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.

Print Recipe
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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