Fast Food Review: French Fries from In-N-Out
I wasn’t planning on downing a whole order of In-N-Out french Fries on a recent (and late night) run at the fast food chain’s Centerville, UT location last weekend. After all, this being my first ever In-N-Out experience, I was already going Double Double “Animal Style,” and 1 a.m. hardly seemed like the time to be throwing useless carbs into my body.
But my buddy Todd said I just had to try them, and hearing that they were “like McDonald’s fries, only better” I couldn’t resist going for the full number 1 combo. After consuming each and every last bite of my burger and fries, they will have to constrain me from quitting school and blowing my entire life savings at In-N-Out. Yes, it was just that good. Being an east-coast native, I’ve long heard the “word” about In-N-Out, but until actually trying their amazing burger and fry combo, I didn’t exactly know what all the hype was about. And while I now list their Double Double as my all-time favorite burger (read Ryan’s review here) I can’t help but marvel at their fries.
Of course, what’s a great burger without great fries? At In-N-Out, we know a french fry is only as good as the potato it comes from. That’s why we use the highest grade potatoes and ship them fresh from the farm. Then we cut them right in the store, one potato at a time. And cook them in 100% pure, cholesterol-free vegetable oil.
I have to admit, I am a real “fry” guy, even though I only buy a good 2-3 orders of fries a month – fast food, or otherwise. I’ve sampled fries made with duck fat and sea salt, sweet potato fries dusted with brown sugar and paprika, and classic, boardwalk-style fries that are hand cut at the ballpark. But I always seem to come back to McDonald’s fries as the gold standard, which is why, when hearing about In-N-Out’s fries, I just knew I had to jump at the chance.
In-N-Out’s fries look a lot like McDonald’s. They have the same skinny disposition (although a bit fatter), and have the same tan complexion, with some fries having a bit of the potato peel still on the end. The fries are cut in-house and in-sight, and are fried fresh in pure vegetable oil. Normally, this can lead to a boring tasting fry if not fried correctly, but in the case of In-N-Out, the fries retain a remarkable degree of consistency. Unlike some orders of McDonald’s fries I’ve had in the past, I didn’t find any terribly limp pieces or burnt fries, and found the batch to be warm, slightly crispy, and savory. I liked the bits of potato peel that some fries still had, and the incredibly light seasoning. Most of all, I liked the moisture retention inside of the fry, creating a light but flavorful interior. These were fries in which the potato was the true star, and the natural earthy sweetness – like you’d find in a freshly opened bag of Lays chips – makes eating anything less than the whole order impossible.
I love me some fries, and while these are definitely of the simplistic variety, I can more than appreciate the freshness and taste. While I think they could use more salt, there are of course salt packets and plenty of ketchup containers to go to town with. Above all, these fries strike the ultimate balance – warm and not too crispy on the outside, while fluffy and packed with flavor on the inside. I won’t go so far as to say they are the best batch of fries I’ve ever had, but I really feel like they are up there.
I realize Ryan has previously reviewed the “Animal Style Double Double,” but I want to take a minute and declare my love for it. Before visiting In-N-Out, I had never had a fast food cheeseburger (shocking, I know, but remember I’m the ‘chicken guy’) but the sweet-salty-fatty awesomeness of the Double Double has converted me. You know how some people ask what your “death row meal” would be? I’m thinking about five of those babies.
Pros: Hand cut and fresh as all get out. Slightly crispy exterior yields to a fluffy interior. Packed with earthy potato sweetness. Loves ketchup like Romeo loves Juliet. One of the healthier french fry options around. Good value.
Cons: Limited availability nationally thanks to In-N-Out's shipping philosophy. Waiting in a long line at 1 a.m. Could benefit from a bit more salt.
Grubbing on-the-go: 8.50/10
Price: 1.35 for single order (5.75 as part of Number 1 combo)
Overall GrubGrade: 9.25/10
More Info: InNOut.com
In-N-Out French Fries (one order)
Calories – 400
Fat – 18 grams
Saturated Fat – 5 grams
Cholesterol – 0 milligrams
Sodium – 245 milligrams
Carbs – 54 grams
Dietary Fiber – 2 gram
Sugar – 0 grams
Protein – 7 grams