For most, a baked potato immediately conjures a vision of the oven. My mind’s eye takes me to my backyard. My favorite baked potato is on the grill.
Not only does it free up oven space and keep your kitchen cool on hot days, the grill is an ideal stage to introduce the flavors of sweet smoke. When I think of a baked potato, it’s not just the fluffy whipped potato, but the salty crisp skin, too. The grill makes them both shine. Plus, any chance to be outside next to grill is great for the stomach and the soul.
Russet Potatoes Are Best
Although I’ve never met a potato I didn’t like, the sturdiness of the Russet makes it an ideal candidate for the grill. I prefer a potato in the 8- to 10-ounce range. You can certainly go larger, but you’ll have to cook them for longer. Depending on the type of grill, you’ll need more fuel too.
How to Grill Potatoes
I may be treading on thin ice here: I grill my potatoes wrapped in aluminum foil. Now before you slam your laptop and shake your fist at me, I shall explain. The potatoes are first grilled, wrapped in foil, and then they’re unwrapped and cooked for a little longer.
I don’t wrap them to decrease the cook time, which is negligible, but to help the seasonings adhere to the skin. They won’t stay on if you grill the potatoes unwrapped from the get-go.
When the potatoes go back onto the grill for a second time, unwrapped, I add a few chunks of hickory wood to the fire. The potatoes crisp up just a bit more while taking on the sweet, smokey aroma of wood. When done, the inside of the potato is fork-tender and ready for butter, and as you will discover, the salty crisp skin is downright addictive.
How to Set Up the Grill
To act like an oven, set up the grill for indirect heat. In other words, place the potatoes on the grill so they are not directly over the fire of the burners or coals. Instead of the direct searing action of a hot grate, the potatoes are cooked by heat supplied through convection and radiation.
- On a gas grill, this means placing the potatoes over unlit burners—the burners on the other side should be on high.
- On a charcoal grill, the lit coals are swept to one side and the potatoes placed on the grates over the charcoal-less side.
How to Serve Grill Baked Potatoes
A baked potato with butter is a great side, but a larger potato with the right toppings can be a full meal. Top it with chili, cheese, and sour cream for knife and fork feast. Add fried onion rings, crispy bacon bits, and pickled jalapeños, and you have a main meal disguised as an appetizer.
Not sure of what your dinner guests prefer? Make a grilled baked potato bar. Each potato is an open slate for a wide variety of toppings. You provide the potato, and your guests bring the creativity.
No matter your preference, treat your next baked potato to the great outdoors and take it to the grill. You will not be disappointed.
More Than One Path to Baked Potatoes
Baked Potato on the Grill
This recipe calls for 4 potatoes. If your grill is large enough to accommodate more, you can easily grill more potatoes with the same cook time.
4 Russet potatoes, 8 to 10 ounces each
Extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Hickory wood chunks for charcoal grill or wood chips for gas grill (optional)
Prepare a grill:
On a gas grill, set the burners on one side to high and the burners on the other side should be kept off.
On a charcoal grill, sweep the lit coals onto one side and leave the other side charcoal-less.
Away from the lit coals or above the burners kept off, you’ll get indirect heat. That’s where you will cook the potatoes. The grill temperature should be 350°F.
Prepare the potatoes:
Tear off 4 pieces of aluminum foil, each 10 to 12 inches long.
Pierce each potato a few times with a fork to allow steam to escape while cooking. Place a potato in the center of a piece of foil, drizzle a thin coat of olive oil, and season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Wrap it in the foil completely. Prepare the remaining potatoes just like this.
Grill the potatoes:
Place the wrapped potatoes over indirect heat—over the unlit burners or away from the lit coals. Grill for 45 minutes with the lid closed.
Smoke the potatoes (optional):
Transfer the potatoes onto a platter and remove them from the foil packet.
If you’d like to smoke the potatoes to punch up the flavors: On a charcoal grill, add 3 to 4 pieces of hickory wood chunks to the lit coals. On a gas grill, add the chips to a smoker box or perforated foil pouch over the lit burners.
Whether or not you choose to add smoke, place the unwrapped potatoes back on the grill over indirect heat. Close the lid and cook for about 15 minutes. The potatoes are ready when they are soft to the touch and the skin begins to wrinkle.
Transfer the potatoes onto a platter and serve warm.
Let leftover potatoes cool, then wrap them in foil and refrigerate them for up to 4 days. Baked potatoes do not freeze well.
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|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 4g||5%|
|Saturated Fat 1g||3%|
|Total Carbohydrate 46g||17%|
|Dietary Fiber 5g||17%|
|Total Sugars 3g|
|Vitamin C 20mg||101%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|