Preparing baked potatoes on the grill is an easy and convenient way to add potatoes to a summertime menu. Using the grill instead of the oven keeps the kitchen cool and lets you cook everything in one place with minimal mess. Gas grills also provide a nice, even heat that cooks the potatoes evenly. Try one of the methods below for a yummy baked potato on the grill.
The foil method is the most common way to prepare baked potatoes. Start by gently washing the potatoes to remove any dried dirt, and pierce them with a fork or toothpick to allow steam to escape. Wrap the potatoes tightly in aluminum foil and place them on the grill. Close the lid and cook for about 30 to 40 minutes. Larger potatoes will take longer, so be sure to plan accordingly if you are grilling other vegetables or meat. A top rack comes in handy for baked potatoes. If the grill does not have a top rack, place them in the back or away from direct flames.
For added flavor, some cooks prefer to coat either the potato or the inside of the foil with a bit of cooking oil or salad dressing. Feel free to experiment with flavored oils or added spices such as rosemary or garlic powder.
Direct Method (No Foil)
Using foil yields better results, but it’s not necessary. To bake potatoes directly on the grill, wash and pierce the potatoes as described above and simply put them on the grill or top rack. Brushing the potato with oil prior to baking is highly recommended, as plain potato skins tend to get too dry. Without foil or a crispy oil coating, the inside of the potato can easily turn to mush. Seasoned oil or an oil-based salad dressing adds a bit of extra flavor to a no-foil baked potato.
Whichever method you choose, turn the potatoes over about half way through the cooking time. You can check to see if the potato is thoroughly cooked by piercing it with a fork or knife: It is done as soon as the fork goes through easily all the way to the center. To ensure that all the potatoes are done at the same time, use potatoes that are uniform in size. If you choose to use the foil method, make sure to wrap each potato individually. Wrapping several potatoes together will result in uneven cooking and alternating dry and soggy spots.
To speed up the cooking process without turning on the kitchen oven, you can microwave the potatoes for a minute or two before grilling (make sure they have been properly vented first). In addition to being a quick and easy method (no boiling, peeling or chopping), baking on the grill is one of the healthiest ways to serve potatoes. They are naturally fat-free and low in calories, and because you simply throw the foil away, there are no extra pots or pans to clean up. Russet potatoes will usually have the best interior texture, but any kind of potato can be cooked on the grill including fingerlings and sweet potatoes.