I’ve never been a huge chip fan. I don’t mind a few here or there, but let’s be honest—if there are empty calories to splurge on at a family reunion or neighborhood potluck, you better believe I'll be saving them for the gooey chocolate sheet cake at the end of the buffet.
That being said, after spending many weeks living with my sister and her family (read: stopping by daily after yoga teacher training begging for sustenance) last summer, I apparently caught her husband’s chip-loving bug. It wasn’t until the last week when the weather turned gorgeous and smelled like summer (thank you fresh cut grass!) that I have found myself craving the crunchy, salty-sweetness of good barbecue chips.
I have long had a bone to pick with sweet potato fries. Too limp. Not enough crunch. Any attempt to dip these fragile beauties inevitably ends in the kind of sauced mashed potato fit only for a determined spoon.
For even longer, I have had a love affair with my food processor, which started after a mountain of zucchini reduced my first model to melted plastic and me to tears. Catch that moment here. Anyway, all of this is building to my saying I don’t know what in the world took me so long to convert to chips. Good heavens, the celebration of texture and deepened flavor we could have been enjoying these many years!
This spice blend is our go-to for taco night (a weekly-and-sometimes-more occurrence here), and somehow, by a miracle, was positively made for dusting chips with BBQ goodness. Be as liberal or minimalist as you feel inclined, and store the rest in the cupboard for a later fiesta.
Baked BBQ Sweet Potato Chips
3 lbs small sweet potatoes, scrubbed, ends trimmed
3-4 Tbs. avocado oil
2-3 Tbs clean taco spice blend (recipe below)
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place one rack in the upper third, and one in the lower third of the oven.
Using a food processor fitted with the slicing attachment, cut the potatoes into 1/8” rounds. Divide the sliced potatoes between two rimmed baking sheets lined with silicone mats.
Drizzle each pan with enough avocado oil to lightly coat, tossing by hands. Spread the potatoes into an even layer across each pan and sprinkle with a little salt, about 2 teaspoons per pan.
Place the pans into the oven and roast 15-20 minutes. Rotate the pans from top to bottom and front to back; no need to turn the potatoes at this point as they are still soft. Roast another 15-20 minutes, again rotating the pans front to back and top to bottom. At this point go ahead and turn the potatoes over using a metal spatula or tongs. Continue baking 10 to 15 minutes more, watching to avoid burning around the edges of the pan.
When the chips are nicely browned around the edges (you may have to remove a few those last ten minutes to keep them from burning while the others caramelize), remove the pans from the oven and place on the stove. Some of the chips may still feel soft at this point, but give them a few minutes sitting over the warm oven to dry out slightly.
While still warm, dust each pan generously with the taco blend, waiting until completely cooled to toss and remove from the pan.
Clean Taco Spice Blend
Since we are big-time tex-mex fans around here, I usually triple this batch. It’s the perfect quick-to-check-off item to add to your weekly food prep list that pays off when you’re in a hurry.
¼ cup chili powder
1 tsp granulated garlic
1 tsp onion powder
½ -1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp smoked paprika
4 tsp kosher salt
3 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Place all the ingredients in a small jar or other airtight container, secure the lid and shake well to combine. Store the blend in a cool dark space for up to 3 months.