Spiced-up sweet potato fries with a yogurt dip are a delicious side or snack. Karen Schneider / For The Forecaster

Karen Schneider cooks and writes in the village of Cundy’s Harbor. You can reach her at iwrite33@comcast.net or 504-0545.

I remember the first time and place I ate sweet potato fries – it was the spring of 1999 at Periwinkle’s in Essex, Massachusetts. My daughter, a junior at a nearby college, took me there for lunch just to introduce me to the fries dipped in maple syrup.

Those fries and the pulled pork sandwich I devoured with them were very, very good. And from that day forward, I make sweet potato fries alongside pulled pork quite frequently, varying the recipe with much experimenting along the way.

Pulled pork is always a fabulous way to feed a crowd and makes for great leftovers for more sandwiches. The rub is more salty than sweet and more seasonings can be added to give it even more kick if you like.

A thin marinade, aka mop, is used to baste the roast as it cooks. It will have a sharp taste that will be tempered by the fatty meat.

And truly, this mop is so good, let’s sneak a little into the slaw and still have some left over to dress the shredded pork at the table. A barbecue sauce isn’t really needed, but I can’t stop you if you want to go with some of that, too.

Spicy sweet potato fries

1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, unpeeled and cut into 1/2-inch sticks


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

3/4 teaspoon coriander

3/4 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon cayenne


1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a bowl, toss potatoes with olive oil. Add salt and all spices and toss to coat potatoes evenly. Spread potatoes on prepared baking sheet, using all the spices left in the bowl and separating the potatoes as much as possible.

Roast until browned underneath, about 15 minutes. Flip the fries and roast for another 10 minutes until browned on the other side. Flip again and roast an additional 5 minutes if needed. Serve with dipping sauce.

Yield: 4 servings

Dipping sauce

3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 tablespoon white vinegar


2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon harissa paste, or to taste

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl except for the harissa paste, which is swirled in last.

Yield: 3/4 cup

Crispy oven pulled pork

1 (3 1/2 pounds) boneless pork shoulder or butt


3 tablespoons kosher salt

4 tablespoons brown sugar, divided

1 1/2 tablespoons sweet or smoked paprika

1 1/2 teaspoons chipotle powder

10 buns

Barbecue sauce, optional


At least 11 hours before you’ll be eating the roast, combine salt, 4 tablespoons brown sugar, paprika and chipotle powder in a small bowl to make a rub.

Score the thick fatty layer of the meat, making 1/8-inch diagonal cuts in two directions to form a diamond pattern.

Pat the rub on all sides of the meat until thickly coated. Place in a roasting pan and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.

When ready to cook, preheat oven to 300 degrees. Remove the plastic wrap and discard any juices in the pan. Roast for 5 hours. After the first hour, add 1/4 cup of mop to the pan and baste the pork with it. Continue to baste once an hour with the pan juices.

Once cooked, the pork can be left at room temperature for up to 1 1/2 hours, then rewarmed briefly in a 450 degree oven. Shred the pork, discard any fat, and pour up to 1/2 cup of reserved mop over it as needed to season the meat and keep it moist.

Serve on buns with slaw, remaining mop and/or a barbecue sauce of your choice.


Yield: 10 servings

Mop (marinade)

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup ketchup

1/3 cup water

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Salt to taste

Place all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until sugar dissolves.

Yield: 1 1/2 cups


1 (1 1/2 pounds) cabbage

1/3 cup mop

1/4 cup mayonnaise

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Quarter, core, and thinly slice cabbage into 2-inch shreds. Place in a large bowl and toss with mop. Add mayonnaise and mix well. Season with salt and pepper and add more mop and/or mayo if needed and chill.

Yield: Topping for 10 sandwiches

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