How to Cook Potatoes in Hot Ashes


Outdoor enthusiasts rave about potatoes baked in campfire ashes and how much better they taste than "regular" baked potatoes. If you've ever tried one, you might agree. Baking a big russet or Yukon gold potato in foil in the ashes results in a tender hot treat; slather it with butter, add a little salt and pepper and you've got a campfire meal fit for a king -- or at least a new campfire cooking aficionado.

Things You'll Need

  • Dying campfire
  • Russet or Yukon gold potatoes
  • Dinner fork
  • Heavy-duty aluminum foil
  • Tongs
  • Plates
  • Seasonings to taste
  • Build a campfire or fire pit using wood rather than charcoal briquets. Allow the fire to burn down sufficiently to create a thick layer of hot embers and warm ashes. Carefully move any burning logs to one side for easier access to the ashes, and to keep the potatoes from being burned by the flames or hot spots on the logs.

  • Scrub the potatoes and pat them dry. Don't peel them, though. Use a dinner fork to poke several sets of holes around the potato to let steam escape during cooking. Wrap each potato completely in heavy-duty aluminum foil, crimping it to seal the foil in place.

  • Place each wrapped potato down into the ashes, using tongs or a long-handled spoon. Cover the potatoes completely with ashes and turn them every 10 to 15 minutes to ensure even cooking. Depending on the size of the potato, it can take up to 40 minutes to cook.

  • Take one of the potatoes out of the ashes, using the tongs, after about 20 minutes to test whether it's cooked through. Put on a thick oven mitt and, without unwrapping the potato, squeeze it firmly. If it crushes easily, it's soft enough to eat. If it's still hard, put it back into the ashes. Repeat this test at 10-minute intervals until the potatoes are soft to the touch.

  • Remove the cooked potatoes from the ashes. Carefully remove the foil and put the potato on a plate. Slit the top of the potato lengthwise, gently push the ends toward the center to open it up and add your choice of toppings. Salt and a little butter are all you need, but you can dress up your potato with bacon bits, shredded cheese, broccoli or sour cream. Add cooked sausage or chili for an all-in-one campfire meal.

Tips & Warnings

  • Don't use petroleum-based fire starters, since these might leave dangerous residues on your potatoes.
  • Don't poke holes in the foil, or ashes might get into the potato during cooking.

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  • Photo Credit George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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