Quadruple Smoked PotatoesSteven Raichlen
If you like smoke, you’re going to love these smoked potatoes. The flavor comes at you from all directions—smoky bacon, smoked cheddar cheese, pimentón (Spanish smoked paprika), and of course, smoke-roasting the whole potatoes on the grill.
Note: You can certainly smoke the potatoes in a smoker. I prefer indirect grilling with wood smoke—the higher temperature gives you crisper skin.
Quadruple Smoked Potatoes
- Yield: Makes 8 halves, enough to serve 4 to 8
- Equipment: 1-1/2 cups hardwood chips (preferably the Best of Barbecue Smoking Wood Chips for Seafood and Vegetables), soaked in water to cover for 30 minutes, then drained; Best of Barbecue Potato Grilling Rack (optional); Best of Barbecue Insulated Food Gloves
- 4 large baking potatoes (12 to 14 ounces)
- 4 strips artisanal bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slivers
- 1 tablespoon bacon fat (from below), melted butter, or extra-virgin olive oil
- Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the stuffing:
- 5 tablespoons butter at room temperature
- 4 tablespoons finely chopped scallions
- 2 cups coarsely grated smoked cheddar cheese (about 8 ounces)
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- Pimentón (smoked paprika) for sprinkling
Step 1: Set up your grill for indirect grilling and preheat to medium (350 degrees). Brush and oil the grill grate.
Step 2: Scrub the potatoes on all sides with a vegetable brush. Rinse well and blot dry with paper towels. Prick the potato skin 3 or 4 times with a fork.
Step 3: Cook the bacon: Place it in a cold skillet and fry over medium heat until browned and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. (You can do this on the grill grate, on a side burner, or on the stovetop.) Transfer the bacon pieces to a large mixing bowl. Leave the bacon fat in the pan.
Step 4: Brush or rub the potato on all sides with the bacon fat and season generously with salt and pepper.
Step 5: Place the potatoes on the grill over the drip pan away from the heat. Toss the wood chips on the coals or place in your gas grill’s smoker box. Smoke-roast the potatoes until tender, 1 to 1-1/2 hours. To test for doneness, pierce a potato through the top with a slender metal or bamboo skewer. It should pierce easily. Transfer the potatoes to a cutting board. Remove from the potato rack, if using.
Step 6: Cut each potato in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scrape out most of the potato flesh, leaving a 1/4-inch thick layer next to the skin. (Note: It’s easier to scoop the potatoes when they are hot. Insulated food gloves will protect your hands.) Very roughly chop the scooped potato and place in the mixing bowl with the bacon.
Step 7: Add the 4 tablespoons butter, the scallions, and 1-1/2 cups grated cheese and gently stir to mix. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the sour cream and salt and pepper to taste: The mixture should be highly seasoned. Stir as little as possible so as to leave some texture to the potatoes.
Step 8: Stuff the potato mixture back into the potato skins, mounding it in the center. Sprinkle each potato with the remaining cheese and top with a thin slice of butter (from the remaining 1 tablespoon). Sprinkle each stuffed potato with pimentón. The potatoes can be prepared up to 24 hours ahead to this stage, covered and refrigerated.
Step 9: Just before serving, reheat the potatoes on your grill until browned and bubbling, 15 to 20 minutes, or as needed. (If the potatoes have been refrigerated, allow 25 to 30 minutes for reheating.)