Beef tallow is a fat that has been used for centuries in cooking and in the production of products for both human and animal consumption. It is a type of rendered animal fat, in particular, the subcutaneous fat of cattle that has been melted and strained. Beef tallow is a great source of dietary fat and has many health benefits.
Tallow is a form of animal fat, usually derived from beef (or sometimes mutton or goat). Rendering refers to the process of melting down the fat to separate out the oil, proteins, and other lipids. Once strained, the remaining melted fat is referred to as beef tallow. The word “tallow” comes from the Old English word tælwe.
Tallow has been used since ancient times in various ways. In Ancient Rome, it was used as a lamp oil and for other purposes such as soap-making. In Medieval Europe, it was used extensively in the production of soap, candles, and leather dressing. In the early 20th century, it was often used as an industrial lubricant, and it is still used today as a lubricant in some kinds of machinery.
Beef tallow is high in unsaturated and saturates fats. It is a triglyceride composed primarily of stearic acid, palmitic acid, and oleic acid. It is high in short-chain and medium-chain fatty acids, which purportedly helps to boost immunity and protect against harmful organisms. It is also high in vitamin A, which is essential for proper immune system functioning, and in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). CLA is thought to have numerous health benefits, such as aiding in weight loss, reducing inflammation and improving blood sugar levels.
One of the biggest benefits of using beef tallow is its heat tolerance. When compared to other animal fats, such as poultry fat, lard, and butter, beef tallow has the highest smoke point. Meaning it can be heated to the highest temperatures without burning. This makes it a great choice for frying and other high-heat cooking methods. It also has a longer shelf life than other animal fats, so it can be stored without refrigeration.
When using beef tallow, it should be kept refrigerated and used soon after purchasing. It can also be stored in an airtight container for up to two months in the refrigerator. Always discard any rancid beef tallow, as it can harbor harmful bacteria.
Beef tallow can be used as a substitute for butter or other cooking fats when sautéing or searing meats. It can also be used to make various stocks and stews. For those who don’t eat animals, a vegan alternative to beef tallow is coconut oil. This oil is just as heat tolerant and contains healthy fats and antioxidants, although it is best to avoid frying with it.
At this point, you should understand the basics about beef tallow. While it does contain saturated fats and has a longer shelf life than other fats, it is nonetheless a good form of dietary fat and can be used in a variety of different culinary ways. And with its high smoke point and long shelf life, it can be a great addition to your kitchen. So why not give beef tallow a try and see what you think?