These Are The Best Potatoes To Use For Grilling

Skillet of potatoes on grill
Skillet of potatoes on grill - Lauripatterson/Getty Images

The return of the nice weather means many things, but, most importantly, it means the grill gets uncovered and put back into regular use. While it's definitely a favorite for cooking most kinds of meats, it's absolutely brilliant for sides, too -- particularly potatoes. From tender baked potatoes to grilled scalloped potatoes and everything in between, turning to the grill is a great option for cooking spuds. That said, there's a ton of different varieties of potatoes you might pick up on any given trip to the grocery store, so here's the question: Are some potatoes better for grilling than others?

It turns out not all potatoes were created equal ... at least, when it comes to grilling. Different potato varieties have different properties, including size, starchiness, and waxiness. What does that mean? Those properties impact the texture of the potatoes, as well as how well they're going to hold together -- or break apart -- during different cooking means. Since there are a few different ways to grill potatoes, let's take a look at what's going to be the best for each of these favorite methods.

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Use Waxy Potatoes For Direct Grilling

Red and purple potatoes
Red and purple potatoes - Bondas Olga/Getty Images

Let's say you're placing your potatoes directly on the grill for that perfect sear. For this type of grilling, larger potatoes will work best, as turning fist-sized potatoes will prove easier than, say, flipping 1- to 3-inch fingerlings. However, there's another thing to consider in addition to a potato's size, and that's the potato's waxiness.

Waxy potatoes, like red potatoes, have less starch content, which is key to grilling potatoes directly on a grill. Potatoes with less starch in them will hold their shape better, which means they'll be less likely to fall apart (and through the grate) when cooked directly on -- and handled directly from - a grill.

So, what potatoes fit this description? The good news is that it's easy to tell at a glance because of the spuds' colors. Red potatoes, purple potatoes, along with other heirloom varieties, all tend to be on the waxy side, which, again, is what you're looking for in a potato, in addition to size, when it comes to direct grilling.

Go With Fingerlings For Grilling In Foil

Variety of fingerling potatoes
Variety of fingerling potatoes - Olga Bondas/Shutterstock

There are plenty of recipes that call for wrapping potatoes (either whole, sliced, or diced) in aluminum foil (with seasoning and even vegetables) for grilling. For these types of recipes, fingerling potatoes, which measure 1 to 2 inches in diameter and up to 3 inches long, make for a great option. Since they're a waxy variety, the spuds (as discussed above) will hold up well to the grilling/steaming process (inside the foil packet).

This said, for anyone who doesn't want their potatoes steamed on the grill (as some argue this method results in less-fluffy potatoes), then you can opt for grilling the potatoes in a skillet/pan instead. Inside of foil, potatoes will definitely cook via steam, and they'll cook more quickly, too -- though take longer than direct grilling. If you're looking for a grill-it-and-forget-it sort of side, though, this might be the way to go. Grilling potatoes in foil take about 25 to 30 minutes.

Grill Sweet Potatoes For Variety

Hands holding sweet potatoes basket
Hands holding sweet potatoes basket - Piyaset/Shutterstock

Potatoes are almost infinitely customizable, but there's nothing wrong with adding just a little more variety, like with a sweet potato, which can offer your summertime offerings a sweet, natural kick. Grilling, meanwhile, offers a healthier way of enjoying the popular tuberous root than, say, (deep) frying them.

To grill sweet potatoes, slice them into rounds or fries, and add just a dash of seasoning. Try some avocado oil and black pepper, or your favorite rub. This is also a great way to tie a meal together by using the same seasonings, rubs, or flavor profiles on meat and your grilled sides.

While both potatoes and sweet potatoes -- which are actually only distant relatives -- come with their own health benefits, sweet potatoes can actually be better for those who have concerns over balancing their blood sugar levels, given the sweet potato's lower glycemic index (via Healthline). They're also high in vitamin A.

Read the original article on The Daily Meal