A customer sent us a website link to an out-of-date promotion for tallow.

Regardless of the dating on the article, the piece made a number of claims about the benefits of tallow and our customer wanted to know what I thought of using it.

What is tallow? It’s animal fat that conforms to certain technical criteria, including its melting point. It is rendered from of beef or mutton fat, processed from suet (raw fat, directly from the animal). It is solid at room temperature. Because it is rendered (which means melting and then extracting the components based on its melting point), tallow can be stored for extended periods without the need for refrigeration to prevent decomposition. It must be kept in an airtight container to prevent oxidation. The referenced article also recommends freezing.

Personally, I am not eager to use or support using tallow. It’s similar to lard, except it comes from cows/mutton instead of sows. It will likely contain hormones, which are soluble in fat (stored there). It is popular to inject various hormones into livestock to increase weight, improve marbling  and even increase milk production. While some of the injected hormones are excreted, some is stored in fat – and it remains in the tallow after rendering.

I am also not inclined to use lard or any of those canned vegetable oils (Crisco, etc.), or any margarine.

I fry almost nothing and when I need oil/grease I’ll use coconut oil – maybe butter (but not much butter these days).

It might be a good fat – as compared to trans fat – but it certainly isn’t something I’d use or recommend, just as I wouldn’t use lard for my cooking. We all need more good fats and oils, but we don’t need to over indulge. I’d prefer oils/fats be plant sourced whenever possible.

I prefer organic coconut oil. It is solid at room temperature, melts easily, and is great for cooking because it is difficult to burn at normal cooking temperatures. It doesn’t become rancid, and it is impossible for it to contain hormones. In addition to the edible coconut oils, there are numerous skin products and foods derived from coconuts. We buy our coconut oil products from Tropical Traditions.