarah Smith June 27, 2011 at 8:14 am

Thanks Jill. I’ve been trying to get motivated to render that big bag of fat in the freezer into tallow. I love the taste of cooking in butter so much that I have wondered how much I will use the tallow. But I may as well give it a try, right?


Jill June 27, 2011 at 9:16 am

Hi Sarah,
I know what you mean, I love the taste of lard but a do use the tallow for browning other meats.


Miz Helen June 30, 2011 at 7:39 pm

Hi Jill,
Very interesting information. I have never tried this, but I am open minded. Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and come back real soon! Hope you have a great week end!
Miz Helen


Emily July 1, 2011 at 3:02 pm

Oh, I didn’t know tallow had vitamin D. Then I’m glad I’ve been using it lately instead of coconut oil.


Jill July 1, 2011 at 4:02 pm

Hi Emily,
Yes it does, but actually lard has the highest levels of vitamin D — second to cod liver oil. But use all the good fats — they all have good things to offer!


Leah @ Beyer Beware July 2, 2011 at 11:27 am

Fascinating post. My grandparents and parents cooked with beef tallow and pork lard. My grandpa is 95 and going strong. I think the original fats get a bad name thanks to marketers. Thanks for sharing on Hunk of Meat Monday!


Jill July 2, 2011 at 2:15 pm

Hi Leah,
Thanks so much for your comments — You are so right. Kudos to your grandparents!


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