What Is Tallow?

Tallow is likely something that you have heard of, but it is not surprising that you might not know what it is. The white block looks very similar to lard. While both are used for the same thing, they are very different.

What Is Tallow?

This is because lard is made using softer fatty tissue from a pig, while tallow is the rendered fat from an animal like a cow. For this reason, it is often referred to as beef tallow or lard. 

Once the tallow is heated, it changes from white to a yellowish liquid that is used in cooking. Despite it coming from the fat of mammals, it is often said that tallow is healthier than the likes of margarine due to including healthy fatty acids.

To find out more about the question: ‘What is tallow’, read on!

What Is Tallow Made From?

Tallow is simply the fat that has been rendered from meat such as beef (though sometimes also mutton). Due to this, many people refer to tallow as either beef tallow or beef lard.

Tallow is solid and white when it is placed at room temperature. Once it is melted, it becomes a liquid and is easy to cook or bake with. 

Many people consider tallow and butter as being very similar. This is due to their solidity at room temperature and the way they stay white when dry, however, they are different. Tallow is known for being very waxy and dry when it comes to its texture.

Butter on the other hand still has a greasiness and softness to it, even when at room temperature. They both also taste different too!

You may notice that sometimes tallow is also named shortening. This is due to it being a type of fat that becomes a solid once put at room temperature. 

Are There Different Types Of Tallow?

Tallow can come from different areas of a mammal, but it is generally considered to be the same thing. You may find that the tallow does not come from beef, but instead mutton or hogs. However, it will still be called tallow.

Most commercial tallow is created using suet. This is the harder and white fat that can be found hugging the organs of an animal. 

The best tallow is said to be from grass-fed cattle that have good fat around the kidneys. Many people believe that this area holds lots of beneficial nutrients. However, you may find that even in this type of tallow, other fat is also mixed in. 

Is Tallow The Same Thing As Lard?

Tallow is not the same thing as lard. Lard is created by using the fat which is situated in the abdomen of a pig. It is clarified and rendered to make it suitable to cook with. Because it is also known as pork fat, some people call it ‘bacon butter’.

However, many people consider lard to be the first shortening that was available to cook and bake with. It was around way before certain trans fats were created, and the vegetable-based oils that are hydrolyzed partially. 

While lard is known for having a high amount of saturated fat, it contains no trans fats at all. Trans fats are what give your body bad forms of cholesterol which can increase your chances of stroke and heart disease.

Lard also has no real flavor either, making it a neutral substance to cook with. Not only that, its smoke point is high, which can help to make food both crumbly and very crispy!

What Is Tallow?

Are There Benefits To Eating Tallow?

There are several benefits to eating tallow. Because tallow contains lots of healthy fatty acids which take the form of lipids, it can actually protect and moisturize your skin from within. 

Also, because it has many healthy fats, it can then help you to absorb vitamins. 

Tallow includes lots of monosaturated fats which are the type you need for a healthy heart. These types of fat can inject good cholesterol into your blood. It is not only good for the heart, but also the brain.

This means you can reduce the risk of suffering from stroke and heart disease. However, just like with all food, you should only eat it in moderation.

How Is Tallow Used In Skincare?

Tallow was originally used in skincare as a body butter or moisturizer. While it might sound disgusting to put refined fat on your skin, it does have many health properties.

For example, tallow contains vitamins A, D, K, and E which are full of antioxidants and moisturizing properties. It also contains anti-inflammatory ingredients, and will not block your pores to cause acne breakouts.

What Tallow Alternatives Exist?

If you do not want to use either tallow or lard, then you may want to consider using an alternative. Fortunately, there are a number of things you can use.

If you want something similar, then opt for butter. Try and find butter that has been made using grass-fed cattle. Both contain similar fats too.

The only downside to butter is that if you or somebody else suffers problems from eating dairy, then butter is not a great option. Tallow on the other hand is dairy-free!

You can also use an oil like avocado or coconut oil. They have a number of healthy fats too. However, you may find that a lot of refined oils are not good when it comes to needing a high smoke point. 

Many also include omega-6 fatty acids which can cause inflammation, rather than help to remove it from the body. 

Final Thoughts

Tallow is a shortening used in cooking and baking. It is made using the fat which is rendered from an animal like a cow. However, sometimes mutton or hog meat is used.

At room temperature it is solid, but once it is used in cooking, it turns into a liquid. It contains healthy fats, though should still be eaten in moderation, despite its health benefits.

There are alternatives to using tallow such as lard or coconut oil.

Mark Williams
Latest posts by Mark Williams (see all)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *