Potatoes Hit the Grill

Potatoes on the grill

First came the smoked potatoes with black garlic jam and ramp (wild leek) aioli at Bar Tartine in San Francisco.

Then the hickory-smoked potato soup—tarted up with buttermilk and sherry vinegar—at Mintwood Place in Washington, D.C.

And who could forget the smoked mashed potatoes at Wiley Dufresne’s iconoclastic eatery, WD-50 on New York’s Lower East Side?

Call it the latest outbreak of a smoke fever sweeping a nation hungry for barbecue that goes beyond meat.

Or call it the next big thing for one of the New World’s great vegetable gifts to Planet Barbecue: potatoes hit the grill.

Get the Quadruple Smoked Potatoes recipe.

Not that any of this comes as a surprise to members of this barbecue community. No, we’ve been smoking and grilling potatoes for decades.

What is it about spuds that makes them so irresistible for grilling?

  • Well, first, there’s the mild flavor—think of the potato as a sort of sponge (or blank canvas) that readily absorbs any smoke, spice, or fire flavor you throw at it.
  • Then there’s the texture—or more precisely, the contrast of textures. For a well-roasted potato offers the perfect contrast of crustiness on the outside and a luscious, luxurious, soft and creamy center.
  • Then there’s the potato’s natural affinity for the meats we love to smoke and grill: baking potatoes with steak; mashed potatoes with smoked meatloaf; potato salad with pork shoulder and spareribs.
  • Finally, there’s a potato’s incredible versatility—it’s delectable direct grilled, indirect grilled, smoke-roasted, smoked, roasted in the embers, and of course mashed and smashed.

February is National Potato Month. It’s not too late to celebrate. To get you started, here’s a smoke-roasted stuffed baked potato. In future blog posts, we’ll show you other cool ways potatoes hit the grill.

Quadruple Smoked Potatoes
Greek Garlic and Lemon Roasted Potatoes
Ember-Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Maple-Cinnamon Butter
Smashed Potatoes
Red, White, and Blue Potato Salad
Smoked Potatoes