Friday, June 24, 2011

Just Like Jojos

What better side dish to accompany my Pulled Pork Sandwiches and Garlicky Grilled Corn on the Cob than Jojo potatoes? Nothing, that's what.

If you don't know what Jojo potatoes are, you are sorely missing out. And if you Google them, all you'll come up with are seasoned wedges of potatoes. The Jojos I'm talking about can be found at Roscoe's Root Beer and Ribs in Rochester. They are sliced potatoes (not too thick, but not as thin as a potato chip) that are fried and then, if you want, slathered with BBQ sauce and smoked meat. Last year Roscoe's opened up a second location and they did not offer Jojos right away. I know people who did not even think about going to the second location, even when the main Roscoe's location closed down for the winter, because of that. Luckily, they saw the error of their ways and are back to selling the fried potato slices that everyone loves.

But here's quick and easy way to make them at home! They're not quite the same (the Roscoe's jojos are twice-fried, so you won't be waiting the whole 15 minutes for a whole batch to cook) but they are still pretty dang awesome.

The recipe starts out with potatoes and a mandoline slicer. If you don't own a mandoline, but are good with your knife, then slicing them up might be your way to go.

Your potato slices should be about a quarter-inch thick, or maybe a little thinner. Like I mentioned before, thicker than a potato chip but not much. Maybe double the thickness?
The thickness is so they'll be crisp on the outside but soft and potato-y on the inside. And if you slice them too thin, they'll cook all the way through. Not that there's anything wrong with homemade potato chips, they're awesome too. It's just not what we're after today.
Toss the potato slices in some cold water if you've sliced more than a batch's worth, to keep them from turning brown.

Now grab a large pot and some vegetable oil. I like to use a natural blend oil--I find that all vegetable oil has a very distinct taste. My favorite frying oil is peanut oil, but it runs on the pricier side and I'm usually just too cheap to go fot it unless there's a sale.

Heat the oil over medium heat. I'm sorry, I didn't take the oil's temp, but when you can put in a potato piece and have it bubble right back up to the top (and the oil will make that delightful popping noise), you'll know that it's ready.

One thing that's important to frying is not to overcrowd the pot. I believe I used a 10 qt. pot, and I filled it about three inches deep with oil. (That's another thing--oil bubbles up during frying, so don't fill the pot up past about 3/4 of the way to the top, or you'll have a hot, oily, dangerous mess on your hands.) I fried about one large potato's worth with each batch. Since the goal for these potatoes is to cook them all the way through, not fry them into chips, the crowding issue is less important, but if you add too many potatoes, they'll have to cook for a long time and will come out greasy.

Fry your potato slices for 15 minutes, or until lightly golden brown and cooked all the way through.

Stir them occasionally to keep them from sticking together, and flip them over about halfway through.

Once they're done, take them out and let them drain on a paper towel and/or newspaper lined plate.

And don't forget to season them! I just used salt, but seasoned salt or your favorite dry rub (how about the dry rub from Dry Rubbed BBQ Chicken?) is really good on them too. Be sure to season them while they're fresh out of the fryer--the seasoning will stick better.

Serve them while they're hot! Top them with your favorite BBQ sauce, or serve them instead of chips or fries alongside your favorite summer sandwich.

Recipe: Just Like Jojos

potatoes, sliced 1/4" thick or a little thinner
oil, for frying

Slice potatoes with a mandoline or a chef knife. Soak in cold water to prevent browning, if not frying all at once.

Heat oil over medium heat. Test temperature by adding a small piece of potato. If the potato floats to the top and the oil bubbles vigorously, it's hot enough. Fry potato slices for ~15 minutes, stirring occasionally and flipping halfway through. Potatoes are done when cooked through and light golden brown on the outside.

Allow potatoes to drain on a paper towel or newspaper-lined paper. Salt and serve immediately.

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