Kenji Lopez-Alt wrote a terrific and detailed look at how to copy McDonald’s french fry goodness. In order to figure out the McD’s secret, he attempted to get some frozen fries from McD’s:
“Listen, the thing is, my wife is pregnant—like really pregnant—and she sent me on a quest for McDonald’s french fries. But she only likes them really fresh, like straight out of the fryer fresh, so I figured I’d just get some frozen, and fry them for her at home. You know how it is. Women—no accounting for’em, right?”
That attempt was met with a dose of McFAIL, so he next resorted to Facebook, where he found an accomplice:
I had pre-printed a list of items for said made up “Scavenger Hunt” (I basically Googled “Scavenger Hunt Lists” and added “Frozen McDonald’s french fries”.)
Kenji’s accomplice succeeded in snagging some frozen fries. He then measured the fries and fried them up in peanut oil and found out that they tasted just as good as they do at the golden arches. But, he hadn’t really figured out the secret, right?
He next resorted to “research”, which I assume means googling. The googling turned up an article that described exactly what McDonald’s does to turn potatoes into frozen fries:
The fries are then flumed out of the A.D.R. room to the “blancher.” The blancher is a large vessel filled with one hundred and seventy degree water. The trip through the blancher takes about fifteen minutes… After the fries leave the blancher, they are dried and then it’s off to the “fryer,” which is filled with one hundred percent vegetable oil. The oil is heated to three hundred and sixty five degrees and the fries take a fifty second dip before being conveyed to the “de-oiler shaker,” where excess oil is “shook off.
It turns out that, in this case, both Google and Facebook came through with their assigned tasks, but Google actually delivered the goods. What struck me about this article, other than the extreme detail about the french fries, is the fact that snagging some frozen fries was entirely irrelevant. Had he and his accomplice not done this at all, the article would have been shortened but had the same conclusion.
Lesson learned: before you hit the street, hit the goog.