At first, it might seem tricky to grill a
potato successfully, but fortunately potatoes are incredibly
accommodating. The delicious flavor and texture of a grilled potato is a
great reward for learning to manage one tiny problem: getting the
potato cooked on the inside before it burns on the outside.
Be the hero of your next cookout.
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be sure that you've got a grilled potato that's cooked through, follow
one of the methods I've detailed in the techniques below, depending on
what kind of potatoes you have and what else you're cooking. Each of
these techniques is completely adaptable to your own palate: once you've
tried the basic recipe, feel free to alter the seasonings as you like.
Soon you'll be perfecting your own versions of delicious grilled
potatoes—as habit-forming as the best mashed or roasted.
Technique #1: Par-cook potatoes before grilling for better control
It may seem like extra work, but I like to partially cook (by simmering) most potatoes before grilling them. Here's why: first, it cuts down on the final grilling time, so I can put the potatoes on just as I finish grilling the meat or whatever else I'm making. Since the potatoes are already mostly cooked, they only need to be seared over direct heat to create a golden brown crust. I'm mainly looking for visual clues to see when the potatoes are done, so I don't have to pay as much attention to them. I also don't have to cover the grill, so I can grill a steak at the same time. And if I'm entertaining, I can hand off the grilling to someone else, knowing they just have to look at the potatoes to know when they're done.
I especially like to use this method for dense-fleshed potatoes like Red Bliss and Yukon Gold. Grilled this way, they have almost the texture of french fries by the time they're done: golden on the outside, fluffy and cakey on the inside.
I always cut the potatoes before I simmer them (I like slices, but quarters and wedges work, too), and I let them drain well after simmering. I can do this ahead of time and leave them at room temperature while fixing the rest of dinner. Then, I coat the potatoes well with either oil and herbs or a combination of a little bit of mayonnaise and mustard, since the fats help keep the moisture inside the potatoes when they hit the grill, and also help to keep the tender flesh from sticking. While I think it works best to season your potatoes before you grill them, that doesn't mean you can't season them afterward, too, or use them in other recipes, such as Grilled Potato, Corn & Red Onion Salad over Arugula.