The Best French Fries
- 4-6 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch x 1/4-inch (5
- mm) lengths
- 2 quarts (2 L) peanut oil
- 1/4 C. (60 ml) bacon grease (optional)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Place the cut potatoes in a large bowl and rinse under running water until the water runs clear. Cover the potatoes with at least 1 inch (3 cm) of water and cover with ice. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to 3 days. Heat the oil in an electric fryer or 5-quart (5 L) heavy pot or Dutch oven to 325 F. While the oil heats, drain the potatoes and pat as dry as possible with a clean dish towel. Add the optional bacon grease to the oil if desired. Add the potatoes a handful at a time and fry until limp and barely colored, about 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack or paper towels to drain. Repeat in batches, allowing the temperature of the oil to return to 325F before adding more potatoes. At this stage, the potatoes can stand at room temperature for up to two hours. Immediately before serving, heat the oil to 350F (180C) and fry the fries again, working in batches and stirring constantly, until the potatoes are puffed and golden brown, about 1 minute. Repeat, allowing the temperature of the oil to return to 350 F before adding more potatoes. Drain on a wire rack or paper towels, season with salt and pepper, and serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.