Sweet Potato Pups Are Doggone Good

A recipe for deep-fried sweet potatoes transforms humble root vegetables into something special.
Sweet Potato Pups

Sweet Potato Pups

©2013, Reprinted with permission from the publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, from Southern Fried by James Villas. Photography by Jason Wyche

2013, Reprinted with permission from the publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, from Southern Fried by James Villas. Photography by Jason Wyche

Sweet Potato Pups

Makes 6 servings

Southern fried sweet potatoes have been around for at least 200 years, and if you think you love ordinary French fries, wait till you taste these crispy, succulent, deep-fried pups sprinkled either with salt or brown sugar (depending on when they’re served). Some cooks like to briefly parboil their strips before frying them, and while the technique does produce lighter pups, I personally think it leaches out some of the distinctive flavor. Sweet potatoes tend to bubble up more than white ones while frying, so do watch them carefully. Since fried sweet potatoes also become soggy very quickly, serve them as soon as possible.—James Villas

  • 2 pounds (3 or 4) sweet potatoes
  • Lard for deep frying
  • 2 tablespoons bacon grease
  • Salt or light brown sugar to taste

With a sharp knife, peel the potatoes and slice them into strips about 2 inches long and 1⁄2 inch thick (or into 1⁄4-inch-thick rounds). Separate the slices and allow them to air-dry for several minutes.

In a deep fryer or deep cast-iron skillet, melt about 11⁄2 inches of lard to 365°F on a deep-fat thermometer and add the bacon grease. Plunge the potatoes into the fat in batches and, stirring frequently, fry till golden brown and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain on paper towels, sprinkle with salt or brown sugar, and serve as soon as possible.

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