Tater Tots - best way to cook

I love the ingenuity of using left over bits to make a useful product. :smiley:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tater_Tots
I only like my Tater Tots when they are crispy. I have trouble getting them crispy in the oven.

First the poll. Next, any suggestions for cooking tater tots?

Once in awhile tots can get this rank, off taste. Any ideas why? I usually buy a whole new bag and throw out the old. Even at Sonic sometimes their Tots have that nasty, off taste.

I cook mine in the oven because I don’t have a fryer, but deep fryer is easily the best way.

In a home cooking situation, I’ve only ever had them in casseroles, or rather, a single type of casserole (beef, onions, green beans, mushroom soup, tater tots).

I’ve never had any trouble getting them crispy in the oven, and its much less of a hassle then deep-frying. Probably healthier too.

Last week we only had a little more than a handful of tots left over from the previous day so I crumbled them into a skillet with onion and seasoning (and a tiny bit of oil) and fried them up for hash browns. Delicious.

Oven. If you’re having trouble getting them crispy, cook at 25-50 degrees higher than the package says and leave them in a few minutes longer.

This. The extra heat and time gets them nice and crispy.

Top rack, broiler. BUT -
I don’t want to threadshit, but I worked in a factory that made Tater Tots, as well as french fries and instant mashed potatoes. They are not the ‘leftover slivers of cut-up potatoes’; they are the sections of potatoes that rotted in storage that hadn’t rotted yet. The bleach and hot water used to remove the peel takes most of the rot away, the rest is cut off by a room full of workers spotting the black bits of rot and slicing them off by hand. I have not eaten one since 1981, and there is nothing would induce me to eat one now.

You want latkes, I’ll make you latkes. Tater tots, no thanks.

Now I know why a few tots have that rank taste. Every once in while I’ll bite into a funky one.

Food prep in factories is never pretty. Some things are best left unknown. Otherwise I’d never eat processed lunch meat or sausage. :wink:

Grill. I’m not kidding. Sometimes in the summer when we’re grilling meat, I’ll throw half a package of tater tots onto the grill as well. It’s basically like doing them in the oven except they get that nice charcoal flavor. (I guess it would work fine on a gas grill too.)

Yeah, my sister-in-law worked at an Oscar Meyer plant in college and hasn’t eaten a hot dog in 20 years now. :frowning:

Ditto. Because I like them crispy, I leave them in the oven for at least 5 minutes longer than the directions recommend, which helps a bit.

There’s a place around here that fries them in duck fat, which seems like the waste of a lot of good duck fat. Never much liked the things, myself.

So tell us about the French fries and instant mashed potatoes.

We just nuke them for ~5 minutes. Works best with the Crispy Crowns.

I didn’t know people did deep-fry these – I’m on my way, seriously to the liquor store in a minute, and will pick up some tots next door just for fun. Nice.

Is there a potato product that is not or cannot be fried?

They don’t need to be fried because they are coated in oil before they’re frozen, (atleast the Ore-Ida ones are). the oil helps them to get crispy in the oven.

Deep fried in butter?

The French fries weren’t bad - this plant supplied McDonald’s with their fries for all of Western Canada. In addition, they had their own lines of frozen fries (which were better, in my opinion - the McDonald’s fries are too thin, and taste mostly like salt and beef tallow. There’s about 5 minutes in which McDonald’s fries are okay because they’re hot and crispy - after that, when they’re cold and soggy from grease, they have no appeal to me. Give me a nice wide ‘beefeater’ style chip any day…). The potatoes selected for the fries tended to be full sized and in pretty good condition.

For the instant mashed potatoes, it’s the same problem as the tater tots. Some of what went in there was genuinely what they cleaned off the blades of the slicing machines, but most of it was the tiniest core scraps of potato that had rotted to something the size of your little finger. These were mashed to a pulp, boiled for 5 - 10 minutes and then run through what was basically a large dryer.

I remember cleaning one of those suckers on a maintenance day, and blowing out all the ‘socks’ where the pulp got pumped in and dried took the better part of my shift. When I was finished, I was covered, head to toe, in potato flour. I stepped out the door, only to be hit with a blast of hot water from the guy cleaning the outside of the oven, above me. I was instantly turned to a walking papier mache monster. That’s when I found out that the showers were being fixed, and my only choice to wash off was to lie down in one of those industrial circular sinks with a wrench jammed into the pedal to keep the water going. Not a day I would care to relive…

I voted other, as in - OMG, is that the best you can do? Tater Tots?

Why don’t you throw some fish stcks and corn dogs on the menu as well :dubious: