Grilling Potatoes

grilling potatoesI love grilling potatoes! Baked potatoes is a hearty dinner classic that pairs well with all sorts of foods, from grilled steak to ribs. But grilled potatoes are even better than potatoes baked in the oven. The aromatic smoke cooks up the skin to a crispy perfection that is just delicious.

Grilling potatoes is actually not that hard. It takes a bit of time (as does baking potatoes in the oven) but the technique is not difficult as long as you know how to cook with indirect heat. You don't need much to do it either, just some good potatoes, oil, salt and pepper… and of course lots of butter to serve with! So read on and enjoy my grilled potato recipe!


What You Will Need:

  • Potatoes: The most popular type to bake are standard Russet potatoes but you can do this equally well with other types. For a bit of flair when grilling potatoes it is sometimes fun to use Yukon gold, red or even purple potatoes, or mix and match! The smaller the grilling potatoes, the faster they will cook. Large Russets usually take from an hour to an hour and a half.
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Butter, for serving


How to Cook Grilled Potatoes:

  • First, you'll need to get your grill set up for indirect heat cooking. You are going to slowly cook the potatoes over an hour or more (depending on the size of the potatoes) so you need a nice even, steady heat. If you use direct heat, the outside of the taters will burn long before the inside is nice and soft and cooked. For these I like to start with a moderate amount of charcoal. If you use too much at the start it can be hard to control the heat. Once your coals are started, push them all to one side of the grill. On the other side of the charcoal grate place a metal pan of water. Then place the grilling grate over. You will use the area of the grill that is not directly over the hot coals. If you are using a gas grill, just turn one or two burners on and leave the others off.
  • Once your coals are going, cover the grill lid and adjust the vents (charcoal) or burners (for gas) to get the desired temperature range. Closing the vents will lower the temperature while opening them will increase the temp. Play around with it a bit to try to get it in the desired range. You are aiming for 350 degrees F but in truth if the temp fluctuates a bit or is a bit off that goal it is ok. Anywhere from around 325 to 400 are probably fine, they will just cook a bit different, slower at lower temps and faster with more toasty crust on the skin at higher temps. To really control this, it is best to have a grill thermometer so that you can see what your temperature is.

  • Once your grill is getting started, prepare the potatoes. Scrub them off under running water so that there is no dirt but don't remove the skin.
  • Poke several holes in each potato deeply with a small fork. This will help let steam escape as they cook. For an average sized potato you want to stab it about 8 to 12 times so that there are plenty of holes.

  • Pour some extra virgin olive oil over the potatoes and rub it over all the surfaces. Then generously sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper on all sides.
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  • Once your grill is ready, place the potatoes on the grill and return the lid. If desired, you can add smoking wood (hickory or mesquite, for example) to the charcoal to add some aromatic smoke.
  • grilling potatoes

  • Watch the time and temp. Large Russet potatoes at 350 degrees will take about an hour and 15 minutes or up to about an hour and a half. Adjust the temperature as needed throughout the cooking process. You can check the grilled potatoes periodically but try to leave the lid closed most of the time to retain heat. You do not really need to turn the potatoes as long as they are over indirect heat but it doesn't hurt to turn them once or twice during the cooking process if you wish. Again, the most important thing is to try to keep the temp around 350 for as much of the time as possible with the lid closed to withhold that heat and smoke around the grilling potatoes.
  • After about an hour the skin should be darkened and starts to wrinkle and puff up. At this point you can test the doneness by pushing on the potato and inserting a fork. When done the fork should sink easily into the deepest part of the potato.

  • When done, remove the potatoes and let them rest and cook down a bit on a plate. They will keep warm quite a long time. When ready to serve, cut down one side and open the grilled potatoes. Immediately put pats of butter into the potatoes which will melt quickly from the heat. Garnish as you'd like with chives, salt and pepper.

Serve and Enjoy!




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