Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Tater Patch (Tater Tot Nachos)

Warning:  This game day snack has little to no nutritional value, is lowbrow, and is a culinary atrocity - but dang it's good.

tater tot nachos, tatchos

The idea for this dish came from a hilarious incident that happened at the Kingsford Invitational in November.

While at the hotel in Rolla, MO, the group of us were making plans for after dinner that evening.  The desk clerk told us about a bar called "The Tater Patch" that was "just across the street".   We decided that The Tater Patch was our evening destination.  

We all got back on the bus to head back to the isolated contest site miles away in the middle of nowhere.  We ended up lost on a dirt road.  About a half mile or so down the dark deserted road, there was a single trailer and the driver had to do a 17 point turn in their yard.  The whole time, Brad Orrison (The Shed BBQ), was a laugh riot.  He kept joking about The Tater Patch in an exaggerated Southern drawl.  Brad encouraged the driver to hurry up because he heard banjo music.  By the time the bus actually got turned around, I was almost in tears from laughing so hard at the stuff Brad was coming up with.  

We finally made it safely to the contest site for dinner and then back to the hotel.  As we were gathering in the lobby to head to the bar, Chris Lilly (Big Bob Gibson's BBQ) was checking in to the hotel and I asked him if he was going to join us. 

A local girl in the lobby overheard where we were planning on going and interjected, "Oh no, you're not going there.  They're kind of like motorcycle gangs and would make trouble with outsiders.  They like girls though, so she (gesturing at Robyn GrillGrrrl Meddlin-Lindars) would be okay."  [I SWEAR this is an exact quote, I am not embellishing this at all.]

"What did she say?" someone in our group asked and Chris Lilly paraphrased, "She said if we go there we're gonna die!"

Turns out it wasn't "just across the highway" either, it was a mile or so away and none of us had vehicles.  Greg Rempe (BBQ Central Radio Show) summed it up best, "I'm not walking a mile and a half to get punched in the face, I can do that here!"

So we ended up not going to The Tater Patch out of an abundance of caution and laziness.  But that night I decided I was going to make a dish called The Tater Patch as a tribute to the fun and chaos that we had.

Edit:  If you check out the comments section, you will see several folks that have chimed in that The Tater Patch was gravely misrepresented by the person that warned us away from there.  Sounds like the only "troublemakers" there are folks just like us having fun and we missed out on a good time.  They advise that it is nothing like the second girl working at the hotel said.  So next time we'll make sure to check it out like we originally intended.

The idea I had was a "nacho" dish made with tater tots and some leftover smoked chopped pork.  A hot mess, just in time for the upcoming big game.

tater tot nachos, tatchos, game day food, recipe

Here is The Tater Patch from the bottom up
  • Ore Ida Crispy Crowns (kind of like tater tots, but smaller and more crispy crust than soft insides)
  • shredded pepper jack cheese
  • smoked chopped pork
  • shredded lettuce
  • cooked chili or pinto beans
  • diced tomato
  • diced red onion
  • black olives
  • diced fire roasted jalapeno
  • shredded colby jack cheese
  • chopped cilantro
  • The Shed Spread bbq sauce
  • fire roasted chile ranch dressing
  • sliced green onion
fire roasting chile peppers on big green egg kamado grill craycort grate
Fire roasted chiles - the best aroma ever!

Cooking the crispy crowns or tater tots on a raised rack ensures even crisping without bothering to flip them.  I seasoned them with bbq rub as they came out.

Whether for burgers or nachos, always season your lettuce with salt and pepper.  It makes a difference.

tater tot nachos, tatchos, game day food, recipe

You'll want a fork to devour these.  Obviously, you don't want to eat like this once a week, or once a month for that matter but a couple times a year won't be the end of the world. 

The fire roasted chile ranch dressing was something that I just threw together for this but I will absolutely be making this for salads, wings, and burgers.  

Fire Roasted Chile Ranch Dressing

Fire Roasted Chile Ranch Dressing

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 1/4 cups mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup Greek no fat yogurt
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 2 Tbsp fire roasted green chiles, peeled, seeded, and finely diced
  • 1 Tbsp fire roasted sweet red pepper, peeled, seeded, and finely diced
  • 1 Tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp dill
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flake
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp minced dried onion
  • 1/4 tsp dried chives, crumbled
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Fire roast your chiles and bell peppers over a hot fire until charred on all sides. Remove and place in a bowl covered with Glad wrap for 5 minutes. Split open, remove the seeds and scrape off the charred peel, then dice. I used Anaheim chile for a mild heat. If you want spicier, use jalapeno, serrano, or even some habanero chiles. Yes, you can use green chiles from a can but doing them yourself gives an unbeatable flavor.
  2. Whisk all ingredients together and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  3. Note: For a thicker ranch dip, add more yogurt.
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Speaking of The Shed and their sauces, Brad's dad, Craig aka "Daddy-O" is heading up the launch of The Saucery.  
Craig Orrison and me at Anheuser-Busch in St. Louis having breakfast beers.  Photo credit:  Robyn Meddlin-Lindars
Soon, The Saucery will be getting The Shed's famous bbq sauces on retail shelves near you.  Be on the lookout.  

[Standard disclaimer]  I received no compensation from The Shed for this post.  I'm just spreading the news about the spread of The Shed Spread.