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Episode 7: French Fry Dips

Posted on Feb 24, 2010

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French fries often swim before they die -- but in what? Mark argues against ketchup and in favor of mayo, while Dan draws his fry dipping approach from his 6th grade art teacher.

Photo: Flickr CC / stevendepolo

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jesse says:

so i just listened to this and have to add these two:tzatziki sauce.... any greek diner should have it.thousand island dressing.... any diner should have it.both supremely delicious.

Lori says:

Recently started listening to your podcast by way of Marc Maron's podcast. Great show!I cannot believe anyone (including yourselves) did not mention aioli. While mayo has been a huge part of this discussion, aioli should be set apart from plain mayo. By the way, I typically dip my fries in a mayo, ketchup, rooster sauce mixture - which someone else mentioned as well.

Jo says:

I generally like to think that fries speak for themselves and don't need dip when they're really good. I am, however, partial to ketchup. I'm living in the UK now and am still wary of malt vinegar because it makes them soggy! When I was studying in France I tried mayo, which was okay, but the kicker for me was curry sauce. Now THAT was a french fry revelation.

Aimee says:

Ok, so I am a new listener to the Sporkful, so naturally I am starting watching from the beginning, and it is awesome!BUT, at the end of this podcast, you guys mention Poutine (yes I am Canadian) but you called it DiscoFries? Firstly, poutine is amazing, when it is done correctly with actual cheese curds! But I do completely agree that it is more of a topping than a dip.Personally I am not a big fan of dipping my fries in general, but I really enjoy a 2 part mayo, 1 part bbq sauce if I do. I am definitely partial to coating the salty goodness that is fries in Malt or White Vinigar!Thank you for making my days at work a little less boring!

Sarah says:

I can't believe you didn't mention Fry Sauce in this episode! Imagine... one part ketchup, two parts mayonnaise. French fry dipping perfection.

Karie says:

Seriously? Bernaise!! It's the ONLY way to fry.

Eddie Hagler says:

I like a little ketchup with fries (I had some home made fries today in fact-along with a home made grilled hamburger-my favorite meal) I think ketchup is very good for french fries and in fact as far as I am concerned made primarily for french fries. The fact that ketchup can be used other places is coincidental.I don't eat every french fry with ketchup. I just dip every other one or so. Sometimes less. It depends on my mood as to how much ketchup I use but I always feel that it should be available.I'm not opposed to dipping my fries in chili, cheese, mayo, even honey if I am also eating chicken with the frech fries. I would also use sour cream if I were eating that with something els on my plate. But I always go back to ketchup and always will put ketchup next to my fries if it is available.

Keeley Booth says:

NO KETCHUP....WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU! Ketchup is one of the most delishiouse dips ever....that and blue cheese dressing, but if you ever get it...BOB'S BLUE CHEESE IS THE #1 IN THE WORLD!

Claire says:

chocolate milkshakes are the best with french fries, especially from in-n-out!

Claire says:

i am in love with the sporkful, its like a food show without showing us how to cook. I think it is awesome how things can be explained so in depth and still be discussed

lexi says:

I use hot sauce to dip my fries in, and I prefer those free hot sauces from the taco stands that populate all of our street corners here in san diego.

Brian says:

I'm still reeling from the fact that someone who prefers mayo over ketchup as a french fry dip has not been shipped to Guantanamo Bay.

Bill says:

Malt vinegar and Old Bay spice - either dipped in that order or both sprinkled on the fries in advance.

Sunnie says:

Tarah mentioned fry sauce, which is *the* staple in my hometown (Salt Lake City) -- so much so that McD's used to offer little single-sized tubs of it! Another restaurant, The Training Table, offered their twist on it: fry sauce made not with ketchup, but with a tangy hickory bbq sauce. Now THAT is good.Ranch dressing is also an occasional favorite of mine for fries, but I do have to agree with Mark: fries want mayo, end of story.

Stephanie says:

At home, I blend plain yellow mustard and ranch for dipping of all kinds--originally concocted for dipping chicken nuggets, it works well for fries, sandwiches, and veggies. When I'm out I generally opt for one or the other, or mayo if I'm in the mood.On a seasoned fry, however, bleu cheese is king.

cozmo buchar says:

I have to expand on Cathy's post. There is nothing better than tartar sauce for fries. You combine the fatty base of the mayo with pickles and the vinegary back end. There is nothing better. I am a little concerned that the podcast did not dive deep enough into this topic. We podcast listeners want the "news hour with Jim Lehrer" of bacchanalian gourmandism. Please use this as a lesson to stay away from the "cable news" of the ketchup-patriotism debate.

TheRVRD says:

RT: French fry dips; I've got two words. Ranch Dressing. Ranch dressing is the duct tape of food.

Christopher L. says:

I can't believe there isn't more support for Malt Vinegar. I discovered this by accident when eating at a fast food seafood restaurant. I've always liked it on their fish sticks, but when it got on my fries it immediately became my favorite. I know it's all in my head, but I imagine the vinegar dissolving the grease in the fries and making it less bad for my arteries.

Sporkboy says:

I have a great love of sporks so I when I found The Sporkful, I was pleased to find that it was just my type of show.On the topic of fry dips, the mayo/ketchup mixture is often referred to as fry sauce and it's available pre-mixed in many stores. I am a fan of plain yellow mustard with my fries. It tastes a lot like a corn dog dipped in mustard only without the pesky hot dog.Another option is a dry dip. I've seen people dip into a mixture of salt and pepper instead of sprinkling it over the fries. One could also dip into a wet dip and then dip into a dry dip though I've never seen this done. What say ye on this technique?

Amanda says:

I am pro-ketchup, but not your common ketchup. A tomato sauce sans hfcs and beef flavor can be a delightful dip for fries.If you're eating bbq, then bbq sauce is a natural choice to eat with the fries.I am anti mayo on my fries. I love mustard with my fries. Or vinegar. Yes, a gentile who gets teased for loving mustard so much...Many of my friends are pro-the milkshake fries thing. Especially from Wendy's.

Wayne Brekke says:

Actually, this topic truly depends on the type of french fry! thin, hand cut fries are to me, best left alone with liberal salt. thick, wedge fries have more girth and need acompanyment. and don't forget about my favorite fry-sauce...Ranch Dressing! Ice cream!? no thanks. Other favorites include a nice cheese sauce, Rooster hot sauce, or the ole velveta/chili combo...

Tarah Johnson says:

BTW if you mix mayo and ketchup together it makes the most amazing dip for french fries. You could also add a lil hot sauce to the mix if you're so inclined. AMAZING!

Todd Z says:

Gravy and cheese on fries is, of course, known as "poutine" across the Province of Quebec. It is delicious and greasy and is best used to plug the gaping hole in your stomach after too many Molsons.I agree with Mark, fries long for a luxurious mayonnaise bath. But fries are never TRULY pampered until they've had one dip in spicy brown mustard, followed by a RE-DIP in the mayo. This gives you a mayo coating with a tangy spicy center in your dip. Add the bonus of gradually introducing more and more mayo into your mustard reserves: by the end of your fries you can dip directly in the mixture for a coda of co-mingled combo dip. I have not dipped my fries in my shake, but I have dipped them in chocolate syrup, whipped cream, and grape jelly. The first two were both fantastic ideas, the last, not as much, but still worth trying, especially if you're into sweet breakfasts like blintzes. rock on sporkies!

The Sporkful says:

Gail, thanks so much. It's so great to hear from the BPP community. /mg

Gail says:

I just discovered The Sporkful and it is filling part of the gaping hole left in my heart after The BPP was cancelled. Thank you for doing this show. I love it.

Matt says:

Dan, I think you might be crazy... BBQ Sauce is most definitely both a dip and a condiment. I can dip anything in BBQ sauce (fries being number one on the list). I've also been known to dip tortilla chips, mozzarella sticks, and pretzels into BBQ sauce. Now I will issue the caveat that there are a good number of terrible BBQ sauces out there. But if you can find a good one (or if you're daring enough, make one), there is no better all-around staple to keep in your fridge!

The Sporkful says:

Tony/Cathy/Becky, I'm fully supportive of all those dips, though sadly it's been a while since I've had white gravy. David, your point is well taken. I tried to be careful in the show to point out that my objection is to ketchup as most people experience it: tomato, very sweetly, via Heinz, Hunt's. There is good homemade ketchup out there. /mg

David Wiley says:

I don't think it is possible to talk about ketchup or mayonnaise as without talking about different types. People readily accept that mustard comes in a wide variety of forms each with different uses. I prefer a mild yellow mustard as a condiment, but love to dip french fries and pretzels into a spicy brown or horseradish mustard. Ketchup is, at root, a seasoned pureed vegetable. Mushroom ketchup makes a lousy dip, but a fair condiment and an excellent tapenade. Even within the realm of tomato ketchup there are varieties that are sweeter or not so sweet, spicier and not so spicy. To simply write off all ketchup as not good for dipping might simply mean you haven't been exposed to the right one yet. Similarly mayonnaise comes in an unbelievable assortment of styles. A plain or toasted sesame mayo work well on a sandwich, but a chipotle or basil mayo practically beg to have something dipped in them.

Becky says:

White cream gravy is the best...like the kind you get from Dairy Queen when you order steak fingers. However, I am from Texas, so people not from the south may not know what I'm talking about.

Cathy Ehrler says:

You forgot to mention tartar sauce. It's the best! Especially with salty fries.

tonyhopedale says:

What about dipping in cheese? I hate cheese poured on my fries - because it makes some soggy and I too like crunchy to remain crunchy - but I love to dip fries into cheese, especially liquidy cheese that comes in a jar. Also, I love dipping steak fries in Au Jus - I always order fries with my prime rib and I love fries with my French Dip sandwich so I can dip the fries in the Au Jus. Love the show and really appreciate your practical approach to eating. AND I hate ketchup!