For me, there is perhaps no more compelling snack than barbecue flavored potato chips. After polishing off a bag by myself, I never hesitate to rip the bag open by its seam, and, well, lick the insides clean of whatever chip bits or faux barbecue powder remains.
"It makes my beer taste better," I'll say to my wife, who watches in horror as I pull the mangled bag from my face.
After one too many of these scenarios, I decided to spare my wife from any more of my barbarics and ventured to make my own chips at home—that, and my wife stopped buying bags of chips for me.
For my homemade version, I opted to use sweet potatoes because when fried in hot oil, the sweetness in sweet potatoes concentrates and results in a tastier chip than regular russets, in my opinion. As for the barbecue flavor, I wanted to coat the chips in a zesty spice mix, but I also wanted to keep things simple. A sprinkling of salt, cayenne, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and sweet paprika made for a great barbecue combination that didn't overpower or mask the sweetness of the fried sweet potatoes. Although I still find myself licking the spice from my fingers after enjoying these sweet, zesty, and crispy chips, my wife seems to be okay with that.
Slice the sweet potatoes as thinly as possible to decrease fry time and increase crispness. Slicing the sweet potatoes with a mandoline makes for wafer-thin and uniform rounds. But you can also use a chef's knife to slice the potatoes.
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
- Canola, vegetable, or peanut oil, for frying (About 1 quart)
- 1 large sweet potato (about 1 pound), very thinly sliced on a mandoline
Combine the spices in a small bowl and set aside. Pour one inch of oil into a large dutch oven or heavy pot over moderately high heat. Heat the oil until it reaches 375°F on a deep-fry thermometer. Adjust flame to maintain temperature.
Working in batches, place the sweet potatoes in the hot oil, occasionally flipping and moving the slices with a slotted spoon or a wire mesh spder. Fry the potatoes until the edges curl and the potatoes become golden brown and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes total. Transfer the fried potatoes to a baking sheet lined with paper towels and immediately sprinkle with some of the spice mix.
When all of the chips are fried, transfer them to a large bowl or serving platter and sprinkle on any remaining spice mix. Serve immediately.