Baked Potatoes On The Grill
Baked Potatoes on The Grill: Savor the Splendid Spud
When asked to name the quintessential side dish grilling pros choose to accompany a juicy steak, flaky salmon cut or savory chicken, few hesitate before coming up with the answer. It’s the potato, grilled to perfection, with or without foil wraps. The potato is usually considered a rather uncomplicated, starchy side dish requiring only butter and/or sour cream to pump up its image--but we beg to differ.
When prepared with care, the baked potato is hardly a one-dimensional side dish and our intention is to prove just that so you give baked spuds the attention they deserve.
Baking a potato is both an art and a science and you’re the alchemist every time you pick up a scrub brush to prep your tater for a grand appearance on a plate beside your grilled main course.
Whether you like your baked potato naked bearing a yummy, crispy texture that grilling produces or you’re the shy guy who never met a baked potato dressed in foil wrapping he couldn't consume, we’ve got you covered, Spud stud. Even more than that, you can always combine this recipe with some other vegan bbq ideas!
How to identify the best potatoes for baking on the grill
So, you hit the supermarket with a list of supplies required to prepare your grilling feast and among the ingredients high on that list is potatoes. Standing before stadiums of bagged, loose and specialty potatoes, you realize that you’re facing a dilemma. They’re big. Small. Red. Gold. Yellow. Brown. Your job is to set your radar for the big, beefy Russets also known as Idaho bakers.
Ignore our advice and you’re going to wind up in a world of regret. Not every potato bakes properly and some types literally disintegrate while being roasted because their biological makeup means they’re destined for frying, mashing and boiling instead. Russets are the epitome of high-starch tubers with tough skin and white flesh. While there's nothing glamorous or beautiful about Russets, this potato family rules.
According to the Potato Association of America, this hardy potato has more names than a con artist, but find lany of these varieties and you're assured of getting the best:
- German Butterballs
- Russet Burbanks
- Centennial Russet
- Century Russet
- Frontier Russet
- Hilite Russet
- Lemhi Russet
- Norgold Russet
- Norking Russet
- Ranger Russet
- Russet Norkotah
- Russet Nugget
10 things you need to bake a potato masterpiece
1. A charcoal or gas grill
2. Barbecue tools; especially a basting brush, tongs and long-handled fork
3. Four Russet baking potatoes
4. Olive oil
5. Granulated garlic
6. Freshly-cracked black pepper
7. Kosher salt
8. Grilling tunes (You may wish to sing Alan Jackson’s 2000 hit, “Meat and Potato Man”)
9. Safety gear so you don’t suffer hot potato injuries
10. Your favorite beverage.
10 Easy steps to cook baked potatoes on the grill
Step #1: Drizzle or brush olive oil over the washed and dried potatoes.
Step #2: Season only the top of each potato with salt, pepper and garlic.
Step #3: Place the charcoal on one side of the grill only and fire briquettes to 300-degrees. If you’re new, here, check out the best charcoal grilling practices.
Step #4: Place the potatoes adjacent to the coals seasoned sides down and close the lid.
Step #5: It’s okay to shift potatoes around if they’re not baking evenly, but no flipping!
Step #6: At about 45 minutes into the baking process, give your potatoes a squeeze to test softness.
Step #7: You can drizzle more olive oil and sprinkle more seasonings over the taters if you like.
Step #8: Allow potatoes to bake for up to 90 minutes to achieve a crispy skin.
Step #9: Remove from the grill and serve.
Step #10: If you must serve with toppings, have at it, but this recipe is designed to make them perfect as is.
Savory meats to serve with your perfectly-baked potato
1. For the caveman in you: Rib eyes all around.
2. On a budget but craving steak? Fall in love with sexy chuck eye steaks.
3. Hunting gold: 10 Most Popular Venison Recipes.
4. It’s not your father’s Citrus BBQ beer can chicken recipe:
Or you can always try this awesome Easy Vegan Cauliflower recipe:
The perfect wine pairing?
Don’t chuckle. “Houston Press” food reporter Jeremy Parzen devoted an entire column to wines that perfectly pair with baked potatoes. He waxes poetic about his skin-scrubbing ritual and agrees with potato fanatics who insist that no potato worth its skin is justified unless that skin is crispy and savory!
Parzen says that while baked potatoes go with everything from fish to nuts, there are only so many wines on the market that belong exclusively to the baked potato. His specific recommendations are:
- A Greek Moschofilero
- Nebbiolo bottled in Italy’s Langhe Hills
- Cabernet Franc (e.g., Chinon and Bourgeuil) from the Loire Valley
- A Carignan from Spain
- Loire Valley Grenache
While you’re sipping on a glass of perfect wine, we have some more interesting information about the best and simplest food there is. After all, you can impress your friends at the party with some fun facts about the dish they’re enjoying!
5 potato facts you should know
If there’s a Whole Foods supermarket in your neighborhood, consider yourself fortunate. Even the lowly potato gets plenty of love in the produce department because potatoes are promoted as an important part of a balanced diet. Nutritionists responsible for gathering facts and figures at Whole Foods are potato trivia buffs, so feel free to share their findings with others while wielding your barbeque tongs:
1. Using the right potato for the right job is important because every spud has a unique sugar profile. If you’ve been disappointed by lousy baked potatoes in the past, you may simply have chosen the wrong type. It pays to pick potatoes earmarked for baking.
2. The number of potato types on the produce market has grown dramatically. There are now hundreds of types grown internationally, some of which take from 10 to 12 years to develop, says John Mishanec, a Cornell University vegetable specialist. Given the development of new potato types, grillers can look forward to experimenting down the road.
3. They won’t scream and plead for their lives, but potatoes continue to stay alive even after they’ve been harvested. They’re dormant. That’s why leaving them untouched for long periods of time could give you an unexpected surprise: potato sprouts. You’re more likely to find that your potatoes are sending out shoots if you purchased them from the farm. Commercial spuds are sprayed with sprout killer.
4. Potatoes are offended when grillers refer to sweet potatoes as cousins because the two belong to distinct families that have no relationship. Sweet potatoes are root vegetables that belong to the morning glory family, which is why you’ll never find them on potato species lists.
5. Potatoes have flown in space. The University of Wisconsin, in concert with NASA, sent a bunch of seed potatoes into the stratosphere in 1995 when Space Shuttle Columbia was launched. Since then, the Chinese have developed the quintessential chamber-grown space spud, given the nickname Quantum Tubers™. Whole Foods veggie experts call this variety “possibly the most badass potato on the planet,” and who are we to disagree?
Potato roots are deep
Archaeologists mining ancient sites in South America have proven that the Inca people cultivated potatoes in Peru as along ago as 8,000 BC. These early Peruvians did more than just eat potatoes: they used them to prevent rheumatism, sooth toothaches, heal broken bones and combat frostbite.
European and Asian nations learned about this tuber thanks to explorers coming and going from “the new world” over the centuries. Not embraced by folks of King Henry VIII’s era, spuds were used to feed livestock exclusively in the UK, and while Ireland may today lay claim to being the Potato Capital of the world, it took the Royal Society in England decades to encourage human consumption after the potato’s reputation had been sullied for so long.
Potatoes gained legitimacy around 1795—just in time for the legendary famine that swept Ireland, causing a catastrophic eight-year food deficiency that threatened to wipe out a huge chunk of the Emerald Isle’s population. It took nearly 100 years for potatoes to get a new foothold in the U.S., but once they did, they quickly became an important part of the American diet.
Want to impress your friends? Tell them that Idaho only became Spud Mecca in 1836, so all of that romantic folklore you hear from Idaho potato growers is just so much hype. In terms of strains, Russets weren’t even developed until around 1876, so today’s most beloved baked potato type is just a little over the age of 100.
Surprising nutritional facts
Baked Russet potatoes may be calorie laden at about 290 each, but this tuber is nutrient dense and has enough vitamins and minerals to keep you healthy, so don’t deny yourself! One Russet contains these vital nutrients:
- 7.9 grams of protein
- 64-percent of the vitamin C your body requires daily
- 53-percent of the daily recommended vitamin B6
- Get 29.9mg of Omega-3 fatty acids and a whopping 95.7mg. of Omega-6 fatty acids from on spud
- Forget about saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats; potatoes are fat free
- Russets are loaded with calcium, magnesium, potassium and they even contribute to the body's water intake.
Before we let you go - because we know you can’t wait to try out the recipe! - we have even more info in case you cook too much in the excitement!
6 Awesome grilled baked potato leftover ideas
As a grilling master extraordinaire, you plan grilling adventures down to the last detail, but if you are a self-admitted baked potato fanatic, you may wish to double down on the number of spuds you bake so you have leftovers.
Leftovers? Is that a dirty word in your vocabulary? Keep reading and decide for yourself whether you’ll take a pass on post-potato paradise by baking extras next time you fire up the grill so you continue to indulge in your favorite guilty pleasure.
Recipe #1: Chop up those leftovers and whip up a pot of creamy baked potato soup (http://allrecipes.com/video/2744/baked-potato-soup-i/?internalSource=picture_play&referringId=12997&referringContentType=recipe).
Recipe #2: Dice leftovers and use them as filling in your morning omelet or stuff them into breakfast burritos.
Recipe #3: Make a loaded baked potato salad guaranteed to trigger recipe requests from others.
Recipe #4: Top leftover baked potatoes with hot chili and shredded cheese for a Mexican fiesta (http://www.kraftrecipes.com/recipes/chili-topped-baked-potatoes-55509.aspx).
Recipe #5: Create an easy (make ahead) baked potato and bacon casserole (http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/easy-make-ahead-baked-potato-and-bacon-casserole).
Whip up any of these yummy (in some cases, unusual!) toppings to serve on leftover grilled baked potatoes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do You Need Foil To Bake a Potato On the Grill?
Some say that foil helps the potato cook faster because the aluminum conducts and traps heat. Foil isn’t necessary to bake a potato but it does steam your potatoes, giving you a softer skin. Baking the potatoes without foil allows the skins to crisp up and absorb more flavor from the grill.
What Is The Best Type of Potato for Baking?
Starchy potatoes, like Russets or Idahos, are best for baked potatoes. They become light and fluffy you bake them, losing their shape and breaking down well on the inside. This makes the potato absorbent so it can really take on the flavors of the toppings. Sweet potatoes also make great baked potatoes for the same reason.
How Long Does It Take to Bake a Potato on the Grill?
The heat of your grill and the size of the potato ultimately affect how long it takes the potato to cook through. You’re looking for a potato that is tender when pierced in the middle with a fork. Generally, when grilled with the lid down, this will take about 45 minutes.
Do Baked Potatoes Need To Be Cleaned?
Potatoes grow in the ground, so they are often covered with spots of dirt, even after commercial cleaning. Cooking a potato without cleaning it is not unhealthy, but it will cause the potato to taste gritty. A simple scrubbing of the skins with a clean brush or dish towel is enough to remove any dirt and grime from the skin.
How Do You Make a Loaded Baked Potato?
These potatoes are good enough to eat plain, but you can load them up with toppings if you wish. The best way to make a loaded baked potato is to scoop out the baked potato flesh into a bowl. Then, mash it with the ingredients of your choice. Typical ingredients include butter, sour cream, cheese, chives, and bacon. Other ingredients can be used, like pulled pork and barbecue sauce or broccoli and cheese.