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The History and Benefits of Beef Tallow

history of beef tallow

In the last 70 years, tallow has all but vanished from our vocabulary. It was vilified by vegetable oil producers as an artery clogging, unhealthy fat when in fact, it is one of the best oils to both cook with and rub on your skin.

Thankfully, emerging scientific research is exposing the real truth that tallow from grass fed cattle is actually quite healthy.

In this article, we uncover what tallow is, the history of tallow, why grass fed is better than conventional tallow and the benefits of using tallow.

What is Tallow?

Tallow is rendered Suet. Suet is the fat that surrounds the organs of a cow or deer, typically the kidneys. Once heated, suet will liquefy into gold colored oil that separates from the tissues originally intertwined throughout the suet (such as muscle and ligaments).

At this liquid state, the fat is then strained through a filter to remove impurities. Once cooled, tallow becomes hard. Tallow is shelf-stable for up to 1 year and can last for many years if frozen immediately after rendering. See below images of the process.

rendering beef tallow

Tallow is used for cooking, making skincare products and industrial applications.

Brief History Of Tallow

Long before families began relying on supermarkets for food and personal care products, men and women used what they had available to them in their homes. Tallow was used to make candles, bar soaps, and skin salves. Tallow was also used for frying foods and for adding flavor to soups and stews. 

Kitchens across the world used tallow to cook everything from french fries to fried chicken. Aside from its amazing flavor, tallow is a chef's favorite because it is heat stable up to 400° F and rarely gets a rancid oil taste.

beef tallow

Even locomotives employed tallow in their everyday adventures as a lubricant. Truth be told, while tallow was being slandered as a harmful thing of the past, it was and still is widely used all over the marketplace in disguise.  

Did you know...?
...that tallow is commonly found in store-bought lipsticks, facial moisturizers, eye makeup, face foundations, shampoos, shaving creams, soaps and facial cleansers? Elements of tallow are frequently used under the names Stearic Acid, Lauric Acid, Myristic Acid, Oleic Acid, Palmitic Acid and Sodium Tallowate. While using tallow in everyday products is certainly not a bad thing, using conventionally-farmed tallow is. 



Tallow rendered from grass fed cattle has a wealth of benefits not shared by its cousin, the grain-fed, factory-farmed cow. Unfortunately, conventionally-farmed cows are fed an unnatural diet of GMO corn and held in over-crowded, confined housing with little or no access to the sun.

beef tallow better from grass fed cows

Tallow from grass fed, grass-finished, pasture-raised cows is much different. 

The grass, fresh air and sunshine a pasture-raised cow is exposed to when allowed to graze naturally provides the building blocks for the production of vital nutrients inside the animal's body. Just as the human body stores nutrients in the fat for later use, so does the cow, thus a wealth of benefits hidden inside its fat or tallow. 

I mean let's be honest here, if you were a cow, wouldn't you rather have this (below) as your view than the above? 

grass fed cows

Benefits of Grass Fed Tallow

Grass fed tallow is full of antioxidants, vitamins such as A, D and K, anti-microbial palmitoleic acid, and the anti-inflammatory essential fatty acid called CLA - Conjugated Linoleic Acid - which has been linked to cancer prevention, fat loss and improved brain function. (1) (2)

Tallow also contains the same fats or lipids found in healthy, supple human skin oil. Therefore, tallow is believed to prevent dryness at the cellular level without suffocating the skin's barrier like petroleum-based lotions do.

Tallow assists the skin in retaining moisture, restores youthful looking skin and replenishes the building blocks of our cells that decrease with age. 

Simply put...TALLOW IS AMAZING! 

Interested in buying tallow skincare? Great! View our selection of tallow based skincare now. 


(1) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8039138

(2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2846864/ 


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