Potatoes Hit 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.
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.
- We smoke-roasted baking potatoes in How to Grill. (Some of us stuffed them with bacon or brisket, barbecue sauce, and sour cream.)
- We indirect-grilled Greek-style new potatoes with lemon, dill, and garlic in The Barbecue! Bible.
- We made smoked potato salad in Best Ribs Ever.
- We smashed smoke-roasted potatoes Uruguayan style in Planet Barbecue!
- And of course we made the granddaddy of all potato dishes—sweet potatoes and yams cooked caveman-style—roasted directly on the embers.
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.
GET THE RECIPES:
Quadruple Smoked Potatoes
Greek Garlic and Lemon Roasted Potatoes
Ember-Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Maple-Cinnamon Butter
Red, White, and Blue Potato Salad