Four Reasons To Use Beef Tallow

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!

Where to get beef tallow from grassfed cows


Journal of NutritionNourishing TraditionsBeef

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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  • Alicia June 24, 2011, 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, 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, 5:26 pm

      Same here. What causes the film as it cools?

      • Andre May 13, 2016, 9:10 pm

        Often times when beef tallow is made, especially using the simplest methods of remdering amd straining, you can have small amounts of what appears to be gelatin or cologen or left in the fat which would explain the sticky film, much like eating demi glace (reduced bone stock) or a good example is eating beef marrow. It has a similar mouth feel

  • Alicia June 24, 2011, 9:19 am

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

    • Jill June 24, 2011, 1:24 pm

      Yes, I would try it again.

  • Shanon Hilton June 24, 2011, 10:24 am

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

  • Jessica Waters June 24, 2011, 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, 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).

      • maria January 1, 2013, 7:20 am

        hers might not have been rendered

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

    What’s the difference between lard and tallow?

    • Barbara Grant June 24, 2011, 5:25 pm

      Tallow is beef fat, lard is pork fat.

    • Jill June 24, 2011, 10:07 pm

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

  • June 24, 2011, 12:19 pm

    Do you know where you can get beef tallow?

    • Jill June 24, 2011, 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, 3:49 pm

    Very interesting info. Thanks!

  • Sarah Smith June 27, 2011, 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, 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.

    • maria January 1, 2013, 7:28 am

      fat and tallow are not the same. you cannot render fat into tallow. tallow is not a byproduct, tallow is a very different fat that is around the kidneys. It almost feels dry and it is very solid. When it is rendered and strained it cools into a hard block ( i pour mine in a rectangular hotel pan and cut it in chunks.
      my grateful dogs and the cats get the remaining solids.
      Tallow has a higher smoking point which makes it safer for frying than butter . it makes for fantastic french fries.
      you can also rub it on your boots to make them waterproof

    • Charlie October 28, 2014, 10:23 pm

      Hi Sarah,
      Maybe you should try Ghee (butter oil). It’s very easy to make at home and has a long shelf life at room temp. as long as it’s in an airtight container. I use a canning jar.

  • Miz Helen June 30, 2011, 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, 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, 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, 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, 2:15 pm

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

  • Natalie March 10, 2012, 5:35 pm

    Is the fat I skim off the top of my beef stock sufficient for “Tallow”? Or does the cow’s fat need to come from a specific region of the cow in order for it to be called “Tallow”? if the fat on the top of the stock doesn’t truly fit the definition, should you not use it to fry food in?

    • Jill March 10, 2012, 6:38 pm

      Hi Natalie,
      Yes, that is tallow and some people do use it for cooking other foods.

  • Elaine August 10, 2012, 2:55 pm

    I have spent the last two days roasting the bones of a grass-fed steer. The tallow was a by-product that I wasn’t sure what to do with. I am so glad that I checked your information. Now I have lots of ideas. We sure throw a lot away that our grandparents used on a daily basis!!

    • wayne May 2, 2014, 4:20 pm

      I’m pretty sure the tallow is only the fat from around the kidneys of a cow. That’s what the Weston A Price foundation says. Check out the Healthy Home Economist.

  • Raquel February 1, 2013, 11:56 am

    I heard that beef tallow is good for frying french fries but what else do you do with it? Can you use it for making things like spaghetti sauce and chili?

    • Jill February 1, 2013, 8:56 pm

      HI Rachel,
      You can use it to fry anything — fish, chicken, etc. They typically used it for deep frying.

  • Victoria July 4, 2013, 3:14 pm

    Hi! I’ve been wanting to get some lard or tallow for awhile now. I have looked for good sources but it seems there aren’t many farmers around here. I did find a website though – Texas Natural Supply. Have you ever heard of it? It’s significantly cheaper than some sources and I would like some opinions on it. Thanks 🙂

    • Jill July 4, 2013, 7:26 pm

      I have not heard of them. I would contact them to confirm that the cows are grassfed and grass finished.

  • Delta July 30, 2013, 12:55 pm

    I think tallow is great – I use it on my skin but I am wondering about the breast cancer claim. Don’t Japanese women following a traditional diet (which is very low fat) have the lowest incidents of breast cancer? This would tend to be the opposite of what is stated here.

    • Vanessa October 31, 2013, 1:13 am

      If they eat a lot of seafood, they are getting plenty of fats.

      • Jill October 31, 2013, 10:46 am

        Japanese diet is not very low fat at all — as Vanessa pointed out the seafood has a lot of fat and they do eat beef.

  • Rita October 21, 2013, 9:51 pm

    “Suet /ˈs(j)uːɨt/ is raw beef or mutton fat, especially the hard fat found around the loins and kidneys.

    Suet has a melting point of between 45°C and 50°C (113°F and 122°F) and congelation between 37°C and 40°C. (98.6°F and 104°F). Its high smoke point makes it ideal for deep frying and pastry production.

    The primary use of suet is to make tallow, although it is also used as an ingredient in cooking, especially in traditional puddings, such as British Christmas Pudding. Suet is made into tallow in a process called rendering, which involves melting and extended simmering, followed by straining, cooling and usually by repeating the entire process. Unlike tallow, suet that is not pre-packed requires refrigeration in order to be stored for extended periods.” SOURCE:

  • April October 31, 2013, 12:18 pm

    I just bought some pastured lard and grass-fed tallow from FatWorks. It is great! I’m glad I came across this post.

  • John Sanders July 10, 2014, 10:09 am

    My mother and grandmother never used oil for frying when I was a kid. Recently a friend’s wife made wienersnitzel for a party. I recognized the flavors of my long gone childhood. When I asked she told the secret. She fried the snitzel in lard.

  • christopher August 12, 2014, 10:13 pm

    A while ago the wall street journal ran an article on tallow and lard. I find the paper to be a good source of whats coming down the pike. The article cited many medical studies that came to the same conclusions written here. An interesting sub note was another story about drug companies getting fda approval to use a drug previously used in patients suffering from mussel or fat wasting diseases . The drug increases body fat and mussel mass by 12% to 25% in just months. The company in question wants approval to use it in cows and pigs. The article implied that there was going to be a huge demand in the near for larger fatty animals and that wavers are already being processed to speed approval. Once people understand that there poisoning themselves with veg. oil the demand for tallow and lard will be huge and the industries are gearing up for it. The writing is on the wall but in very small print. The end of veg oil is closer than u think.

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  • seabreeze December 18, 2014, 11:55 pm

    No has mentioned that grass fed beef tallow is the holy grail of anti aging moisturizers. It is high in A, D, E, and CLA with the percentage and structure of the types of fats very close to our own skin. If you just rub it on your skin you’ll see a significant difference. Yes, you may smell mildly of beef but your skin drinks it in and the smell goes away. It takes care of eczema. I’m about to try a recipe for beef tallow, coconut oil, beeswax for lip balm.

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