How to Cook Potatoes Directly on the Grill or Barbecue

Cooking potatoes directly on the grill or barbecue is a fabulous way to save time and avoid having to boil or bake them separately.

We are not talking about various cheat methods such as wrapping the potatoes in foil or cooking them in a covered or open pan, or in an enclosed barbecue oven. You may as well just cook them in the oven. Try grilling them uncovered, directly on the hot plate or grill itself.

What we are talking about here is cooking them by grilling them naked over flames, hot charcoal or on a barbecue hot plate or griddle.

If you have tried this you will be aware that many things can go wrong: they take too long to cook even if you parboil them.

They shatter and break up when you try to turn them over.

They are burnt on the outside, but are raw inside.

Cooking them in foil produces boiled or steamed potatoes, without the desired barbecue taste and crisp outer skin or layer.

Don't despair, you can have beautifully cooked potatoes by following the ideals and tips presented in this article. Get fabulous, perfect grilled potatoes every time!

Baking Potatoes in their Jackets on the Barbecue or Grill

The best way to roast or bake potatoes is to directly place clean potatoes with their skins on directly into the oven, without wrapping them in foil. Prick them with a fork first to stop them exploding or breaking apart. You can do the same thing on a grill or barbecue, but you need to turn them frequently, have low heat and allow lots of time - 30-60 minutes depending on the size of the potatoes. Choosing very small potatoes is best as they can be cooked quicker and being thinner they are easier to cook right through. Do potatoes this way tales no longer than if you wrap them in foil and they taste much better. The potatoes are done when a fork pierces to the center easily.

Grilling Thick Potato Slices on a Grill or Barbecue

You can cook potato slices on the grill or barbecue. This means that the potato will cook quicker than a whole potato. However, to do this successfully make sure the slices are thick- about 1/4 to 1/2 inch (1-2cm) thick is ideal. Many people try to cook thinner slices, which break apart or fall through the grill. These thin slices cook too quickly and there is no time for the outer crust to thicken and harden. Ironically this process tends to hold the slices together, as well as adding to the taste. So when grilling potatoes, make the slices thick enough not to fall through and disintegrate, but thin enough to cook quickly.

Grilling Potato Wedges on a Grill or Barbecue

Wedges are easily made by slicing the potatoes in half, then again lengthwise into thickish wedges (don’t make them too thin). These wedges are easy to handle on the grill. If they are kept large enough and orientated across the grate, they won't fall through. You need to cook them slowly and turn frequently. The cooking temperate needs to be just right.

Parboiling Large Potatoes and Slicing in Half to Grill

Although parboiling is not generally recommended as it makes the potato taste bland and becomes too moist it is probably the only option for very large potatoes. Leave the skin on and cut the potatoes into halves or quarters. Boil the potatoes for about 15-20 minutes until they are about half cooked. Then drain and cook tem as described for the potato wedges.

Using a Combination of Cooking in Foil, then Direct Grilling

If you must foil wrap your potatoes, then wrap and cook them for about 20-25 minutes, depending on the size or the potatoes. But you only want to half cook them. They should just barely yield to the press of a fork. Remember that cooking them in foil is equivalent to boiling or steaming them, so to get the grilled taste and texture you need to finish them off of the grill of barbecue. Remove them from the foil and finish cooking them using the methods described above. The means that you will get the nice crisp, and crunchy outer layer with the smoky tang, while the inside will be soft and fluffy.

Cooking Potatoes in a Basket on the Grill or Barbecue

You can use a vegetable basket designed for the grill or barbecue to cook potatoes. This helps to keep them together for moving around as the temperature changes. It also makes it easier to flip them over in a batch.

Cooking Sweet Potatoes on a Grill and Barbecue

The process for cooking sweet potatoes is much the same, except they will have to be peeled and cut into pieces. The outer layer will dry and form a crust, not quite like potatoes, but nevertheless tasty and interesting. Some people don’t like the outer skin, but the flesh inside can be easily scooped out with a fork.

There is nothing so enjoyable as a potato cooked to perfection is its jacket
There is nothing so enjoyable as a potato cooked to perfection is its jacket. Source: Public Domain
Grilling potatoes provides the best combination of crisp outer skin and fluffy interior that is not too moist. Perfect for small whole potatoes, halves and wedges
Grilling potatoes provides the best combination of crisp outer skin and fluffy interior that is not too moist. Perfect for small whole potatoes, halves and wedges. Source: Public Domain
Fabulous potatoes add to a wonderful barbecue meal
Fabulous potatoes add to a wonderful barbecue meal. Source:,_Bayswater,_London_%283860463110%29.jpg
Beautiful grilled potatoes
Beautiful grilled potatoes pairs so well with grilled or baked rare meats. Source: