Hearth Baked Potatoes: Part Deux

Last month I posted an article about baking potatoes in a wood stove (the one that heats your house) rather than wasting the energy of firing up the oven in the kitchen as well. I got some great responses suggesting it’s tastier when you lose the foil (thank you Tartelette). So, we tried it out. I baked bright garnet yams and russet potatoes both ways to see which we liked more.

I’ve come to some conclusions. It’s true, you get much more of a smoked flavor deep into the potato without the foil, but the skin gets all charred and not good eats, so you have to sacrifice it. So, with russets (where I love to eat the skin as well) I prefer to bake them in the ash, wrapped in foil. Still get the smoky flavor, without all the unsavory ash between the teeth.

Hearth Baked Yams

Yams, bright and orange and so full of the flavors of a campfire, all it needs is a little butter

With the yams (where I don’t like to eat the skins) the charred flavor really comes through, and I only sacrifice skin I wouldn’t have eaten anyway. All the great flavor, and nothing lost. So, THIS is the definitive answer…for me. Now I know just the perfect way to bake my various potatoes. I love the feedback you guys give, since everyone has different experiences of life and we all have so much to learn from each other. Thanks again!

9 thoughts on “Hearth Baked Potatoes: Part Deux”

  1. … but the skin gets all charred and not good eats…
    It’s secret guest writer Alton Brown!!! Hi!!! I’m a big fan! Okay, not big, but you’re great. 😛

    Another plus to avoiding eating the ash is you keep the potential carcinogens down 🙂

  2. Manggy – Okay, okay. My husband Marc made a snarky Alton remark when I read him the post, but I said, “Hey, Alton doesn’t have a monopoly on the use of that term, does he?!” Based on your comment…yes, yes he does. 😉

    As for the carcinogens…I suppose, but people ate things right from the fire more thousands of years, and cancer is a rather modern disease, so I’m not too worried. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. The problem with foil is you end up steaming the potato, and, as you said, not getting the extra flavor. Another thing to do, though, is, if you can clear a small area, put the potatoes in with hot coals on each side, so you don’t have the fire directly on the potato. You’ll get a drier skin (read crispier), and the smoky flavor will be there, but no ash or charring need be present.

    You can also do a combo-cook. Start them off exposed, then foil them and finish them off after they absorb some smokiness.

  4. JEP – Thanks! Mmmm…baked sweet potatoes (said with Homer moan). One of my favorite things, made even tastier with a little time in the coals.

    Curt – Thanks for your insight. I didn’t put them directly in the fire, but they get crispy in the wood stove from being near the cast iron sides. Plus, it’s such a small wood stove, that the whole bottom is covered in a few inch layer of ash since a fire is burning just about 24/7 lately. Even with the foil, there is quite a bit of the smokiness that comes through. I find it to be quite a bit tastier, even with the foil on, than with a regular gas flame in a newfangled oven. Thanks again 🙂

  5. Those are beautiful, Bri. Imagine the possibilities – Sour cream, Chives, Yoghurt; You’re inspiring.

  6. I LOVE baked sweet potatoes, and they sound even better coming from the woodstove. Thanks for the idea!

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