Sweet potatoes have a particular affinity for the grill. The long, hot cooking caramelizes the sweet potatoes, and they get a touch of smoky flavor as well. They make a great mashed sweet potato.
I like to play on the smoky taste by adding a little chipotle puree.* Also, I love the touch of heat chipotle brings to the dish – it goes really well with the sweet flavor of the potato and brown sugar.
*I learned this trick from Alton Brown.
Grilled mashed sweet potatoes are a great side dish. If you’re going to have the grill going for an hour to cook a roast, why not throw some sweet potatoes on there while you’re at it?
- Grill (I used a Weber Summit 650. Here it is.)
- 2 large sweet potatoes
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tsp pureed chipotle pepper (optional)
- Salt and Pepper
1. Prepare the Sweet Potatoes: Rinse off the sweet potatoes, and poke them with a fork a few times.
2. Prepare the grill: Set your grill up for indirect cooking at medium to high heat. For my Weber Summit, this means turning the two outer burners (burners 1 and 6) to high, and leaving the middle burners unlit.
3. Cook the Sweet Potatoes: Put the sweet potatoes over the unlit burners (indirect heat) and cook with the lid closed for 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the thickness of your sweet potato. They’re done when they can be pierced easily with a paring knife.
*They’re almost impossible to overcook. When in doubt, cook them longer. You want absolutely no resistance when you poke the sweet potato – the knife should glide right through.
4. Mash the Sweet Potatoes: Remove the sweet potatoes from the grill, and let rest for 5-10 minutes to cool. Cut in half, and remove the skin. (This works best for me if I put them cut side down on a plate and squeeze the skin off; it lifts right off the potato.) Put the potatoes in a bowl, add the sugar, butter and optional chipotle pepper. Mash and stir until thoroughly combined. Add salt and pepper to taste.
*Maple syrup: substitute 2 tbsp maple syrup for the brown sugar.
*Cinnamon: Add 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon with the brown sugar, butter and chipotle.
*Marshmallows: Don’t do it!
*OK, if you insist, top with some mini-marshmallows…
*Over direct heat: If you don’t have room for indirect heat, you can cook the potatoes directly over the flame. Cook them over medium heat, rotating a quarter turn every 15 minutes, and expect some of the outside of the potato to be burnt. When you’re mashing them, just scoop the unburnt middle of the potato out.
*Steven Raichlen has an extreme version of this. Forget indirect grilling. Forget direct grilling, even. He cooks his sweet potatoes in the coals of a charcoal fire.
*This is one of my favorite Thanksgiving side dishes. I’ll make a double or triple batch earlier in the day, and reheat them for Thanksgiving dinner. I put them in a oven-safe baking dish, cover with foil, and reheat at 350*F for about 30 minutes, or until warm in the center.
*If you like smooth sweet potatoes, puree them in a food processor instead of mashing. I like them a bit more rustic, so I go with the potato masher. Unlike regular potatoes, sweet potatoes can be pureed in a food processor – you get a smooth puree, not a gluey, gummy mess.
*Sweet potatoes are almost impossible to overcook; they just get sweeter. A little blackened outside, like you see in my pictures, is just good flavor – it gives the mashed sweet potatoes a smoky taste. If you do manage to burn the outside, scoop the un-burnt section out of the middle of the potato.
Questions? Comments? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
Jaime Purviance – Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Grilled Onions – Weber’s Big Book of Grilling
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