|Heston Blumenthal's Ketchup Injected Potato Chips
Original recipe here. Apologies to Heston, I'm sure your version is much better. But thanks for the inspiration.
Firstly Heston does this great thing of cooking the potatoes in water infused with burnt hay. I think it sounds great, but I didn't have any hay so I skipped that stage.
I made potato wedges instead of chips. This turned out to be bad in the sense that they had a thin edge where the ketchup spurted out. So however you choose to cook them, I suggest you go with chunky chips that have a square profile.
The main preparation was getting a syringe and needle to inject ketchup with.
Ketchup is quite viscous so you need a large needle. Needles come in sterile packs. They are available in different lengths (I opted for two inches, which is huge, but you can draw it back through the chip which is good) and different gauges. Be careful with the gauges, they run the opposite way to you'd expect. The smaller the gauge the larger the needle. I managed to get some 18g needles.
The syringe is less critical. I used 5ml sterile syringes which did quite a few chips each. You must make sure the syringes are compatible with the needles. Some use a Luer slip fitting, others use a posher Luer Lock fitting. Either is okay, just make sure they are the same.
N.B. Please be careful with used needles. They will be covered in dried ketchup and we all know what that looks like. Just because you know it is only ketchup, don't put your bin man through the trauma of getting a needle-stick injury and having to get an HIV test. Most councils have facilities for disposing of used needles. (Don't tell them you have been injecting chips or they'll think you are insane/lying/taking the piss.)
You can get needles from various online medical suppliers. Obviously they are used to dealing with medical organisations rather than mad chefs so you will have to order a lot (like 100).
Alternatively email me and I'll sell you a strip of sterile sealed syringes and needles (UK only please). I have hundreds so I'd be quite glad to get rid of a few of them. I'll only charge you a bit to cover the original cost and P&P (so like three quid or something, depending on how many you want).
I found it much harder to suck up the ketchup that inject it so I advise you to pour some into a pot and then draw it up with the syringe before installing the needle.
I actually found a good quality smoky BBQ sauce (I went for HP, but only because I used to live opposite the factory) was better than ketchup. The spicy smoky flavour really infused the inside of the potato. I suggest injecting after you have cooked the chips. I used surgical gloves to protect my fingers from any hot fat. I do have very heat proof fingers from years of cooking so you may want to be careful.
N.B. This should be obvious, but needles are very sharp. Keep your fingers out the way. Don't let children near them (even if it does look fun). Don't inject yourself with BBQ sauce, or the chips with your blood as either of these would be bad. I also advise you to be careful who you do your preparation in front of - a good percentage of the population has a needle phobia and you'll really put them off their food.
You can clean the needles by flushing them with Milton or hydrogen peroxide. But there isn't much point as sterilising them costs about the same as buying new ones. And this way you can be absolutely sure they are safe.
Other Injected Foods
I also used the same needles/syringes to suck up the fat from a roasting turkey and inject it back into the breast of the bird. I'm a vegetarian so I don't know how it tasted, but the meat was much moister than usual.
I had limited success injecting tomatoes with a vodka/Tabasco mix (a Bloody Mary still in the tomato). Probably needed finer (higher gauge) needles for this one.
Baked potatoes injected with melted butter. Fun but (b)utterly pointless.
There is also an American* student favourite of injecting fruit (especially watermelons) with vodka and other spirits.
* I'm sure other people do this too, but it has to do with sneaking alcohol into parties when you are underage.
If you have ever injected your food, or even just have a weird idea that might be worth a try, please email me. As long as it isn't too foul/expensive/meaty I'll give it a go and post it here.