What is Suet and Tallow: How to make, use, and store these Fat Powerhouses
INTRO TO GUIDE ON SUET AND TALLOW
Do you know your Tallow from your Suet? These traditional cooking and naturally nutrient dense dietary fats are making a welcome comeback.
Modern, high fat, low carb, low inflammatory diets like the Carnivore Diet, Paleo, AIP and Ketogenic Diets have turned this beef fat into a shining star but there is still quite a bit of confusion out there on the difference between Suet and Tallow.
In this article we explain:
- Differences between Suet vs. Tallow
- How to prepare Tallow from Suet
- How to store Suet and Tallow
- What does Suet taste like?
- What does Tallow taste like?
- Why eat Organic and Grass-Fed Suet and Tallow?
What is Suet?
Beef Suet is the hard fatty part of the cow that surrounds the kidneys and around the loins of the carcass. Beef Suet has a white appearance, slightly crumbly, and almost dry to the touch.
Suet has a melting point of between 113 °F (45 °C) and 122 °F (50 °C).
The high smoke point of Suet makes it the perfect beef fat for stable frying and was a traditional way of making calorie-dense pastries, puddings, and pies.
What is Tallow?
Image Above is solidified Beef Tallow
Tallow is the rendered or melted down version of suet. Tallow is simple to make at home DIY and gives you a clean, healthy animal fat that you can cook with, baste with, sauté, deep fry, or even spread like butter.
Just a couple of generations ago and before the modern obesity and diabetes pandemic, beef tallow (rendered suet) was what people used to cook with as their main cooking oil.
Not only does Beef Tallow have a very high smoke point and a long shelf life at room temperature, but it’s also a way to ensure we’re using the whole animal in our cooking ~ a practice our forefathers understood the value of and that we’re re-learning how to do today with 'nose to tail' eating.
What is Not Tallow
Many consumers incorrectly believe Tallow comes from any rendered fat of any main lamb cut or beef cut. This is incorrect.
Tallow is made from rendered Suet only.
Suet is a special kind of fat that surrounds the kidneys and heart in cattle.
Suet is also found around the kidneys of lamb and mutton although not in as high a quantity as that from cattle.
How to Make Tallow from Suet?
Just Render Down!
Empty the suet into a large skillet or cooking pot.
Simmer on low heat for an hour or until all the little bits of meat in the Suet start to turn crispy and the remaining Suet has rendered down/ melted into a liquid fat. These bits of meat are called ‘suet crackling’.
Remove the suet cracklings from the melted fat and use the cracklings as a snack or part of any meal you wish to add tasty fats to.
The remaining liquified rendered fat from the Suet ~ this is called Tallow.
Let the rendered Tallow cool a little then pour through a fine sieve into airtight jars and store your grass-fed tallow at room temperature, in the refrigerator, or freezer where it will solidify and ready for future frying or cooking.
HOW SUET AND TALLOW HAVE BEEN USED FOR CENTURIES.
In British, Irish, Scottish, and Australian cuisine, suet was used as a rich beef fat source to make pastries and either sweet or savory puddings such as steak and kidney pie, spotted dick, and jam roly-poly.
- With Suet being attached to the underside of a Beef Kidney, it is no surprise that many dishes that inculded suet were in fact old recipes for beef kidney and the suet was included to avoid waste and increase the energy and nutrients of the dish.
Suet was and continues to be also used in recipes for soft-textured pastry, dumplings, Scottish haggis, mincemeat, Christmas pudding, and the rendered version of Suet called Tallow.
Due to the very high energy and calorie density of Suet i.e., 242 calories per ounce, Beef or Lamb Suet was once used as a high energy source by Polar explorers and mountaineers.
Rendered down Suet was long used to make Tallow as a healthy room temperature stable cooking oil long before the use of refrigeration.
- Tallow was a highly prized fat used to make Pemmican, a traditional food used by Native Americans to survive harsh winters.
- Tallow was also a traditional ingredient in candle wax making and natural soap making.
Below is an enchanting video by Townsend and Son on how Suet was rendered, and Tallow prepared and used in 18th Century America.
HOW TO COOK WITH SUET AND WAYS TO USE BEEF TALLOW TODAY.
- Cut up and flash fried on the pan, Suet is now an extremely popular way to boost fat intake by adding a few ounces of daily energy rich, healthy grass-fed suet to a ketogenic / no carb diet regime.
- As a crispy zero carb snack. When you flash fry Suet on high heat quickly, you will get crisply pieces of fat bombs called ‘Suet Crackling’ which is very similar crispiness to Pork Belly skin except for beefy flavor notes. Just add salt for a crispy Beef Suet snack or add to a carnivore diet meal.
- Eat Suet raw. Some carnivore customers prefer to eat their suet raw. Our only advice is to make sure it is a clean toxin free source of Suet that comes from Organic Grass-fed cattle. Keep in freezer and use as needed.
- Rendered down Suet to make homemade Tallow for cooking and frying. A pure beef fat alternative to heavily processed plant-based oils.
- Fry steaks and meats in the pan with homemade tallow. Cooking steaks with Suet or Tallow just works in terms of flavor, added vitamins A,D,E and K plus it has a very high smoke point. Wether you are looking to cook a New York Strip or Sirloin Steak, using some Tallow or even a piece of suet on the pan adds great depth to the flavor.
- Sautee or stir-fry veggies using tallow as a healthy animal-based oil for a delicious meaty undertone.
- Brush and baste tallow on spuds to make superb and crispy roast potatoes for Thanksgiving.
What is Suet Taste and Texture Like?Fresh raw suet has a mild taste, a slightly meaty smell, and a dry, crumbly texture. Pan Fried Suet on high heat takes on more beefy flavor notes with the meaty bits becoming intensely crispy and tasty. Add Kosher salt to bring out the beefy notes even more.
What is Tallow Taste and Texture Like?The best way to describe the taste of Tallow is like a subtle beefy flavored butter. Tallow, when cooled, becomes a solid fat so can be spread on meats, veggies or cooked with by adding a nice chunk onto the skillet, roasting pan or into your baking as a butter replacement.
How to Store Suet and Tallow?
Storing Suet is super easy. Suet should be kept in the refrigerator and used within 5 days if fresh or portion it up using freezer bags where Suet will keep for 6 months frozen then use as needed.
Storing Tallow is even easier. Tallow will solidify and keep at room temperature in a sealed container for up to a year and won't go rancid. Beef Tallow will keep even longer in the refrigerator or indefinitely in the freezer.
WHERE TO BUY SUET?
To ensure the highest quality and purity, we suggest you buy suet:
- Directly from a reputable certified organic beef farm verified as Grass-fed by an independent verification body.
- A local butcher that has access to Certified Organic Grass-fed Beef.
- Starting in 2021, you can purchase Organic Grass-fed Suet and have it delivered to your home by TruBeef.
SUET AND BIRD FEEDERS? ~ YOUR FRIEND IN THE GARDEN.
At TruBeef, we are all for biodiversity no matter where you live and here is a great Suet Tip to bring some new life to your urban or rural garden: Beef Suet attracts insect-eating birds live as woodpeckers, wrens, chickadees, nuthatches, and titmice into your garden if you have a Suet bird feeder / fat cake feeder.
Gardeners have known for generations how these birds LOVE SUET so it's a great way to attract these helpful feathered friends into your garden for more diversity, natural sounds of nature and let them do their job as Mother Nature's natural insect control.
HOW TO MAKE A SUET BIRD FEEDER
- Mix 1-part birdseed to 1-part Suet, mix and mould both together into a 4-inch square.
- Freeze the Suet and Bird Seed square overnight.
- Place the suet and seed mix in special bird feeders available at Garden centers.
- Hang the Suet bird feeder at least 5 feet from the ground.
- Feathered visitors will quickly arrive to feast on the Suet and hang around to keep the insect population under control in your garden.
WHY EAT ORGANIC GRASS-FED SUET AND TALLOW?
- Studies like this one have demonstrated that environmental pollutants, heavy metals and other toxins are stored in fatty tissue. Organic 100% Grass-fed beef Suet or Homemade Organic Grass-fed Tallow ensures a pure, toxin free and safe fat.
- More beefy natural depth of flavor.
- Organic Grass-fed Suet and Tallow is much higher in heart friendly CLA's & Omega 3’s.
- Non-GMO’s, No bleaching agents or solvents are found in Grass-fed Suet unlike most oils and fats.
- Store-bought Tallow, in almost all instances, is hydrogenated. Buying your own Organic Grass-fed Suet and making your very own Beef Tallow avoids this.
- An excellent source of clean, natural, and non-toxic energy for the body.
SUMMARY OF GUIDE ON SUET AND TALLOW
- Beef Suet is the hard fatty part of the cow that surrounds the kidneys.
- Beef Tallow is the rendered down fat from Suet.
- To make Beef Tallow, simply place Suet over low heat to render out the liquid fat.
- Both Suet and Tallow have been used for generations as an energy source, baking ingredient and cooking oil.
- Long shelf life is a big advantage for both Beef Suet and Tallow.
- Suet and Tallow have mild tasty beefy flavor notes.
- High smoke point makes tallow a safe and molecularly stable cooking oil.
- Beef Suet and Tallow are popular amongst the paleo and carnivore diet communities for fat supplementation.
- Beef Suet and Rendered Beef Tallow are excellent and natural alternatives to margarine and industrial oils like Canola Oil.