BBQ Tater Tots

Last summer, when I was visiting family in Kentucky, I went on a quick retreat with some old friends. We stayed in a cabin at Cumberland Falls, and for dinner, we drove to Corbin, KY and ate at a place called The Wrigley Taproom and Eatery.

Now, I grew up in that corner of the world (10 miles away in London, KY). That Corbin has anything resembling a “taproom” is beyond me. This was a dry county for my whole childhood, and remained that way until recently. Once I get passed the alcohol factor, I still remained skeptical that this town could produce a good restaurant featuring fresh, local ingredients and involving green vegetables.

I was wrong. This place was amazing.

It was one of those ‘can’t decide what to order because everything looks fantastic’ moments. In the end, we went with “give us one of everything on the appetizer menu,” because that is never the wrong answer.

It was a lovely evening, all around.

And maybe it was because I got a little queasy/carsick on the rid there, and something greasy always helps settle an uneasy stomach (no? just me?); or maybe it was because I was with good friends; but this one thing on the menu hit the spot for me: BBQ tater tots.

I am not, strictly speaking, a tater tot fan. But these were to die for.

And maybe it’s because I’m missing my friends right now; or maybe it’s because I gave up meat for Lent and “BBQ” anything sounds amazing; or maybe it’s because it’s March Madness and this is a great snack-dinner for watching sports; but I found myself craving these, 8+ months after that initial holy experience.

So tonight, on this Thursday evening of Spring Break, I whipped some up for dinner. I think I did a pretty good job of recreating the restaurant situation, but I added the black beans to make it less of a snack, and more of a meal. You’ll need:

1 bag frozen tater tots

chopped green onion

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup shredded cheddar or colby-jack cheese 

bottled barbecue sauce of your choice (we like Sweet Baby Ray’s original) 

sour cream for serving (also my touch) 

Spread frozen tots on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 425 for about 10 minutes. Remove from oven; scatter beans and onions, drizzle with sauce (to taste) and top with cheese. Bake an additional 10 or 15 minutes, until cheese is melted and tater tots are golden brown. Garnish with sour cream.

#Myweirdvegetariankid was iffy on the barbecue sauce factor. I think it makes her think of meat, which is an immediate turn-off for her. But for me, it was just the thing. A perfect snack or appetizer for game day, or a good light dinner when you just can’t even.

Know what would really put these over the top? Bacon.

I make a terrible vegetarian.

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