Written by David on 11/12/2023

Beef Tallow – History, Uses and Benefits

Beef Tallow
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Have you ever used a candle or enjoyed a juicy steak? You’ve likely experienced beef tallow without even knowing it. This versatile product, with a history dating back to our early ancestors, is used in everything from cooking to candle making.

It’s packed with vitamins and fatty acids that can boost your health, and its high smoke point makes it a safe and tasty cooking option. Plus, it’s a natural, sustainable product with a long shelf life.

In this guide, we’ll explore beef tallow’s fascinating history, uses, and benefits. Get ready to see why this ingredient may deserve a spot in your pantry and beauty routine.

Unveiling the History of Tallow

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Diving into the history of tallow, you’ll discover its profound significance in various industries, from cooking to candle making and even in traditional healing practices. With its versatile uses and benefits, beef tallow has been a staple in households and industries for centuries, once used as a primary source of lighting and an essential component in soap making.

Tallow has been used as a healing salve, a skin balm, and a lubricant in wood, leather, and metalworking industries. Even McDonald’s leveraged its unique properties, using tallow to cook their fries until 1990. However, due to health concerns, they switched to industrially produced oils.

Recently, however, the narrative is shifting. Studies are revealing that natural fats like tallow don’t cause heart disease and are part of a healthy diet. So, it seems tallow is making a comeback. Its high smoke point, rich flavour, and essential fatty acid content are being appreciated anew. Its high smoke point makes it a perfect companion in your kitchen, whether you’re frying, sautéing, or crafting delectable pastries and piecrusts.

Plus, tallow-based products are more sustainable, which aligns with today’s environmentally conscious mindset.

Versatile Uses of Beef Tallow

In your exploration of beef tallow’s versatility, you’ll find its uses extending far beyond your kitchen’s boundaries. The versatile uses of beef tallow are rooted in history, where it was a key ingredient in soaps, candles, and leather care.

It’s also a mainstay in traditional shaving creams and balms, offering skin-nourishing properties that can help you maintain a healthy and glowing complexion. This is due to the benefits of beef tallow, especially when it’s rendered from grass-fed cattle. It’s a natural source of vitamins A, D, and K, anti-microbial palmitoleic acid, and the anti-inflammatory essential fatty acid called CLA.

Outside the home, beef tallow plays a crucial role in various industries. It’s used as a lubricant for machinery, in the leather industry for conditioning and waterproofing, and even as a fuel source for lamps and lanterns. No wonder the history of beef tallow is rich and diverse! So, consider beef tallow not just a cooking ingredient but a versatile powerhouse.

Nutritional Value and Health Benefits

You’ll find that beef tallow isn’t only versatile, but it’s also packed with essential nutrients that offer numerous health benefits. Contrary to the misconception that saturated fat causes heart problems, the fats in beef tallow can actually benefit your heart.

Here are three key nutritional values and health benefits of beef tallow:

  1. Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA): This is a type of fat that’s known for its anti-inflammatory properties, which may help in reducing the risk of heart disease and cancer.
  2. Rich in Vitamins: Beef tallow is a great source of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, K and B12. These vitamins support various bodily functions, from eyesight to bone health.
  3. Omega Fatty Acids: Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids are essential for brain function, growth, and development. They also aid in reducing inflammation in the body.

Inclusion of beef tallow in your diet or skincare routine can thus be a proactive step towards better health. So, don’t let the bad reputation of saturated fats scare you. With moderation and balance, you can enjoy the nutritional benefits that beef tallow brings.

Tallow in Modern Skincare

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With all these nutritional benefits to your health, it’s no surprise that tallow has also become a popular ingredient in modern skincare. Beef tallow, rich in vitamins and fatty acids, contributes to the rejuvenation of your skin. Tallow in modern skincare is used in a variety of products, such as lipsticks, facial cleansers, and moisturizers.

The trend of grass-fed tallow skincare is on the rise. It’s believed to prevent dryness at the cellular level, restoring your skin’s youthful glow. This natural skincare ingredient is highly beneficial; it soothes various skin conditions like eczema, acne, and sunburn. Grass-fed tallow balm is a must-have in your skincare routine.

Moreover, tallow-based products, akin to the benefits of herbal remedies, are considered more natural and sustainable. They’re not just good for your skin, but they’re also kind to the environment.

The difference between Suet and Tallow

In the culinary arts, understanding the distinction between suet and tallow is essential for both amateur and professional chefs. This article aims to elucidate the differences between these two forms of fat, both derived from cattle and sheep, and their unique applications in cooking.

Suet is the raw, hard fat found surrounding the kidneys and loins in these animals. It holds a distinguished place in traditional British cooking, renowned for its contribution to creating light, airy dumplings and rich, crumbly pastry crusts. The key characteristic of suet is its high melting point, which allows it to maintain structural integrity during the cooking process, thereby imparting a desirable texture to various dishes. Suet’s utility in enhancing the quality of steamed puddings and pie crusts is particularly notable.

Conversely, tallow is the product of rendering suet or other fats from beef or mutton. This process transforms the raw fat into a more refined, versatile cooking ingredient. Tallow is celebrated for its high smoke point, making it an ideal choice for frying and sautéing. Beyond its culinary uses, tallow has historical applications in candle and soap making, demonstrating its versatility.


Proper storage of beef tallow is crucial to maintain its quality and extend its shelf life. Tallow should be stored in a cool, dark place, ideally in an airtight container, to prevent oxidation and exposure to moisture. Refrigeration is recommended, especially for long-term storage, as it significantly slows down the rate of rancidity, ensuring the tallow remains fresh and usable for several months. If you choose to store tallow at room temperature, ensure it’s kept away from direct sunlight and heat sources, which can accelerate spoilage.

Pryde Butchery – Making Beef Tallow

We make our own grassfed beef tallow using only grass-fed beef fat that is gently steam rendered twice to remove impurities, then filtered for a final time to produce a clear golden tallow that cools to solid white. Packaged in a wide open top container for easy access.

Article written by David

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