French fries and the grill are not something most people do. But with the right technique, this can be a standard with these easy to follow step by step photo instructions.
There are only a few instructions out there, and they vary a lot. So I always like to experiment, and this is the 5th try in 2 weeks, and I now have it right.
They are not your basic fast food tasting fry. They are a cross between a fast-food fry and a hash brown. And a great reason to buy that 10 or 12-inch cast iron pan.
This will continue to be a frequent side when not in diet mode.
The grill should be 450°-500° surface temperature. That is usually a bit above medium on most gas grills. It is also the grill temperature I usually recommend for most chicken and pork recipes.
If you have questions about grill set up, see A Beginners Guide to Grill Temperature on a Gas Grill.
Try to avoid any “hot spots” you have on your grill. A heavier pan like cast-iron will help even out any hot spots. The larger the pan, the better.
Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes are a good choice here, but most potatoes should work. You can leave the skin, but I suggest peeling if using Russets. Other potatoes have thinner skin, and peeling is more a personal choice.
I suggest ¼ inch fries. The thicker the fries, the longer and harder the cooking. I use a mandolin, but please follow the safety recommendations of the manufacturer if you do. Otherwise, just a good knife will do.
The potatoes need to be soaked for 10-20 minutes in cold water and then dried well before proceeding. If you skip this still, you will have a mushy mess.
- Try to avoid any hot spots on your grill.
- Do thin fries-They need to cook completely on the grill. Thicker than ⅜ inch will not do.
- They go on raw, not precooked. I tried to a varying amount of precooking, and they became too weak to work.
- Wash and soak them after cutting. The starch will stick them together. Then pat dry (important.)
- Rotate the pan every time you touch the fries. Hot spots will do you in.
- Keep your hands off a lot more than you want. You will just break them up.
- A well-seasoned cast-iron pan is almost a must.
It is another KISS recipe that is easily scalable to the size you need, but you will have a hard time doing a large batch. More than 2-3 pounds of potatoes should be a practical limit in a very large pan.
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Preheat grill to 450°-500°. Scrub the potatoes—about 1 pound for two servings. Cut into ¼ inch fries. I used a mandolin.
Wash the fries in cold water. Soak for 10-20 minutes and drain. Place on paper towels and pat dry.
Add ¼ cup of oil to the fries and mix well. Do not use olive oil.
Coat grill safe pan with oil. Add fries to the pan. Cast-iron is preferred.
Place over direct heat and try to avoid any hot spots.
Do not touch for 12 minutes, then flip fries and rotate pan. Flip every 4 to 6 minutes. Use a shorter duration near the end of cooking. Be sure to scrape the bottom to prevent sticking and rotate pan with every flip.
Cooking about 30-35 minutes total until well browned. Remove from grill. Place on a paper towel-lined bowl and sprinkle with coarse salt.
Editor’s note: Originally published July 3, 2011. Updated with expanded options, refreshed photos, and a table of contents to help navigation.