Pulled Pork Sweet Potato Skins Are the Ultimate Super Bowl Snack

pulled pork sweet potato skins
Josh Scherer/Thrillist

The potato skin is a mainstay in America's game-day food canon for a reason. It follows a beautiful mathematical equation: fried starch, plus salty pork products, plus cheese, equals the perfect beer accoutrement. It's just a bonus that you can slam them back mindlessly with one hand, leaving your dominant hand to violently gesture at the TV when the ref misses a holding call. And you know he did it intentionally because Roger Goodell personally rigs every game, god dammit!

Anyways, conspiracy theories (that are totally accurate) aside, I'm just saying that while, yes it's good to change things up, you shouldn't change things up too much with the potato skin. Just alter the ingredients in the equation a little bit. Swap your normal potato out with a more flavorful sweet potato, sub out bacon bits for a massive pile of tender pulled pork, and then cover it in cheese and additional crispy onion bits to tie the whole motif together. Stick to the formula and you'll be alright.

Now that you've kept the ingredients simple, here comes the hard part -- getting the sweet potato to be actually crispy. Anyone who claims they have the perfect trick for making crunchy sweet potato fries is a goddamn liar. I'm convinced it's impossible. The high sugar and moisture content in the root vegetable makes them turn burnt and soggy immediately in hot oil. That's why, for this recipe, we're going to cheat nature a bit.

By first fully cooking the sweet potatoes in the oven, then hollowing them out, dredging them in flour, and finally blasting them in a fryer at a high temp, you're creating a sort of artificial crispness. The oil is going to bind with the flour and create a crispy seal around the potato. There's no shame in taking the cheater's way out!

It usually pisses me off when people just throw a giant hunk of pig in a slow cooker with some BBQ sauce and try and pass it off as a legit substitute for slow-smoked pork. But, for convenience sake, that's exactly what I'm going to do. Well, kinda. There's no pretense here that this is real barbecue. But when you're shoving that pulled pork into a deep-fried sweet potato and covering it in cheese, onions, and jalapeños, you can take some shortcuts. Make your life easier and your path to pork-stuffed sweet potato skins faster.

pulled pork skins
Josh Scherer/Thrillist

BBQ Pulled Pork Sweet Potato Skins

Total Time: 5 hours, Active Time: 45 minutes
Yield: 4

  • 3 pounds pork shoulder
  • ½ cup Cajun seasoning
  • 12 ounces beer (a blonde ale ideally)
  • 2 cups pre-made BBQ sauce
  • 4 large sweet potatoes
  • 1 quart vegetable oil
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ white onion, sliced into thin rings
  • 1 cup shredded Jack cheese
  • Pickled jalapeños and scallions to garnish
  • Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Rub the pork shoulder with the Cajun seasoning, pop it in a deep casserole dish, and pour the beer over it. Cover it tightly with foil, and let it roast for 4 hours. You can also do this in a slow cooker if you want. (Or you can buy pre-made BBQ pulled pork if you're feeling extra lazy.) When the pork is cooked, shred it, and mix with your BBQ sauce.
  • Prick each sweet potato with a fork and then wrap tightly in foil. Then throw them on a baking sheet and place in the oven for an hour until cooked through. Slice each potato in half lengthwise and scoop out approximately half of the flesh.
  • Heat the vegetable oil in a deep sauce pot until it reaches 375 degrees. Put the flour in a large bowl. Dredge each hollowed-out potato skin in the flour until evenly coated. Drop into the oil and fry for about 1 minute each until crispy, then let drain on a bed of paper towels. When the sweet potatoes are done frying, dredge the onion slices in flour and fry them, in batches, for 30 seconds, until golden brown. Let the onions drain on a paper towel too.
  • Crank the oven to 450 degrees. Throw the sweet potato skins on a large baking sheet, stuff them to the brim and beyond with pulled pork. Distribute the Jack cheese evenly across the top of each potato. Bake for 10 minutes, until cheese is melty. Top with crispy onions, pickled jalapeños, sliced scallions, and a heavy drizzle of BBQ sauce, because there is no such thing as too much BBQ sauce.

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Josh Scherer is the author of the forthcoming cookbook, Culinary Bro-Down: Recipes for a Dope-Ass Life. He thinks Taco Bell is the greatest restaurant the world has ever known. Follow him @culinarybrodown