Friday, January 22, 2010

Grilled BBQ Chicken & Pan-Fried Sweet Potato Thick Chips

Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while (or are actually my friends in real life and have been here for dinner) know that I am more than a little obsessed with sweet potatoes. Not a week goes by that I don't include them in my dinner, and I am always trying to think up new ways to prepare them.

When I was a kid, my grandma used to occasionally cut potatoes about 1/4" thick and pan-fry them in a little vegetable oil. They'd get nice and brown and crispy around the edges and soft inside, like fries, only flatter. I have attempted to make an oven-baked version of those thin-cut potatoes (and sweet potatoes) and, well, it wasn't pretty. Tasty, but not pretty. I'll spare you those recipes, because they usually ended up being served as mashed potatoes (ha!) anyway.

This barbecue sauce recipe is just a basic idea, of course one can't always measure when throwing in a dash of this and a few shakes of that, but if you use this as a guideline you can adjust however you like and it'll still be barbecue sauce. If you don't like the idea of using ketchup, feel free to use plain tomato sauce and throw in some extra vinegar.
I like my bbq sauce dark and thick and sweet and a little spicy, specifically, I like it to taste like the so-called 'sweet' sauce at a Floridian BBQ chain called Sonny's - deep down we all love what we grew up with, right?

It's worth noting that this meal only cost like $5.ºº to make and we were stuffed.

Grilled BBQ Chicken

BBQ Sauce:
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 1/4 cup ketchup
1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tbsp mustard powder (or prepared mustard)
3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp molasses
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
pinch of allspice
2 chicken breasts with fat removed

Whisk together all ingredients (except the chicken, obviously) in a bowl or jar. Adjust seasonings as desired.

Pour half of the sauce into a medium bowl or wide shallow dish. Cover the chicken in sauce and let marinate for at least 30 minutes. Reserve the other half of the sauce for dipping or pouring later. Be sure not to let it come into contact with any raw chicken.

Heat a cast iron stovetop grill over medium-high heat and lightly oil. Place the chicken on it when a drop of water sprinkled on the grill sizzles like crazy. Flip the chicken with tongs after 8-10 minutes, and cook the other side another 8-10 minutes. Check for doneness before serving.

Pan-Fried Sweet Potato Chips

1 gigantic sweet potato
2-4 tbsp vegetable or peanut oil
1 tsp kosher or table salt

Peel the sweet potatoes and slice them about 1/8"-1/4" thick. (1/8" makes crunchy chips, 1/4" give you soft centers with crispy edges).
Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil. Place a layer of potatoes on the bottom, not overlapping. When they start to turn dark brown, flip them. Drain on paper towels while you cook the remaining batches, adding a tiny bit of oil if needed. As the last batch finishes, put all of them back in the pan to get hot again. Remove them onto paper towels and sprinkle generously with salt. It always takes more salt than I expect to get sweet potatoes nice and salty.

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