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. 


  1. OMG, I had tater tot nachos once, and they were fabulous - cheap 'n' sleazy, but fabulous. Your version, though, has elevated the dish beyond mere "bar food." These look amazing, and would be ideal for the game!

  2. This is an excellent game night snack. Don't care much for the nutrional value coz it's game night!

  3. I have it on good authority that happiness is itself a measure of nutritional value.

  4. That's a pretty dire warning! ha ha ha...

    But I need these in my life, I love low-class food.

  5. LOL.. great story!!! I needed that laugh!!
    I'm diggin' these nachos... there is a bar here that we go to after work sometimes and they serve Totcho's... tater tot nachos.... but there's are covered in jalapenos!!!

  6. LOWBROW???? I think its pretty amazing. I just read that tatertots are making a comeback!

  7. That sounds like an awesomely crazy night. The kind of night that you always wish ends up with a plate of these in front of you. They may be nutritionally devoid but I'd take them over regular nachos any day!

  8. What do you mean no nutritional value--I see green on top! ;)

  9. Oh my...what a story. I'm so glad that the Tater Patch inspired you to make these nachos though because DANG do they look good!! Pure indulgence and worth every bite.

  10. As someone who was part of the Tater Patch Experience, let me just say that there is no group I'd rather be stuck on a tour bus in the boondocks all weekend than you and the Shed crew and our BBQ peeps like John Dawson and Greg Rempe. I'm really happy we didn't do the taterpatch because we might not have made it back alive, at least not with Greg in tow! I love that you made nachos with tater tots. Once I made tater tots to go with pulled pork sliders and Scott said that tater tots were so "redneck" and he couldn't believe I was serving them. Let me just say that everyone went ga-ga over them because Tater Tots are the bees knees! He's never criticized tater tots since!

  11. Oh my gosh...this story is so funny! I seriously laughed so hard reading it! I'm glad you and the group decided NOT to go to the Tater Patch. My Superbowl menu is plaaned, but I think this "hot mess" needs to be added to my menu! Go Ravens!

    Kim in MD

  12. Culinary Atrocity is my middle name. Bring on the tots and the breakfast beet. I think low brow is the new high brow, GREG

  13. holy cow, if this is your idea of low brow eating, i'd say you're doing okay. it's still a gorgeous dish of goodness! these sound like so much fun to make and eat.

  14. I saw that photo and it took me back to my college days. I lived on hot messes like that and enjoyed every meal (The food instantly gets better when you gotta start paying for it). Someone toss me a beer!

  15. The last four words in your warning are all that matter me - this creation looks awesome and the dressing sounds delicious. There's nothing like a good laugh to cure everything.

  16. drink breakfast beer, laugh in the face of certain death and in the "diet month" you give us a lethal recipe that is sure to put back on the two pounds the last four weeks have taken to lose...all you need now is a cape, you're some kind of super hero for sure!

  17. Who needs a fork, where's my funnel?

  18. I am totally going to steal this recipe Chris. Well by steal, I mean I am going to make it for superbowl and give you credit. Haha. Thanks for the great idea.

  19. Have had trouble finding the Crispy Crowns. We eat pulled pork over tater tots all the time, but it looks like I'll have to bump it up a couple notches.

  20. Awesome story! What a plateful of deliciousness. Healthy? No. Tasty? YES!

  21. Sounds wonderful. I can't wait to try this one.

  22. That is one of the most delicious hot messes I've ever laid eyes on! I'm so glad you didn't go to the Tater Patch! Scary.

  23. Tater tot nachos AND breakfast beer - life is good! :)

  24. lol I'm glad you didn't die or get punched in the face by the crazy motorcycle gang! Definitely not worth walking a mile for. I used to not like tater tots, they remind me of nasty school cafeteria food, but how could I not like them smothered in all that DELICIOUS mess??? :)

  25. Omg!! I work at the Tater Patch and we are nothing like that! Just a friendly little Ma & Pop place. Sure we have bikers, but they are the nicest people you would ever meet. We also have doctors and Lawyers who come in. People from all walks of life. We are very well known to travelers who stop in every time they come through Rolla. Sorry we didn't get to meet your group. You sound like the kind of folks we If you ever come to these parts again, stop and see us. We would love to have ya.

  26. NOT true! That so called "local" girl, wasn't, had an agenda, or had never been to "Joe & Linda's Tater Patch" in Rolla, MO. It is not now nor has it EVER been a "biker" bar! Do motorcyclist's stop there? Yes, from ALL over the country. So do many of the students from the University of Science & Technology. As well as the "locals" who have been born & raised there, be they farmers, ranchers, car salesmen, bankers, nurses, store clerks or whatever. AND there are taxi's too! I have had two generations of family who've worked there & have been gong there for more than 20 years. NO FIGHTING ALLOWED. So before you PUT DOWN a place you've never even seen on the word of one ignorant girl, check the facts. They are a very friendly, awesome group of people. Next time your in town, call them, they'll probably pick you up. And I'll buy the first round!

  27. Well I for one and sad that you "didn't" get to experience The Tater Patch! Had you gone you would have found that they are some of the best people around Rolla, MO. Joe and his bunch (bartenders, servers, etc.) are some of the best around. Not only do they have good service but some of the best food around town with reasonable prices and enormous servings! I challenge you to go away hungry! So if you ever get back this way, and we hope you do, give them a chance and ask for Penny the bartender. Tell her Sharan sent ya!

  28. Next time just call us at the TATER PATCH we might even PICK u up!!!! ;)

  29. FYI.....on FB & web site: :)


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