Monday, March 21, 2011

Grilled Potatoes

You've heard me say before that a good steak doesn't need much besides salt, pepper, and flame.

Bad steaks on the other hand require every trick in the book.  Salting, marinades, crazy rubs, finishing sauces, you name it.    Life is too short to waste time on bad beef.

I guess I've been spoiled lately.  We usually only buy USDA Choice grade at our house.  But at Kingsford University, I had flat iron, fillet, strip, & brisket from Snake River Farms.  Their products actually exceed USDA Prime category, more on that to come.  Then there was the Prime strip at Shula's last week.  I have been living in Beef Nirvana.  Then at SOMEONE in our house brought home some USDA Select grade ribeyes that were on sale this week.  They had no marbling.  And they were only 1" thick.  I wept. 

One of my best tips for dealing with crappy steaks (other than don't buy it)?  Misdirection.  Draw attention away from that beef in a "pay no attention to that man behind the curtain" way with great side dishes like these awesome grilled potatoes.

I adapted the basic process from this recipe at America's Test Kitchen and then changed it around to meet my tastes and ingredients on hand.

Grilled Potatoes

8-10 ea red bliss potatoes, halved
4-5 bamboo skewers
1/2 cup herb infused oil (see instructions for ideas)
kosher salt to taste
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
1/4 cup pecorino romano cheese, grated

Infused Oil
Their recipe had a process for making your own rosemary/garlic oil but then they have you strain the solids out.  I WANT the herbs and garlic roasted onto my potatoes, don't you?  Anyway, I was going to make my own oil when I found this in my cupboard.  

It was a gift from a neighbor at Christmas and thought I'd try it out.  I mixed it up according to directions and then added 1 Tbsp finely diced roasted red pepper and 2 Tbsp of the parsley.  

If you need to make your own oil, just simmer your choice of minced garlic, shallot, and herbs in a 1/2 cup of olive oil over medium/low heat until fragrant. Then add in some color and texture with finely diced parsley and red peppers.  Have fun with the combinations, this is your chance to make it YOUR dish. 

Par-cook Potatoes
Skewer the potato halves and poke each several times with a fork or skewer.  Brush with 2 Tbsp of the oil mixture and season liberally with kosher salt.  Microwave for 4 minutes, flip, and then microwave another 3 minutes.  What?  YES, I have a microwave.  Just because I grill all the time doesn't mean I'm a cave man. 

Grill Potatoes
Fire up the charcoal grill to 350-375f.  Brush 1/4 cup of the oil on the potatoes.  Grill cut side down until grill marks appear or the sides begin to brown (4-7 minutes depending on your grill's temps and hot spots).

Flip and grill another 7-10 minutes skin side down.  They are done when a sharp knife tip easily penetrates the sides.

Top with the grated cheese as soon as they come off the grill.  The results were a hit with us.  

In fact we made them twice in two days.   Last night, I served them with the ribeye and grilled zucchini.  (See?  I'm so ashamed of that crappy piece of steak that I hid it with a short depth of field and veggies!)

Just before going to bed last night, Alexis was talking about the potatoes wistfully and mentioned how good they would have been coarsely crushed into mashed potatoes.    How do you ignore that comment?  So today we did just that and topped them with mornay sauce made from the last of the Edam cheese I smoked over the winter.  Popped it under the broiler for about 5 minutes and voila!  

That was lunch today.  Just the potatoes.  And by "just" I mean, "Holy bleep, this tastes so friggin' good!"  Excuse my harsh language.


  1. Occasionally we get lured into a steak with a great price that doesn't turn out as expected Chris.

    However, potatoes ALWAYS turn out well no matter what you do. They're so "friggin' good" to use your (accurate) expression. Nothing finer.

  2. the potatoes look great! We have been spoiled with our beef lately too. We discovered a butcher shop that hand cuts USDA Prime filets - OMG! They are worth every penny!

  3. My sister would tell you she loves crappy steaks, just add some I-tell-yan salad dressing and its a keeper! LOL

    It all looks great to me, I want the seasonings!

  4. These are going on my list to try this weekend!

  5. Ah the humble spud, so much can be done with it and these look awesome!!

  6. Pretty sure I could make a meal...or three...from just these spuds. Yum!

  7. Hmmm I wonder who could have bought that less than par steak?....

    Well you more than made up for it with these potatoes. This would be the point where I take those skewers with them on em and run.

  8. Well, that's got fries beaten all to hell!

  9. Awesome photos. We've been living without a microwave for the last 3 weeks. Holy cow, who knew how dependent a person can be on one? Would love to know if you made a silk purse out of the the sow's ears ribeyes.

  10. I LOVE grilled potatoes...we have them at least twice a week :) I love the idea of using the skewers, so much easier and it keeps them from falling in between the grates. Yes, I've lost numerous potatoes that way....sigh!

  11. OH those potatoes are calling my name!! And smoked cheese, shut the front door, that sounds amazing!!!!

  12. Thanks for this post - I feel pretty comfortable with my reprotoire (no idea how to spell this) of meat to grill, but I'm woefully lacking when it comes to sides. They look delicious both ways.

  13. You know what they say, "once you had prime, you'll never go back". That is what they say isn't it? GREG

  14. Potato skewers - I love it! Bet the leftovers would be good in potato salad too. Nice save on the steak.

  15. Wow, I love this post. I am a big fan of potatoes and these are wonderful looking!!

  16. Okay, I'm fully convinced that you're trying to torture me with that last pic of the mashed potatoes and cheese. Holy crap does that look good!

    Also, I'm really loving the idea of skewering potatoes and grilling them (with the solids, of course). This is something I will be trying soon.

    Buying and choosing good meat is definitely a learning curve and sometimes the stores make it hard to see the whole product with all their stickers and such. I'm a big fan of angus, as far as beef goes. Seems like it's usually better than plain old beef.

  17. Oh my, oh my oh my my oh my, that impresses me

  18. I don't eat beef, but the boy does, and he is always SO frustrated if he gets a thin steak from the butcher.
    I do eat potatoes, and your grilled potatoes both sound and look delicious!

  19. Holy bleeping bleep! These look very very good, Chris. There oughtta be a law. I love the skewers and you can bet I'm going to try these.

  20. I've been wedging my potatoes on the grill and you can bet that I'll be halving them next time. They do look bleeping good Chris.

  21. These potatoes look incredible! I had now idea that you could microwave potatoes with oil on them. I am trying these tonight! Thanks, Chris!

    Kim in MD

  22. No new comments??! This cooking method was incredible as is the method for infusing your own oil. The BGE really worked well...a word of caution though. I had the potatoes right on the grate. I like smokey flavor, so didn't mind dripping olive oil into the lump and the smoke that ensued. My wife on the other hand wasn't a huge fan, so use something underneath if you don't want to impart an overly smokey flavor to the potatoes.