Tailgate French fries

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Jul 29, 2005



French fries are essentially a potato chip. They're just cut into a different shape. And like potato chips, it's easier to make them yourself than it is to actually go out and buy them.
 
Couple things you need to do, though, to make sure you get perfect fries. One, you must use russet (or Idaho) potatoes. Other varieties of potatoes have lower starch contents and just don't cut it in the realm of frying. Two, mixing a little corn starch into the oil is something of a secret to making your fried foods crispier. If you forget the corn starch, your fries just won't get as crispy as they should.
 
Of course, if you're really lazy, just buy a bag of frozen fries and drop them in the deep-fryer on game day. It's hard to f*ck up a French fry. Even when you're the one cooking. Here's how it's done (makes about 2 pounds of fries):
  • 4 large, oblong (think football shaped) russet potatoes
  • 1 to 2 quarts of vegetable or peanut oil, plus another 1/3 cup of oil
  • 1½ Tablespoons corn starch
  • Salt and pepper
  • Other select spices (optional), such as cayenne pepper, garlic salt, etc.
  • Vinegar (optional)
The night before the game, brush any dirt off the potatoes with your hands, or gently scrub clean with a dry, food-grade brush. Do not skin the potato. Cut the potato in half lengthwise and place each half sliced side down on the cutting board. Cut each long half lengthwise into eight or so long wedges, so that you get 16 French fry wedges out of each potato.
 
At home before the game, mix the slices with the one-third cup of oil in a large, microwave safe bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and heat in the microwave until tender, about 10 minutes. Pat dry on paper towels and let cool. When cool, store in an airtight container and bring them with you to the parking lot. (NOTE: In a pinch, you can do away with microwaving the French fries and just slice them up and cook them on game day. They'll still come out pretty good, but won't be as tender.)
 
On game day, heat the oil to about 385-395 degrees in a cast-iron Dutch oven or in your tailgate deep-fryer (they deep-fryer will require more than one quart of oil, but you're smart enough to figure that out). When oil reaches temperature, carefully drop in about one-third to one-half the potato slices with fry basket. Cook about 5 to 6 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove, pat dry with towels and while hot season with salt, pepper, vinegar or other spices of your choice. 

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