This dirty dish was inspired by a visit to the Somewhere Cafe on Turks & Caicos.
When we got to the beach side restaurant, we were famished. We had been shopping, sunning, swimming—you know, exhausting vacation stuff. Our adorable waiter recommended the Dirty Fries—fries piled high with layers of cheese and pulled pork and then slathered in barbeque sauce. I remember how we ooohed and aaahed with every bite we took. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about them ever since!
Although TCI is north of the Caribbean Sea, I suppose I could refer to these fries as Caribbean poutine. They are not exactly like the poutines that originated in Canada, which are fries with cheese curd and gravy. These have pulled pork and barbeque sauce. But close enough, right?
Barbeque started in the Caribbean, so Caribbean Poutine it is.
According to todayifoundout.com, the word barbecue comes from the Caribbean word “barbacoa,” the name of a wooden structure used by Taino Indians to smoke their food. So this poutine, with tots and cheddar and barbeque sauce, is merely a regional variation of its French relative.
I told a coworker that I was blogging about fries smothered under loads of barbeque and cheese.
“Oh, you mean dirty fries.
“Well, yes. How did you know?”
“Um, how do you not know?” she said with her sassy little 25-year-old voice. She rolled her eyes and walked away.
How do I not know about dirty fries, Brittany? I’ll tell you, Brittany. It’s because I usually avoid the F-word, Brittany. (Calm down. By F-word I mean fried.)
But apparently I have been living under a rock. When I Googled dirty fries, I was mocked by 26,700,000 results that laughed at my naiveté. Seriously. Apparently lots of people have had this intel for quite some time.
I quickly forgot about Google’s scornful sneer when I saw how clever people were with their fries (or tots, as in totchos—tots + nachos). People nowadays are putting EVERYTHING on fries! I had to call my TCI travel buddies.
“Duh. How did you not know that?”
Chastised yet again.
Since the man was out of town, I cooked up this naughty Caribbean poutine dish for myself to eat during the other F-word.
I mean fourth meal. (What were you thinking?)
I used pulled pork I had leftover from last night’s cocktail party and slathered it with Bobby Flay’s Chipotle-Molasses BBQ Sauce which has a nice heat to it.
This was yesterday’s pulled pork, so it was thirsty. It eagerly soaked up the sauce.
If the man were here, he would opt for the recipe with 2C pork and 2C sauce, whereas I would opt for 1C, 1C. But you do you. (Does it really matter as long as they make your tummy sing?)
That is why the recipe says 1-1½ cups of sauce. It is –ish. It also depends on how loaded you want your fries to be.
Please pinky-promise you will grate your own cheese. The pre-grated cheese simply won’t do the job.
A full recipe is plenty to share.
I also recollect how well those fries paired with the local TCI lager, I-AIN-GA-LIE, from Turks Head Brewery Mmm, mmm, MMM!
I am already thinking about variations on this uber-satisfying snack. NEXT TIME I am going to substitute fresh red onion or scallions for the sauteed yellow onion. I may also top the fries with a generous dollop of sour cream and maybe substitute sweet potato fries for the tots. According to Google, the options are endless!
Let me know if you try this recipe and any variations you make or beverages that pair well. Tag your photos #nakedepicurean. I am always looking for opportunities to #eatdrinkbemerryrepeat!
Dirty Tots (aka Caribbean Poutine)
- 2ish cups pulled pork
- 1-1½ish cups chipotle-molasses bbq sauce
- 1 lb bag of frozen tater tots
- ½ onion, finely diced
- ½ green bell pepper, finely diced
- 1 cup of freshly shredded Cheddar cheese
- 1 cup of freshly shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1-2ish fresh jalapenos, thinly sliced
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spread tots in one layer on a cookie sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
- Lightly saute onion and peppers in butter in a large pan (or pot) until they become soft and transparent.
- Add barbeque sauce to pan and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes.
- Add pork to sauce.
- In a service skillet or on a metal dish, layer half of the tots, half of the pork, half of the cheese; repeat with the remaining tots, pork, cheese. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted.
- Top with sliced jalapenos.
- Wash them down with a cold lager.