Baked potatoes are one of the essential side dishes at barbecues and family get-togethers all summer long. The problem is that making baked potatoes in the kitchen heats up the house a little too much once the weather warms up outside. Not only does making baked potatoes on the grill keep your house cool in the summer, but you'll also find that potatoes on the grill are even more tender and fluffy than classic baked potatoes.
The Best Potatoes for Grilling
In our opinion, the only potato perfect for grilling is a medium-sized Russet potato. These are starchy potatoes with a thick skin that crisps nicely on the grill. The most common is the Russet Burbank, a dark-skinned variety with few eyes and an oblong shape. This is the potato variety most popular for making french fries and accounts for the majority of potatoes used in the U.S.
If you are looking to try something a little different than the same old Russet potato, try Yukon gold potatoes. These are also a starchy potato, but have thinner skin and a lighter color.
The Difference Between Russet and Idaho
You may see potatoes that look like Russets but are called Idaho potatoes. Idaho potatoes are typically Russet potatoes that are grown in Idaho. In order to use the Idaho name, the potatoes must meet specific standards established by the Idaho Potato Commission.
Potatoes to Avoid for Baking
Waxy potatoes don't work as well for baking as starchy potatoes. Red potatoes, blue potatoes, and fingerling potatoes are poor choices because you'll end up with a sticky, gooey texture rather than the light, fluffy insides you want.
How to Prep Potatoes for Grilling
Selecting potatoes for baking starts with choosing good potatoes. Look for evenly sized and shaped potatoes that are free of deep eyes, bruises, and mushy spots. You also want to feel the potatoes, they should be firm all over. If the potato is squishy or soft, throw it out.
Thoroughly wash the potatoes making sure to get the eyes well to remove any trace of dirt. A stiff nylon brush or a clean dish rag works great for cleaning vegetables including potatoes. Pat them dry with paper towels and set aside until you are ready.
Should I soak my potatoes before grilling?
When you make potatoes in the oven, it is advised to soak the potatoes in cold water for about 30 minutes prior to baking. This is done because oven potatoes aren't baked in foil, so the soaking helps to draw starches to the surface and aid in the spuds getting done completely.
Getting Potatoes Ready for Grilling
Now that your potatoes are clean and dry, it's time to get them ready for the grill. Start with pieces of aluminum foil large enough to fully wrap the potatoes. Using a fork or some type of poking instrument, pierce the skin in several places all around the potato. This will allow moisture to release as the potato cooks on the grill, giving you the fluffy insides that you want.
Oiling the Potatoes
Use a high-quality oil for grilling baked potatoes. We prefer avocado oil or grape seed oil for potatoes. Vegetable oil will work, but it isn't the best and can leave a sticky texture. Olive oil is also a good choice if you like the flavor of cooked olive oil.
Seasoning the Potatoes
Here is the thing that makes grilled baked potatoes the best thing ever – seasoning the skins. You can keep it simple and go with coarse salt, black pepper, and a little garlic powder. Our favorite thing to do is roll the potatoes in one of our favorite Bearded Butcher Blend Seasoning.
The Original is kind of our go-to, but two of our newest seasoning flavors are also excellent. Try using our Zesty seasoning for a tangy zing or our fabulous Butter seasoning to take the flavor over the top. Be sure to coat all of the outside of the potatoes.
Wrap the Potatoes
We use heavy-duty aluminum foil for our potatoes on the grill. Instead of wrapping the potatoes tightly, we sort of wrinkle the foil up and loosely wrap them, but make sure to get the potatoes completely wrapped. This lets the heat from the potato escape and gives the steam somewhere to go so that it doesn't make the skin soft.
Some people poke holes in the foil, typically after wrapping. We don't because this tends to push little pits of aluminum foil into the potato and that isn't our favorite thing. Loosely wrapping lets heat escape and promotes a crispy skin.
Preheating the Grill
You'll want your grill to be fairly hot, just like you would if you are doing the potatoes in the oven. Aim for about 450-500 degrees. Because the potatoes are wrapped, it isn't totally necessary to use indirect heat, but you should place the potatoes on the upper level of the grill to keep them from overheating.
How to Tell When Your Potatoes Are Done
The age-old method of testing to see if a baked potato is ready is to stab that sucker with a paring knife. If the blade slides in easily, the potato is done. This method works, but just like piercing the foil, you risk pushing foil into the potato.
Let it Steam
When you wrap your potatoes loosely before grilling, it is easy to find a seam and carefully open it up so that you can test the potato without compromising the aluminum foil. Since you are at it, there is an even better way than using a knife: a meat thermometer.
Internal Temperature for Baked Potatoes on the Grill
Using an instant-read thermometer lets you nail the perfect level of doneness and gives you consistent, guess-free deliciousness. The ideal temp for baked potatoes on the grill is 215 degrees.
How Long Do You Grill Baked Potatoes For?
At medium-high heat and with the potatoes on the top rack, they should be done in about an hour. You can gently squeeze potatoes on the grill and they will be close to done when the potatoes are getting tender.
Epic Grilled Baked Potato Ideas
Let's talk about a few things you can do to take the basic baked potato on the grill to the next level.
Substitute Oil for Butter
Here is a great way to add tons of flavor – use butter instead. Salted butter is one of our favorite ingredients to use and it helps make a crispy skin with that perfect buttery flavor. Take it even further and mix a little smoked garlic into melted butter before rolling your potatoes in it. The entire potato will take on a unique smoky flavor you can't get otherwise.
Bacon Drippings are Great
Want to take things a step beyond butter? Try using bacon drippings instead. Bacon drippings will give your potato a unique flavor that makes the skins probably the best part of the potato.
Add Some Extra Flavor
After rolling the potatoes in oil, butter, or bacon grease, add finely chopped herbs. Chives, dill, and fresh tarragon all make excellent choices. Any of your favorite toppings and herbs that you use for the best baked potatoes are good choices.
Hasselback Grilled Baked Potato
Hasselback potatoes are an excellent way to mix things up and create a stunning side dish that is delicious. The trick is to slice the potatoes almost all the way through with a sharp knife in thin slices, but not completely. Next, pour melted butter over the potato while gently separating the slices.
Grilled Baked Potatoes Recipe
- 4-6 Russet potatoes
- Bearded Butcher Blend Seasoning to taste
- Cooking oil like grape seed, avocado, or olive oil
- Aluminum foil
- Wash and clean Russet potatoes, making sure to clean the eyes.
- Pierce the skins in several places.
- Roll in oil and seasoning.
- Loosely wrap in aluminum foil covering all sides.
- Bake on a medium-high heat grill on the upper rack with the lid closed for about one hour until fork-tender. Test with an instant-read thermometer. Internal temperature should hit 210-215 degrees.
Making baked potatoes on the grill is a great way to get the perfect texture and crispy skin. The cooking process gives you fluffy, tender, and delicious potatoes and there are lots of ways to add intense flavor perfect for the combination of crispy and fluffy and buttery that makes potatoes one of the top side dishes all summer long.