Barbecue Tips: Sweet Potatoes Cooked in the Coals
Our summer season has been filled with pool parties and a lot of barbecues. Grilling vegetables and meat is what usually makes the meals, but who doesn’t love all the yummy side dishes as well? If you’re looking to make something besides potato or pasta salad, here’s a delicious and not-so-ordinary suggestion: baked sweet potatoes, cooked in the coals or in ashes.
Sweet potatoes are much healthier than regular potatoes and the kids love to scoop out he smooth and velvety sweetness. I usually serve them with molasses-cinnamon butter (1 tablespoon molasses, ½ teaspoon freshly ground cinnamon and 6 tablespoons salted butter). We always make this dish whether it's during a barbecue, a fire camp or in the fireplace during the winter.
There are a few rules to ensure the perfect baked sweet potatoes:
Make sure to start with new coals and remove and discard any old ashes.
If you cook the sweet potatoes in coals, make sure to tightly, wrap them individually in aluminum foil. If you're using wood chips, you can place the sweet potatoes directly in the fire.
When building the fire in the barbecue, do not use lighter fluid as it could be dangerous and would so alter the flavor. Place the coals in a pyramid shape to provide good air circulation.
After about 30 minutes, almost all the coals should turn into grey ashes. Once the fire has reached a steady temperature, bury the whole, unpeeled sweet potatoes in the ashes and bake them for 45 minutes, up to an hour, rotating the potatoes every now so they cook evenly. When cooking the potatoes in the ashes, it's not necessary to wrap them in aluminum foil.
Check for doneness. The inside should be soft without falling apart. If not, cook them for an additional 20 minutes.
Remove the sweet potatoes from the ashes. Once they're cool enough to handle, brush the ashes from the skin. Check doneness by pressing down on the potato using a small spoon (or your thumb), if it leaves a visible mark and the potato is soft, it's done.
My last tip is to add sprigs of rosemary to the ashes for a nice aroma.
Serve with a pat of molasses-cinnamon flavored butter.
Slit in half using a sharp knife, lengthwise and enjoy!