Ask Dr. Potato

With 734 posts, chances are there's already an answer to your question. Please try searching below before submitting a question to Dr. Potato. Use multiple words to help narrow down the results. For example, search for "potatoes" and "group" if looking for an answer on cooking potatoes for large groups.

Back To Dr. Potato Home

I Have A Gourmet Food Truck And Want To Serve Fresh Cut Idaho French Fries. How Do I Go About Accomplishing This?

Q:

I Have a Gourmet Food Truck and want to serve fresh cut French fries.  Can you give me some tips?

A:

That’s a great thing to aspire to, people love the taste of a freshly made French fry and if you can advertise that the potatoes are actually sourced from Idaho you’ll find instant recognition because of the strength of the Idaho brand over the years in the minds of consumers.

However, while I don’t want to discourage you, doing fresh fries to order is a lot more steps than using frozen, needs much more space, and takes longer to prepare (especially if you don’t blanch the potatoes ahead of time and is not nearly as consistent. It is an art and a science mastered by some, but takes true dedication to learn about the potato and how to adjust prep and cooking to have something so great that the lines form just for the fries at your food truck.

Tips…

  1. Use Idaho potatoes. Russet or Yellow flesh. Keep the skin on as this helps the buyer identify that you are selling fresh potatoes. The most common varieties used for fresh are the Russet Burbank and Russet Norkotah from Idaho.
  2. Test the sugars and the solids when you receive the potatoes so you can adjust, if necessary the procedures you use to make the fries. For example, potatoes stored too cold, you’ll need to set aside at a warmer temperature to re-condition before using. Lower solids? You’ll need to drop the temps on blanching and blanch longer to prevent the potatoes from caramelizing. Here are some links: https://idahopotato.com/dr-potato/qa-test-for-high-solids-content-in-potatoes and https://idahopotato.com/dr-potato/testing-sugar-levels-in-your-potatoes
  3. Cut, rinse the water till clear (note this is hard to do on a truck with limited resources, needs to be done back at the Commissary) to remove excess starches or sugar.
  4. Store the cut strips in water till you can remove and blanch. Use a large spinner or drain as best as possible before putting the strips in the fryer for the first fry.
  5. The first fry (often called blanching) is designated to partially cook the potatoes. Try this test… Fry 5 pounds of Idaho Russet Burbanks at 250-325 degrees F for 2 ½ to 3 minutes or until a fry strip can be bent when removed, so the potatoes are partially cooked. If a potato has 80% water, this first pass thru the fryer might reduce the potato weight by 32%. That’s water leaving and some oil being absorbed. Remove the potatoes into a food safe plastic rectangle tub (ideally with a grid so the extra moisture or oil can drain off. Leave out to cool, typically a minimum of thirty minutes. Now, think about whether or not you have enough refrigerated storage on the truck to accommodate storing the cut and blanched potatoes before final prep when a customer places an order.
  6. Finish fry to order. We recommend frying at 350 degrees F

This last weekend, while in Chicago at a food truck festival I saw two unique ways to top your fries, my favorite was at Bill’s http://www.billsgrillmobilebbq.com/ where the fries were topped with rib tips and a saucy BBQ sauce and then at www.Donermen.com which had fries topped with sliced brats made from a fine ground pork veal sausage and a sweet/tangy red curry sauce and a sprinkle of curry spice blend. Check it out:

 

You can also get our free fresh Idaho® Potato fries wall poster by e-mailing the fry poster in the subject line and sending to: ipc@potato.idaho.gov