It's a common misconception that fats and oils heated to the point of smoking, and beyond, will impart an unpleasant taste to food. However in our tests at Bisonbasics.com, we found this wasn't necessarily the case.
While butter** still had a very palatable rich taste as it just started to smoke at 280F, the same quality was not realized at higher temperatures. By the time a moderate amount of smoke was visualized at 350F, the butter's milk solids had turned from golden to nearly black. From both a visual and taste perspective it was clearly unacceptable. For better results, especially at high temperatures, we suggest using GHEE (clarified butter) instead.
Out of the ten fats and oils tested, only one, the extra virgin olive oil did not measure up when exposed to too much direct heat. It clearly breaks down from the moment it starts to smoke -- around 360F. From that point on it has a very unacceptable taste.
All other fats/oils tested had an acceptable taste as they just started to smoke, and at higher temperatures where a moderate amount of smoke was observed. This 'Smoke Point Range' is noted in the chart that follows. With the exception of extra virgin olive oil and butter, oils and fats used within their respective smoke point temperature range will not impart any unpleasant taste to food. In fact, the oils remained quite neutral in taste, while the animal fats maintained their rich full bodied taste.