French fries are the final word salty snack and burger companion, and many people select our fast-food spot primarily based on how good their fries are. So what goes into making an ideal fry? The kind of potato, the lower, and the seasoning are all essential elements, however typically that impossible to resist je ne se quoi of the crispy fry has extra to do with the oil or fats it is fried in. Frying oils vary from numerous vegetable oils and even peanut oil, all the way in which to melted beef tallow—the latter of which makes the fries further scrumptious. However it additionally makes them non-vegetarian.

Whereas beef tallow, which is rendered fats leftover when beef is cooked, has been phased out of many eating places as well being meals traits and veganism have ramped up in recent times, it was fairly standard. This Washington Submit article from 1985 identifies Arby’s, Bob’s Massive Boy, Burger King, Hardee’s, McDonald’s, Popeyes, and Wendy’s as fast-food spots that use beef tallow of their fryers. All however one among these have swapped the tallow out for supposedly more healthy oils in recent times.

Well being ramifications apart, some folks miss these old-school cooking strategies, whereas vegetarians and vegans must comb by dietary data on fast-food web sites to verify they’re in a position to have the one aspect that is normally vegetarian. Listed here are the highest chains nonetheless utilizing beef tallow or a beef ingredient for his or her fries, for many who both wish to keep away from or get pleasure from them.

RELATED: 5 Quick-Meals Chains That Use Recent-Reduce Potatoes for Their Fries


The jury remains to be out on whether or not Mickey D’s fries are vegetarian or not. Most individuals know that they 100% weren’t at one level. In reality, the chain was famously sued for not making it extra obvious that the fries had been cooked in beef tallow.

The usage of tallow was hardly stunning for an organization that processes a lot beef, however when the concern of saturated gripped the nation and the chain was concerned within the well-known lawsuit the place vegetarians felt misled, it modified the fats used to prepare dinner the well-known fries—which some folks by no means acquired over.

However McDonald’s—which appears to know an excellent factor when it tastes it—created one thing else to imitate that beef tallow style. McDonald’s makes use of one thing known as “beef extract” within the substances for its well-known fries. This ingredient is derived from wheat and dairy—we all know this as a result of these allergens must be declared—however nobody is 100% certain there is no such thing as a beef concerned. McDonald’s, for its half, is not telling as a result of they do not legally must. A meals scientist advised Mashable that it’s doubtless simply “beef adjoining” however nobody is basically certain. In different areas of the world, together with the U.Ok. and India, beef extract is not noted of the ingredient listing.

popeyes cajun fries
Kaley Roberts/ Eat This, Not That!

The well-known hen chain would not point out what sort of oil is utilized in its U.S. eating places on its web site, however rumor has it that the chain was nonetheless utilizing beef tallow. We did the digging and, alas, if you’re on the lookout for actually vegetarian choices at Popeyes, you might be out of luck. The chain’s fryers include beef tallow, as confirmed by a rep for the restaurant.

buffalo wild wings platter wings fries slaw
Courtesy of Buffalo Wild Wings

Well-known for its wings, after all, Buffalo Wing Wings has a secret ingredient that appears misplaced in a hen restaurant: beef shortening. The chain truly fries every little thing in it—even its hen wings.

Smashburger / Fb

Smashburger began in 2007 in Denver with the intention of turning into a greater burger firm. The smashed burgers, which are actually squished on the grill for a greater sear, look like catching on as a result of the chain is planning to open at the least 20 places a yr in 2023 and 2024.

If you’re vegetarian and eating at Smashburger, there are just a few good choices, just like the Traditional Smash Black Bean burger with all of the fixin’s, however you may have to skip the SmashFries. Smashburger, like Buffalo Wild Wings, fries its gadgets in beef tallow, as acknowledged in its ingredient lists. Skip the crispy Brussels sprouts and tots too, as a result of these are given a scorching tub in beef tallow as properly.

Portillos fries
Courtesy Portillo’s

Portillo’s is known for its Chicago-style scorching canines, Italian beef sandwiches, chopped salad, cheese fries, and do-it-yourself desserts. The chain—which began as a humble scorching canine stand in 1963— now has over 60 places primarily within the midwest, however with some in Southern California, Arizona, Texas, and Florida.

And because it seems, it fries a few of its gadgets in a mix of vegetable oil and beef fats. Portillo’s is not hiding this truth both and contains the data proper on the required allergen listing. “Our French fries and onion rings are cooked in a mix of vegetable oil and beef tallow,” the corporate states on its web site.

outback steakhouse aussie fries
bigcheaptrickfan/ YouTube

Well-known for its comparatively inexpensive steaks and its Aussie persona, it is not actually a shock {that a} steakhouse would not have plenty of vegetarian choices. It additionally is no surprise {that a} steakhouse makes use of beef tallow to fry numerous issues—the fats being a by-product of beef manufacturing. There was plenty of chatter and questions on-line about Outback utilizing beef tallow. We reached out to Outback to make sure and a rep confirmed that beef tallow is certainly used within the fryers, making all of their fried menu gadgets unsuitable for vegetarians, however darn scrumptious.

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