Jojos Are The Regional Take On Fried Potato Wedges That Are Next-Level Crispy

French fries are the benchmark of American comfort food, and there's been plenty of creative takes on them, from curly fries to tater tots. While most fried potato varieties are well known from coast to coast, jojos are a regional specialty exclusive to the Pacific North and Midwest that you'll want to try. Jojos are technically fried potato wedges, but the only characteristic they share with an average wedge is the shape. These thick-cut wedges get a decadent dusting of flour and seasonings before being thrown in a pressure fryer. The breaded exterior creates next-level crispiness, while pressure frying ensures that they have the most succulent, pillowy interiors.

Like a pressure cooker, pressure fryers are deep, round vats with pressurized tops that trap heat and moisture. Unlike the open vats of oil and metal baskets used for conventional deep frying, pressure fryers were engineered to fry chicken quickly at ultra-high temperatures. In fact, jojos and fried chicken go hand in hand; jojos are fried in the same oil used to fry the chicken, further enhancing their savory flavor.

While you'd usually purchase french fries at a restaurant or burger stand, you won't find jojos on restaurant and fast food menus. Instead, they're common fixtures at deli counters, grocery stores, county fairs, and gas stations throughout the Midwest and Pacific Northwest. Plus they're cheaper than your standard order of fries. A tasty batch of jojos will make every mundane grocery or gas trip a cause for celebration!

History of jojo potatoes

The origin story of jojo potatoes is directly tied to the origin of the pressure fryer. That said, there were various men vying for the founding title, and they were all distributors of the newly debuted, trademarked Flavor-Crisp pressure fryer. According to his son Paul, Flavor-Crisp salesman and distributor Nick Nicewonger invented the jojo while selling the fryer to movie theaters and chicken stands in the late 1950s and early 60s. Nicewonger would demonstrate how to use the fryer for crowds, and one such demonstration coincided with a pair of Idaho potato sellers. Nicewonger borrowed a few potatoes, cut them into quick wedges, and threw them in the fryer to attract any batter leftover from the fried chicken. These oil cleansing potatoes soon became the jojos Pacific Northwesterners all know and love today.

However, former Flavor-Crisp salesmen in Chicago and Ohio tell the same story. Whether the jojo started in the Midwest or Pacific Northwest, the idea of throwing potatoes into pressure fryers during demonstrations became standard protocol for distributors, leading to their continued regional popularity over 60 years later. You can enjoy them plain or with any of your favorite dipping sauces. Tangy sweet sauces like ketchup, honey mustard, or Thousand Island would pair well with the salty, spicy flavors of the breaded exterior and the earthiness of fluffy potato pulp.