Smoked Sweet Potato: a loaded, smoked sweet potato for the ages

The Trashed Sweet Potato: smoked sweet potato with the works

I just recently started liking sweet potatoes, specifically smoked sweet potatoes.  I had this weird aversion to them as a kid, but as an adult, I’m finding (as with other foods) that I’m liking them much more.

This particular recipe is sure to be an autumn classic; to top it off, it’s vegetarian, so your less-carnivorous friends will certainly be able to enjoy this. It makes use of apples, onions, and green peppers to make the topping, and we applied some food science from our friends at America’s Test Kitchen to get the most flavor out of the sweet potato.

The Origin

This is another recipe inspired by the Acquisitions Intoxicated Twitch show. The Penny Arcade crew designed a beer for Holly Conrad’s character, Stryx the Trash Witch. (Go listen to the podcast here and here, and watch her at PAX West to see how awesome she is with this character and cosplay.) The beer, a monstrous Imperial Stout (and I mean “monstrous” in a complimentary way) lends itself to pairing with a more rustic plate. As Holly is vegetarian, I went that route with this recipe, and the Trashed Sweet Potato was born.

The Science

The trick to getting the best flavor out of the sweet potato is to allow it to cook at a near-boiling temperature for some time so that the water held inside evaporates, and the flavors have time to condense into a complex, caramelesque pallet. As with most things on a smoker, this will take some time, but the wait will be well worth it.

Crank It Up

If you want to elevate this to another level, season the apples and onions with Saint Brian’s BBQ Zombie Blend spice rub prior to grilling. The Caribbean jerk spices will really brighten up the flavors, and will add another layer of complexity to the whole dish.

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Smoked Sweet Potato: a loaded, smoked sweet potato for the ages
A sweet potato, smoked to perfection, and loaded with a tasty apple hash
smoked-sweet-potato
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Passive Time 10 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Passive Time 10 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
smoked-sweet-potato
Instructions
  1. Preheat your smoker to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Combine the water and salt in a bowl and stir until the salt is mostly dissolved. (Slightly warming the water will help with this process.)
  3. Prick the sweet potatoes 3 times with a fork, turn a quarter turn, and repeat until you've pricked it 12 times. Roll the potatoes in the brine.
  4. Place the sweet potatoes on the smoker, and insert a remote probe into one of them. Add your desired wood to start creating smoke. (For this recipe, I used pecan.) The goal here is to get the sweet potatoes to 200 degrees internal temperature (this takes about 2 hours), and then hold them there for an hour.
  5. Core and slice the apples into 1/2" slices. Peel the outer skin off of the onion, and slice into 1/2" rings, keeping the cross section of the onions intact.
  6. Heat your grill or barbecue to high, and set up for direct grilling. Oil the grates, and place the apple slices, onion slices, and bell peppers on the grill. Cook apples and onions until just they just start to caramelize, about 4 minutes per side. Grill the peppers until the skin blisters, turning to get an even cook on all sides.
  7. Finely mince the peppers and onion. Finely chop the apples. Toss in a bowl, adding salt and pepper to taste.
  8. When the sweet potatoes have been smoked at 200 degrees internal temperature for one hour, remove them and immediately cut a "x" into the top. This will allow the steam to escape and prevent the flesh from getting waterlogged and soggy.
  9. After allowing the sweet potatoes to cool for 10 minutes, gently open the skin some more so that there is exposed flesh and a place for the hash. Spoon the hash onto the flesh, and sprinkle on the Gruyere. Place back on the grill for 2-3 minutes to melt the cheese. Serve hot.
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Grilled Chicken Gyros

As Alton Brown says, “I never send breast to do what thighs could do better (and cheaper).” Grilled chicken gyros are no exception. You get a juicier piece of meat that works much better as a leftover (chicken breasts tend to get dry and I find they don’t taste as good on day 2) with the added benefit of being kissed by fire, imparting that flavor into the dish. I also find that cooking with the skin on and the bone in helps with keeping the chicken moist.

PRO TIP: don’t bother trying to cut the bone out.  Let the chicken cool, and then bone it caveman style. Just slide your finger along the bone and pull the meat off.  It’s much easier to do than attempting to cut it out, and it saves your blade from dulling on the bone. You also look much cooler doing it that way.

PRO TIP #2: If you really want to kick this up a notch, fire roast the tomato as well. Cook it whole over direct heat turning a few times to just get a char on all sides. If you char it too much, the skin will just slide off (which may be fine for some recipes, but we want to bring that flavor into the gyro sauce). Make sure to let it cool, as the liquid inside will be boiling hot when you cut into it if you do so right away.

Pork Recipes
Beef Recipes
Chicken Recipes
Side Dish Recipes
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Grilled Chicken Gyros
Grilled Chicken Gyro
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Passive Time 20 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Passive Time 20 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Grilled Chicken Gyro
Instructions
  1. Set up your grill for direct cooking, and preheat to 550 degrees F.
  2. Cut away any excess flaps of skin from the chicken thighs. Gently slide your finger between the skin and the meat on one side, taking care to leave the 3 other sides attached.
  3. Sprinkle a teaspoon of Saint Brian's Dash Cunning Spice Rub into the pocket you created.
  4. Squeeze the juice from half a lemon onto the chicken thighs.
  5. Put a skewer through both onion slices to keep them together.
  6. Oil the grill, and place the chicken, skin side up, and onions on the grates. Cook on one side for 6 minutes, and flip and cook for another 4-5, or until the internal temperature of the thighs reaches 165 degrees. You will know it's time to flip when the chicken releases easily from the grill. Remove, and allow the chicken and onion to rest for 20 minutes.
  7. While the chicken is resting, whisk together the mayonnaise, cucumber, plum tomato, dill, the juice from half a lemon in a non-reactive bowl. finely chop the onion and add to the gyro sauce. Salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Separate the chicken from the bones, and roughly chop into bite-sized pieces. Toss the chicken with the gyro sauce until coated.
  9. Warm the pitas on the grill. Scoop the chicken mix into the pocket. Serve warmed or chilled.
    Grilled Chicken Gyro
Calorie-conscious option
  1. Instead of a pita, use a large leaf or two of lettuce for the wrap.
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