As you know, last Friday was not just FRYday the 13th, it was also the first ever #NationalBeefTallowDay. Back in the day everyone cooked french fries in beef tallow, but then we all went crazy with fear over saturated fats and started using canola oil and corn oil and other vegetable oils instead. This sucked all the flavor out of french fries, but somehow made us all feel good about how healthy we were.
Well, beef tallow is making a comeback! Friday was also opening day for the Orange County Fair, and Ernie Miller, the head chef of Coast Packing Company, was there to teach us all about the science of french fries. Here is Ernie roaming the stage and delivering his spiel
Ernie says there are three steps to a great french fry. First you fry the cut potatoes at a low heat, called par-frying or blanching. Second, you freeze the fries. Third, you deep fry them in yummy, yummy beef tallow. Lori Southerlend of Tasti-Fries was there to provide comparison samples of fries cooked in peanut oil and beef tallow. Here she is dishing up the fries:
Oddly enough, Tasti-Fries doesn’t exist as a normal fast food place you can go to for lunch. They do county fairs and that’s it. But plenty of people were there for the demonstration, including this guy, who was either very suspicious of the whole deal or else very into it, giving the fries the old deep wine glass sniff to get a sense of their bouquet before he ate them:
I have to admit that the difference between the peanut oil fries and the beef tallow fries was subtler than I expected. The beef tallow fries were definitely better, with a deep, rich flavor that vegetable oil just can’t match. But I wouldn’t say they jumped out at me like a whole new taste experience. In fairness, however, part of that might be due to my chemo regimen, which is at the point where it’s starting to affect my taste buds.
So where can you get fries made with beef tallow these days? Ernie gave me this list:
- Checkers and Rally’s use beef tarrow, BUT BE CAREFUL. West of the Rockies they used a vegetable oil/beef tallow blend. East of the Rockies they use pure beef tallow. Blends can be good, but be aware of what you’re getting.
- Popeye’s. However, their fries are coated, which some people (i.e., me) aren’t crazy about.
- Top Round Roast Beef. There’s only four of them, but they use beef tarrow for their fries.
- Smashburger. I’ve never tried a Smashburger, but I guess I should.
- Buffalo Wild Wings. This is the hot ticket. I went there for lunch today, and they serve great fries alongside a perfectly respectable burger. This is now in the running to become one of my favorite burger spots.
So there you have it. In a few days Ernie will provide me with the finalists who wrote the best tweets capturing “beef tallow’s vintage goodness.” I will ponder these and pick a winner, who will be announced at the end of the month. Can you feel the suspense building?