The Summer grilling season is officially here! Where I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, lots of people are starting to cook outside. The weather is great for it, and the days are long enough to grill outdoors well into the evening. Making hot dogs or hamburgers on the grill is easy. But if you want to grill a full meal, you’re going to need some side dishes.
There’s no reason to head back indoors to the kitchen to make sides, though. There are plenty of tasty sides you can make right on your gas grill while you cook up your main dish. One of my favorite sides to make is grilled new potatoes.
Potatoes on the grill? Yes, it sounds a little crazy. And grilled potatoes certainly aren’t as popular as a classic grilling vegetable like corn. But grilled new potatoes are delicious, hearty, and great to serve with grilled chicken or salmon.
Here’s how to cook perfect potatoes on your gas grill.
Get the Basics
You can make baked potatoes on your gas grill really easily. Just poke big Russet potatoes a few times, wrap them in tinfoil, and place them on a medium to cool part of your grill for 30 minutes or more.
This recipe isn’t for those kinds of potatoes, though. Here I’ll show you how to cook new potatoes (also called creamer potatoes) on your grill. We’ll use the heat of the grill to add a smoky, delicious flavor to the potatoes, not just to bake them.
To get started, you’ll need a bag of new potatoes or creamer potatoes. These are tiny potatoes about 1/2 inch in diameter.
You’ll also need a grill pan. These are metal pans with big holes that allow you to cook loose vegetables on the grill without them falling through the slats. You can get a grill pan at almost any major retailer. They come in lots of sizes and shapes, but I like a circular, high-sided one.
To cook perfect potatoes on your gas grill, I recommend going for simple seasonings. You’re going to add a ton of flavor through grilling, so there’s no need to go overboard on flavorings. Wash your potatoes, dry them off, and then sprinkle them with salt, pepper, and perhaps a bit of oregano or Italian seasoning. Use plenty of salt–a lot of it will fall off on the grill, and you still want the salt to add flavor to your potatoes.
Cheat (Only a Little)
Your next step might feel like a bit of a cheat. Put your potatoes into a microwave-safe container, and pop them in the microwave.
That’s not grilling, right? You might feel a little guilty, but starting the potatoes in the microwave is actually the absolute best way to get them super creamy inside, while keeping the outside crisp and crackling.
Why? Your microwave is a perfect steamer, cooking the potatoes from the inside out. It makes their insides nice and creamy, but it doesn’t brown the skins. That’s perfect for our goals. It allows you to cook the potatoes to perfection on your grill without drying out the skins. And your centers are already almost perfect, so you don’t need to struggle to get them creamy.
If you don’t start in the microwave, you’ll have to cook your potatoes way longer on the grill to get creamy centers. That risks drying out or even burning the exteriors. Trust me–it might feel wrong, but starting in the microwave is an ideal hack for getting perfect grilled potatoes.
I microwave for 5-7 minutes, but you can go as long as 10 minutes if you want really creamy interiors.
Onto the Grill
Now, let’s get that grill involved! Start by preheating your grill on medium heat, achieving a temperature of around 400 degrees. Spray your potatoes with cooking spray.
Pop your grill pan onto the grill, and drop in your potatoes.
Cover your grill, and adjust the burners to maintain a temperature of around 400 degrees. You can keep direct heat under the potatoes–just check periodically to make sure they’re not burning, and keep your burner on Medium or Medium-Low.
Direct heat helps to crisp up the skin and brown the potatoes, adding a ton of flavor.
Use tongs to stir the potatoes periodically.
Keep cooking your potatoes until the skins start to get a little wrinkly, but aren’t burned, and the insides are totally creamy and not crunchy or hard. You can test your potatoes by poking them with a fork or cutting one in half and tasting it. Careful, they’re hot!
Finishing and Serving
When your potatoes are done, carefully lift your grill pan using oven mitts and pour your potatoes into a serving dish. They’re awesome served with some butter or olive oil, but they’re plenty flavorful enough to eat plain, too.
Again, our quick stop in the microwave makes the interiors of these potatoes perfectly creamy, and not rock-hard or crunchy like many grilled potatoes you see. The small size of each potato helps this, too. Because we cook these over direct heat, the outsides are crisp, and your potatoes will pick up smoky flavors from the grill, especially if you grill them alongside meat.
These easy grilled potatoes are the perfect complement to grilled salmon, steak, chicken, or basics like burgers and hot dogs. Enjoy them at your next cookout!