The 3 Big Secrets to Cooking Crispy Hash Browns
Russ Chastain 04.13.20
Whether you are holed up at home or spending time at hunt camp during the COVID-19 pandemic, you have got to eat. We also want some comfort in uncertain times, and what is more comforting than good food? Potatoes are a staple in most any hunt camp, and fried taters are hard to beat.
I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like hash browns — and if you do, please don’t introduce us. Thing is, much of the time “hash browns” turn out to be what I call “hash tans” because they’re, well… flaccid. Ewwww.
In this video, Cowboy Kent Rollins demonstrates how to get good crispy fried hash browns. This is the same character from the Cowboy Scotch Eggs video, and I like the guy. Down to earth, wholesome, and loves good food. Perhaps even better, he starts out by telling you his 3 big secrets before he even begins preparing the taters.
- Clarified butter
- Rinse with cold water
- Use a lid while cooking
Kent says you need to use clarified butter. He makes some by tossing a stick of butter into a pan, heating it while stirring, then straining it through a coffee filter into a coffee mug.
“I’m just gonna mash it down in there, just a tad, and fold it over.”
Next, he peels some russet potatoes — he specifies russet — and grates them into cold water. He doesn’t say why as he’s doing the grating, but the cold water helps remove a lot of the starch from the spuds and prevents them from sticking together. It’s a little trick I learned while frying potato chips at home. Mmmm mmmm good!
He rinses about 4 times, but in my experience once is enough. But rinse the heck out of them if you want to… what else do you have to do today?
He also dries the heck out of them with a towel, which seems like a bunch of extra work from here. But what do I know? I’m no cowboy chef.
He likes a “medium high” heat and prefers to use a cast iron skillet, into which he puts about 3 tablespoons of the clarified butter. After seasoning, he puts a lid on the skillet — and sternly warns viewers not to take that lid off for 5 minutes, when it will be time to flip ’em. Be careful with the flip, he says:
“Now ya gotta sneak up on this like a covey of quail.”
After 2-3 minutes of cooking on the other side, sans lid, you should have some of the crispiest hash browns of your life.