Texas Tater Twisters

This is it, y’all! The lost footage from the fated Ferris wheel accident I mentioned in the Monte Cristo episode. I guess it wasn’t really lost after all. But it was hard-going to figure out how to retrieve it. The camera had to be dusted off, battery changed, disassembled, reassembled, prayed for, and ultimately cleansed by fire like the great Phoenix. I know most things don’t get fixed that way — you know, lighting them aflame — but this time it worked, and fortuitously so, since everyone really should know about Texas Tater Twisters and my carny friends and the Houston Rodeo.

I’d wanted to go visit Stacy and her sister and their Tater Twisters last year, but had really just started Hilah Cooking at the time and was not prepared for a road trip, however short, or an on-location shoot, however awesome. But I’ll tell you one goddamn thing for sure: I sure as shit was not going to miss it this year.

To ensure plenty of face-time with the sexy Tater Twister Sisters, and to make sure that it wouldn’t be super effing crowded, we went down the week before the official start of the rodeo. It was still pretty crowded actually. I guess Houston’s a big city? Who knew!! But I did get to get in that trailer and get my hands dirty (after I got them very clean of course, with soap and water and stuff).

I was downright overjoyed when I heard there was a GD BBQ competition, too, the SAME WEEKEND I was going to be there. Then, when I found out that you need special VIP passes or invites or whatever kinda BS in order to get to eat any delicious BBQ, I was awash with disappointment and even a little pissed off. So I drank some $5 beers and ate almost three Taterdogs and got front seat on a roller coaster and then went on the Ferris wheel and had a big boo-boo.

Back to those Twisters, though. They are super cute and fun to eat and enormous. I got to make one, with some help from professionals. I even got to put a weenie in it (it’s really a very good sausage made in Dripping Springs, but weenie is funner to say so I’ll say it) and make a TaterDog! I wore a cute cowboy hat, too. Here’s how it happens.


  1. Jane on April 26, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    Note to self – do not drink hot coffee and watch Hilah insert a hot dog weenie into a cored and spiral-cut potato tube at the same time – scalding hot coffee giggle choke. (Now I need a new coffee and a clean shirt and to re-do my mascara because I cry when I choke or throw-up)!

    <3 _ <3

    • Hilah Cooking on April 28, 2011 at 7:40 am

      Oh NO, Jane! I’m sorry I made you ruin your coffee and shirt and makeup. But, to be fair, one time you made me almost die from choking on a piece of bread.

  2. Randy on April 28, 2011 at 10:26 pm

    Well, Hilah, I thought that my perfect record of making everything you make was going to end this week. For most of Tuesday, I consoled myself that it wasn’t your recipe and by drinking 17 beers (okay, it was only 6). Then the lightbulb came on. I went to Costco and bought a package of their big-ass weiners. Not as long as the official Texas Tater Twister ones, but long enough. Fortunately, I’d bought my sister a Waring Pro deep-fryer for Christmas. That left cutting the potatoes into spirals. An apple peeler-corer-slicer (one of those that look like a super light-weight version of the potato spiral cutter used in the video) worked pretty well. My nieces loved them, especially after they doused them with ketchup. Being of the Chicago school of hotdoggery, I was appalled at first, but hey, without a bun it’s not a hotdog. After that we drove over to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and rode the Ferris wheel.

    BTW, I convinced my sister that she needed a Roku box set-top box and it came on Monday. Now I’m back to watching you in your almost life-size glory on a large HDTV instead of a puny 13 inch laptop display.

    • Hilah Cooking on April 30, 2011 at 8:52 am

      Randy. I think I love you. You are a genius. Please tell me you took pictures.
      P.S. We must meet someday and drink each other under the table.

      • Randy on May 2, 2011 at 10:21 pm

        I think I love you, too! I didn’t think to take pictures on the first go around. But just for you, I took a few on the second go around (they’re awful, though). And as in most cases with me, the first try is almost perfect but I just have to go for even better and end doing worse. The Costco wieners are fatter than the hole the apple corer drills, so for the second batch, I used Nathan’s foot longs. They were an almost perfect fit, but a little loose so that during frying the potato spirals kept retracting. Worse yet, the Nathan’s dogs don’t take to frying like the Costco dogs do. So the result is a ugly, wrinkled dog. The potatoes still look good, though. Oh, yeah, neither the Costco or the Nathan’s are long enough to hold a whole potato. Cutting one in half works well for Costco dogs, which is better than cutting one in thirds for the Nathan’s. The next time I make these, I’m going to make a DIY gadget like the one you used in the video by taking an apple corer and prying it apart so that it makes a hole big enough for the Costco franks.

        You’re on for the drink-a-thon. I’ll be back in Austin in July.

        The pics are at:

        • Hilah Cooking on May 3, 2011 at 8:40 am

          I think it looks great! It does make me wonder how the Twister Sisters keep their sausages from wrinkling up – maybe a lower oil temperature?
          I am very proud of you.
          See you in July!!!

          • Randy on May 4, 2011 at 5:00 pm

            I think you’re right about the temperature. Before I made them the first time, I debated over the temperature. I figured that since the potatoes are sliced thinner than french fries, I would try 250 degrees the first time around (with the Costco dogs), but about half of them were a little undercooked on the inside (potato, that is). The second time I fried at 275. The next time I think that I’ll try using standard french frying methodology and fry the potatoes twice. Once, by themselves, at 225. Then letting them cool before inserting the wieners and frying the whole shebang at 250.

  3. Laura on May 1, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    Nice weeners! I feel like I saw a spiral-cutting machine that some dude had rigged up, in the millions of hours I’ve spent watching the Food Network, but I can’t recall the name of the joint that claims to have invented it. Still, I like the idea of a spiral-cut fry caressing a hot dog like that. Did they have any special dips for the finished product, or is it pretty much what you see in the video?

    • Hilah Cooking on May 2, 2011 at 6:36 pm

      Hey Laura! They had some various sprinkle-on seasoning mixes. And barbecue sauce. And mustard and ketchup. Possibly Ranch? You know, the usual suspects.
      It sure is pretty to have a potato caressing a wiener. 😉

      • Randy on May 4, 2011 at 5:21 pm

        My nieces (11, 11 and 9) always put ketchup on anything that’s got a frankfurter. That’s just not kosher with Chicago hotdog orthodoxy. But then when you have what is virtually a single spiral-cut french fry wrapped around the hotdog, it would be a sin against the fry to not put ketchup on it.
        Oh, wait, hold on. I’m picking up thought-waves from Trappist monks in Belgium. The good brothers are saying: douse the tater twisters with mayonnaise and drink a Chimay along with it.

        • Hilah Cooking on May 5, 2011 at 7:19 am

          Oh, snap. Mayonnaise! Of COURSE! Or ketchup. Really they both sound better than mustard, as sacrilegious as that may seem. Sorry, Hot Dog Gods!

  4. Mike Shihinski on May 5, 2011 at 3:23 am

    Hi Hilah,
    Well I wish I could of been there at the carnival. 17 beers and you still looked great. The tater dogs probly look good but must go down easy and come out not so easy. I hope all is well you did a great job on the Taters. Keep Smiling and pass it on to others. Mikee

    • Hilah Cooking on May 5, 2011 at 7:17 am

      Hi Mikee! I’ll tell you that 17 beers MAY have been an exaggeration. 😉 At carnival prices, that would have been, like, a hundred dollars worth of beer! It was a blast, though. Thanks for writing!

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