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French fries: long and skinny or fat and potatoey?

r
rgfoodie Nov 4, 2007 11:58 AM

I am so disappointed when I order french fries and get these soft, thick versions. Ironically, McDonalds's are the right shape and size...but where do you get really good ones? I will go to a restaurant specifically for french fries!

  1. amethiste Nov 4, 2007 12:03 PM

    I have preferred long an skinny french fries for as long as I can remember. I think it's because fat french fries often are not cooked in the center. I also like my fries crispy. My favorite are the Rosemary Garlic fries from Brewer's Art in Baltimore. They are shoestring thin, crispy and served with mayonnaise. I usually skip the garlic as it is waaay too much for me.

    1 Reply
    1. re: amethiste
      s
      speakingthetruth Nov 4, 2007 12:15 PM

      Amen. Can't wait to try those!

    2. hotteacher1976 Nov 4, 2007 12:26 PM

      I prefer long and skinny over fat ones. However, I like the fat ones with fried fish, splashed with some vinegar.

      1. h
        Humbucker Nov 4, 2007 12:43 PM

        I'm not really a french fry fan, but I'm a sucker for the medium thickness ones that are coated in batter. Mmm. Carb overload.

        1. l
          LeslieB Nov 4, 2007 01:45 PM

          Shoestrings rule! (As do house-made potato chips) There's a nice little bar in my hometown of Lakewood, Ohio called the Rush Inn that I find myself inexorably drawn to for awesome, addictive crispy fries

          1. l
            Lucia Nov 4, 2007 02:38 PM

            The long and skinny ones don't do anything for me. I like some meat in my fry. Medium to thick cut and crispy is my preference.

            1. t
              tarteaucitron Nov 4, 2007 03:38 PM

              I don't mind both, as long as they are piping hot, and nicely browned and crispy on the outside!

              Actually I prefer the slightly thicker ones, because they give the extra pleasure of two different textures when biting into them -- crispy on the outside, substantial and soft on the inside.

              Of course when improperly cooked, the shoestrings are dry and hard, while the thicker ones are limp and soggy.

              1 Reply
              1. re: tarteaucitron
                p
                piccola Nov 4, 2007 05:11 PM

                Yeah, I'm in the medium-thick camp myself. As long as they're crispy outside, of course.

              2. jfood Nov 4, 2007 06:03 PM

                It is rare when the thick ones are good but when they are crispy on the outside and have great flavor and texture (nice and smooth) on the inside there is nothing like it. A little Heinz 57 and its a perfect side for a nice pink med-rare burger. But these are few and far between. so to get crispy, one normally needs the thin ones to have the crispiness.

                1 Reply
                1. re: jfood
                  t
                  tarteaucitron Nov 5, 2007 05:49 AM

                  I agree it's rarer, but still possible. The city I am in, the breakfast joints sometimes serve the fries in hazelnut-size chunks, exactly what you described, and fluffy and even steaming inside.

                  If you get disappointed too often, make them at home instead, it's too easy. I find that cubes cook better, and using lard or duck fat seems to help too. There's a proper name for this style but I forgot what it is.

                2. s
                  sunkissedbabe43 Nov 4, 2007 06:31 PM

                  I had Checker's fries last night and they were amazing. I enjoy a medium-fat fry and Checkers and the KFC wedges are my favorite.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: sunkissedbabe43
                    hotteacher1976 Nov 7, 2007 03:38 PM

                    checker's fries are awesome

                  2. cate_cooks Nov 4, 2007 07:29 PM

                    I like the fat ones...it's like the best of both worlds! Crispy on the outside like a fry, and soft on the inside like a baked potato. I love them!

                    1. ipsedixit Nov 4, 2007 08:17 PM

                      Depends on what I'm eating.

                      Steak? Skinny.

                      BLT sandwich? Skinny.

                      Burger? Skinny.

                      Fish and Chips? Fat.

                      Chili fries? Fat.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: ipsedixit
                        Will Owen Nov 5, 2007 11:20 AM

                        I'm with ya, ipsedixit, except that I can happily eat ANY kind of fry with a burger. It's odd that they call those planks "steak fries", since I agree that the skinnier those frites are the better they go with the steak. One of the things I enjoy so much about the fish & chips at Hamburger Hamlet is that you have the option to order the wide fries. I always ask for an extra cup of the tartar sauce for dipping, too.

                        I will say that I am steadfastly NOT charmed by fries with the skins on. I think those are just a cynical ploy by restaurant owners saving a buck on potato peelers.

                        1. re: ipsedixit
                          k
                          Kelli2006 Nov 5, 2007 12:50 PM

                          Once again I agree with Ipsedixit. The skinny and the fat both have their respective places and are equally great, if they are prepared properly.

                          It is all about proper potato preparation.

                          Frozen fries are a crime against nature, IMVHO.

                          1. re: Kelli2006
                            a_and_w Nov 5, 2007 01:23 PM

                            I disagree -- frozen fries have their place. When I have leftover french fries from a meal, I sometimes freeze them for later. Put them in the toaster oven for a few minutes and they come out surprisingly crisp and delicious. In fact, the toaster oven trick works well even for fresh fries that are too limp.

                            1. re: a_and_w
                              Will Owen Nov 6, 2007 10:31 AM

                              My best luck with leftover fries is to simply re-fry them from refrigerated. I pour some oil into my 5-qt. nonstick sauté pot, get it good and hot, and then give the fries a quick toss until they get sizzly-crisp but not darkening much, at which point they're just the right temperature inside. Drain on towels, salt, and you're good to go.

                              1. re: Will Owen
                                ipsedixit Nov 6, 2007 11:58 AM

                                I know this off-topic, but when I used to work at our family's Chinese restaurant I would dip thick slices of potato in the batter we used for sweet and sour pork, then fry them in our deep fryer, and then drizzle the batter-coated fries with sweet and sour sauce.

                                Sounds disgusting, but went down like a dream.

                                1. re: ipsedixit
                                  amethiste Nov 6, 2007 04:23 PM

                                  Actually that sounds really good. I bet it woud be a hit if it was put on the menu

                        2. f
                          FrankJBN Nov 5, 2007 05:57 AM

                          I am another who like the a variety of ways from twisty little not so crisp pommes frites at the Belgian to snappy nediums at a fish fry to thick slabs/wedges at the steak house.

                          I am surprised and feel bad for all you folks who apparently find it hard to find a good fried potato. They're out there.

                          1. danhole Nov 5, 2007 06:42 AM

                            My DH and I are totally split on this. I like them thicker and a bit limp, and not too crispy, especially if there is a gravy served (i.e. chicken fried steak) or a cheese/chili sauce. He like his painfully thin snapping crispy with salt and ketchup. Every once in a while I like those as well, but there not first choice. I did like checkers fries when they were in town, but they didn't last too long ;-(

                            1. h
                              Humbucker Nov 5, 2007 06:51 AM

                              Are curly fries included in this topic? Those are good, too.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Humbucker
                                monkeyrotica Nov 5, 2007 11:25 AM

                                Or waffle fries? An excellent delivery vector for chili, cheese, and guacamole.

                                Do NOT like the shoestrings, probably because I've had them done so poorly. Either they're overcooked and stale or end up tasting like dehydrated potatoes. Or they're left under the heat lamp too long and end up with the half-life of a Mcdonalds fry. I had some last night that were overly seasoned with Old Bay. I'll stick with fresh cut with skins still on the ends, cooked twice.

                              2. jfood Nov 5, 2007 09:09 AM

                                For those of us who look for the fat guys, the one item that jfood should mention is an easy way to do at home that are delicious.

                                If you are making a roasted chicken you have the perfect fat to fry the potatoes. Make your wedges and place in the bottom af a roating pan covered with no-stick reynolds wrap. place the chicken to roast on top and place in the oven. As the fat from the chicken melts it surrounds the potatoes, creating the best flavored, potatoes. Ifthe chicken is done first remove the chicken, crank up the heat in the oven and crisp the potatoes to golden greatness.

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: jfood
                                  danhole Nov 5, 2007 10:25 AM

                                  So, in essence, you are using the potatoes as the roasting rack. Is that right? Sounds like a keeper.

                                  1. re: danhole
                                    jfood Nov 5, 2007 11:07 AM

                                    That's one way with the chicekn horizontal on top of the taters. The other way is with a vertical roaster so the fat drips on the taters and the whole bird gets crispy.

                                    Trick to both is the NOT cut off any excess fat before all the fat is needed for the taters to crisp.

                                    But for full disclosure this recipe is NOT for anyone trying to loose weight.

                                    1. re: jfood
                                      danhole Nov 5, 2007 11:35 AM

                                      Vertical! I could put my chicken on my beer can rack, put that in a pan and have the best of both worlds! Nice thick, crispy fries, that I think would satisfy me and my DH!

                                      1. re: danhole
                                        jfood Nov 5, 2007 11:54 AM

                                        just a thought. Jfood does not do the beer can but, does the fat from the neck hole fall into the can hole or does it make it to the taters? Theirs a bunch of fat whre the breast meets the neck and jffod would hate for you t loose all those calories. :-))

                                        1. re: jfood
                                          danhole Nov 5, 2007 12:41 PM

                                          I hope this isn't too far off topic, but to answer you, the hole in the can isn't very big, so some fat may be in there, but not much. Since the one I have is a metal frame that has a place to put the can in, but isn't much larger than the can, I think I would just shove the chicken on that and leave out the can. Don't want to lose calories!

                                2. a_and_w Nov 5, 2007 10:09 AM

                                  I'm usually a skinny fries guy, but I do also love a thicker cut provided they're cooked well done, so that the outside is extra crunchy and the inside like molten mashed potato.

                                  1. Johnresa Nov 5, 2007 10:38 AM

                                    i like mine long and medium sized. Maybe twice as thick as McDonalds.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Johnresa
                                      rockandroller1 Nov 5, 2007 10:53 AM

                                      We're all about skinny and with the skins on, freshly cut, like you get at the county fair. We actually visited another state's fair this year and were surprised to find that everyone was serving boring old frozen french fries! Abhorrent! :) At the fairs here, they provide a table for dressing them that includes a huge plastic hand-sprayer like you'd use for your garden/plants which has vinegar in them. First you vinegar, then you salt, then pound the cup and shake them around on the table (carefully! they're so hot!). Re-dress, re-shake/distribute and eat while still scalding. It's the true fry experience.

                                    2. KaimukiMan Nov 5, 2007 10:54 AM

                                      I think it is more about getting them cooked right than the style. I have had thick "steak" fries that were wonderfully crispy on the outside, and had almost a mashed potato quality in the middle, smooth, creamy, delicious. I have had shoestring fries that must have been done in really hot oil. Crispy, and crunchy, but not dried out. No doubt the McFries size to the Crinkle Cut size are the easiest to make (thats why fast food places do them that way), and they can be really really good as well. Often they would be better if left in the oil just a tad longer, enough to get slightly brown, but not burned... but that is really really hard to gauge - especially if you are mass producing them. All in all I would rather have an overly crisped fry than a limp soggy one.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: KaimukiMan
                                        alanbarnes Nov 5, 2007 02:31 PM

                                        Here in CA, In 'n' Out Burger has a secret menu option for well-done fries. Ask for 'em, and not only do you get fries fresh-cut from real potatoes, they're cooked to the height of brown, crunchy deliciousness.

                                        1. re: alanbarnes
                                          hotteacher1976 Nov 7, 2007 03:41 PM

                                          I love their burgers, but I'll pass on their fries

                                      2. cayjohan Nov 5, 2007 01:17 PM

                                        Long. Skinny. Crispy. Yes.

                                        If you want to grease up your kitchen, try making them yourself. Cut thin. Use a double fry method. Beautiful, but going to all that effort, exactly how many fries can we eat? :-)

                                        I unashamedly love McD's fries. I do save leftovers, and reheat the in the toaster oven, making them even more crispy. A pool each of catsup, mayo and mustard on the plate - very nice.

                                        I used to buy a crinkle cut supermarket brand occasionally years ago - not super-loaded with icky oils like some varieties - and I wish I could find it again, or even remember the name. I always increased the cooking time by half again, watching the doneness. The not-oily crustiness was wonderful. These were crinkle cuts not more than 1/2" square. Maybe experiment with some off-brands? Great for late night movie munchies, even though we'd prefer to pretend that we were eating something else.

                                        1. k
                                          KevinB Nov 6, 2007 09:49 PM

                                          All of you need to visit Quebec and get some pomme frites from a roadside stand (preferably an old converted schoolbus). I don't know what it is about them - they are not super dry and crispy like those horrid McD things. Instead, they are kind of greasy and limp, but they have an unctousness that is both transcendent and addictive. Served properly - which is to say with a little salt and lashings of malt vinegar - they explode on your tongue with salty/sweet/sour assaults that leave your taste buds reeling.

                                          I'll always have a soft spot for a good poutine, but the simple Quebec fry is so elemental, so sublime, that like a great hotdog, it's astonishing how many bad imitations are made when it seems so easy to make them properly.

                                          1. a
                                            aynrandgirl Nov 6, 2007 10:03 PM

                                            Gordon Biersch Garlic Fries are the bomb! I prefer fat to skinny. Skinny fries get cold too fast so you have to shovel them down. Shoestring fries are especially bad at that. Fat fries stay hot longer so you can savor them. They also hold condiments better.

                                            1. marmite Nov 7, 2007 07:51 AM

                                              Skinny for ketchup. Fat for malt vinegar, or lemon juice and oregano. Tater tots for tartar sauce. :p

                                              1. Peg Nov 7, 2007 08:38 AM

                                                Fat crisp and fluffy in the middle every time.

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