We all need sides to go with our mains, otherwise no one would’ve invented side trays for barbecues. You could opt for chicken wings, some grilled corn on the cob or maybe the nation’s favourite… chips! You can’t say fish without chips, and a burger without chips certainly isn’t as fun either.
With that in mind, let’s look at some different kinds of chips, as well as some potato facts that might get you inspired to serve some up at your next barbecue. Your vegetarian and vegan friends will thank you!
The Council Formerly Known as Potatoes
AHDB Potatoes, previously known as the Potato Council, are a trade organisation that aim to promote and further develop the potato industry in Great Britain. Founded independently in 1997 and now part of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) since the 1st of April 2008.
Though the name “Potato Council” might sound like some sort of April Fool’s joke, their mission is actually quite admirable – after all, potatoes are both incredibly nutritious and versatile.
Spud Fit – The All-Potato Diet
Potatoes have even gone so far as to inspire one Australian man to create “Spud Fit”, a diet where he vowed to only eat potatoes and nothing else for an entire year. Whilst it did help the man lose 117 lbs, there are better and more balanced ways to do this. Potatoes and chips should be enjoyed alongside something else, as they don’t contain that much protein, have no fat and are missing other vital vitamins and minerals.
National Chip Week
Going back to AHDB Potatoes, the organisation has tried to introduce a “National Chip Week” to take place in the last week of February. As one of the former Potato Council’s biggest annual awareness campaigns, it aims to promote the benefits, whilst dispelling the myths, of eating chips as part of a balanced diet. It also inspired this blog post!
The campaign introduced the “Choice Chip” Awards, which rewarded the best quality chips served by pubs, restaurants and fish and chip shops across the country whilst also promoting their suppliers and processors.
Speaking of fish and chips, National Fish and Chip Day will land on Friday 27th May in 2022, so you have an excuse to either pop down to your local takeaway or, if the spring weather is kind to us this year, you could bring out the barbecue and even grill some fish for a healthy alternative.
As mentioned before, potatoes (in their natural form) have various nutritional benefits such as:
- Naturally gluten-free
- They are, on average, only 110 calories
- No fat, sodium or cholesterol
- 30% of your daily Vitamin C (which helps collagen production for muscle tissue and iron absorption)
- More potassium (15%) than a banana (10%), potassium is an electrolyte for muscle function that is lost in sweat, so needs replenishing for optimal performance in sports
- Good source of vitamin B6 for carbohydrate and protein metabolism, as well as fiber, magnesium and antioxidants
- Contain 26 grams of energy yielding carbohydrates (9% of the recommended daily value)
Of course, depending on how potatoes are prepared (for example, served as French fries) and what you add to them (seasoning, cheese, etc.), these nutritional values will change.
In the same family we also have the sweet potato, which has similar nutritional values apart from a few key differences:
- Slightly less calories (100 vs a regular potato’s 110)
- More sugar (7 grams vs 1 gram)
- Slightly less potassium, carbs, protein, vitamin C and vitamin B6, but a bit more fiber
- 120% of your daily value of vitamin A (regular potatoes have none)
Sweet potatoes are a delicious alternative to regular potatoes but may not be right for you if you’re trying to cut back on sugar. Having too much vitamin A over a long period can also lead to hair loss, dry skin and lips, as well as liver damage, plus birth defects in a fetus if you’re pregnant. But this is only if you have a lot of high vitamin A containing foods constantly.
For an occasional barbecue treat that uses sweet potatoes try this recipe for BBQ sweet potatoes with sour cream, bacon and caramelised pecans.
Potato and Chip Versatility
Now we’ve talked about the nutritional benefits of potatoes in their purest form, let’s look at how many different ways there are to serve up a potato, as well as all the different kinds of fries and chips that are out there to enjoy.
New or Baby Potatoes
Baby potatoes are just regular potatoes picked before they’ve grown to full size. They keep some of the same versatility cooking wise as they can be boiled, roasted or fried, and can be eaten without peeling. They are also slightly sweeter tasting and make a great side.
For other similar little potato bites, you can choose potato crunchies (aka Tater Tots in the US), croquette potatoes or maybe you can try making crispy fondant potatoes in this skillet.
Another great and classic barbecue side dish, the potato salad. This can be prepared fairly simply at home, or just bought ready made in a plastic container from a store if you like shortcuts.
Start by boiling potatoes in salted water for 20 minutes, you don’t want to cook them too long. Drain and cool them, then cut the potatoes up into chunks. You can then add a lot of mayonnaise (regular, light, vegan, whichever you want) and/or sour cream, plus olive oil and vinegar. Depending on personal preference, you can choose to keep it simple or add in things like onion, celery, parsley and so on. Even potato salads have lots of variety.
Another alternative: mash potato, goes great alongside some chicken.
Speaking of new potatoes and potato salad, here’s a recipe for grilled new potato salad, purple sprouting broccoli and wild garlic mayo, perfect for the barbecue.
Chips and Fries
We’re on to the best part now. As versatile as their forefather, the potato, chips and fries can be served up in many different ways. You can get chunky chips, medium fries, and even shoestring fries. It’s all about how thick or thin you want to cut up your potatoes really. You can even skip peeling and offer up some skin on fries.
Don’t forget crinkly and curly fries too, though you’ll need special tools like a crinkle cutter or a spiralizer.
Sweet potato fries are a popular and tasty alternative, plus they are also more nutrient dense than regular fries. By now you might be sick of seeing the word “potato” so here’s another alternative – halloumi fries.
Halloumi is Cyprus’ second largest export. Made from a mixture of goat and sheep’s milk, the cheese is popular for its high melting point, so you can easily fry it or grill it on your barbecue. You can either serve it as is, or cut it up and coat it to serve as fries. Halloumi is a pretty diverse cheese that can either be had as a side or a main inside a burger.
Your Barbecue Sides Sorted
A lot of these potato and chip styles can be made on the barbecue, or at least finished off on the grill for extra taste. You could barbecue some cubes of potatoes and serve them up with onions or other vegetables. You can also make grilled potatoes on skewers as a tasty alternative to chicken skewers.
Some of our hybrid barbecues have chopping boards included, perfect for cutting up your potatoes. We also sell woks that can be used for frying your chips, whilst you barbecue the mains.