Food & Recipes

A BBQ Pro Answers All Your Burning Questions About How to Grill Potatoes

by Rachael Ray Show Staff 2:13 PM, July 11, 2018

Aired July 11, 2018

When you put your grill to work in the warmer months, you're usually throwing a main dish on there -- like Spicy Brick Chicken, Barbecue Ribs, Nacho Burgers or Chipotle Grilled Fish Tacos.

But why not put your grill on double duty and use it to make your side dish, too? (After all, who wants to be stuck inside baking, roasting and frying on a hot oven when it’s nice out, are we right?!)

Not only do potatoes go with pretty much any main dish—but they’re also foolproof to grill AND cheap.

HOW DO YOU GRILL POTATOES?

"I suggest not just grilling, but smoke-roasting," grilling expert and the author of Project Fire, Steven Raichlen tells us.

Sounds fancy but it’s easy: smoke-roasting is basically just "grilling over indirect heat with wood chunks or chips on the coals to generate wood smoke, which adds an extra layer of flavor and of course reinforces the barbecue theme," he explains.

(Don't have a smoker? Get step-by-step instructions on how to turn your charcoal grill or gas grill into one!)

If you're grilling baking potatoes or large Yukon Gold potatoes, Raichlen recommends placing them directly on the grill grates.

But if you're opting for sliced spuds or smaller varieties like fingerlings or baby potatoes, put them in a foil pan and set on the grill grates or on skewers so they don’t fall through.

Using a foil pan over direct heat will help evenly brown the outsides of the potatoes. The end result? A blistered, crunchy exterior and creamy interior, the grilling pro explains.

Exhibit A of this method: our easy Grilled Potato Salad. (Watch one of our former culinary team members make it in the video above!)

DO YOU HAVE TO BOIL POTATOES BEFORE GRILLING?

This is a simple one: Raichlen says no. Fewer steps = score!

CAN YOU MAKE "BAKED POTATOES" ON THE GRILL?

Plain and simple: yes!

"Not only baked potatoes," Raichlen says, "but baked stuffed potatoes."

SHOULD YOU WRAP BAKED POTATOES IN FOIL BEFORE GRILLING THEM?

"NEVER foil," Raichlen stresses. Directly on the grill over indirect heat does the trick!

WHAT TYPES OF POTATOES ARE BEST FOR GRILLING?

Raichlen loves big baking potatoes brushed with bacon fat then smoke-roasted (grilled over indirect heat with wood chips).

His second favorite? Fingerlings smoke-roasted in a foil pan. *Drool*

HOW LONG DO YOU COOK POTATOES ON THE GRILL?

Thanks to Raichlen, behold your guide!

Baby, fingerlings, and halved new potatoes: 30 to 40 minutes in a foil pan

Raichlen says you can grill these over direct heat IF you watch them carefully to make sure they don’t burn. "Indirect heat lets you do it without worry," he says — but might not get quite as crispy or caramelized on the outside, depending on how hot your grill is.

Sliced: 20 to 30 minutes (tossed in oil and grilled over direct heat in foil pan)

Whole bakers (a.k.a. a large variety that’s traditionally considered good for baking, like a russet): 1 to 1 1/4 hours over indirect heat