After one bite of a crispy, caramelized sweet potato wedge, you'll never go back to deep-fried white potatoes again. Sweet potatoes are high in fiber, low in fat, packed with vitamins A and C and naturally sweet enough to satisfy dinner guests. Best of all, preparing them on a gas grill improves their flavor without adding unnecessary calories or fat.
Preparing Sweet Potatoes
Choose smooth, firm sweet potatoes with blemish-free skins, since any decaying spots can ruin the taste of the entire vegetable. Grilling a sweet potato fresh from the pantry will result in crispy skin and raw flesh, so you'll need to partially cook your potatoes before using the grill. Scrub each potato under a running faucet while you boil a pot of water. Cook the whole potatoes -- don't peel them or they'll fall apart on the grill -- until they're just soft enough to slip a fork into; don't overcook them, since they will cook a bit more on the grill. It will likely take 10 to 12 minutes for the potatoes to cook. Remove them from the water and let them cool until you can handle them.
Preparing the Grill
Check your gas grill before beginning to cook on it, especially if you're pulling it out for the first time in a few months. Examine the hoses for any cracks or brittle patches, and replace them if you find any. Follow the advice of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to check for leaks: Open the gas valve fully and rub some soapy water over the point where the valve connects to the hose. If bubbles appear, you may be able to tighten the tank connection; if that doesn't solve the problem, don't cook with your grill until a technician repairs it. Once your grill is operational, open the cover and lean your body back while you turn the grill on, then close the cover and let the grill preheat for 10 minutes.
Grilling Sweet Potatoes
While the grill heats up, slice up your sweet potatoes. Feel free to experiment with ways to grill the vegetables. You may grill a potato whole; turn it every three or four minutes until every part of the skin is crispy; this option will take 20 minutes or so total. An easy option is to slice the potatoes in half lengthwise and grill them, flesh-side down, until grill marks form, or for about 15 minutes. Finally, try slicing the potatoes into wedges or 1/2-inch-thick slices. You'll need to flip the pieces over every few minutes until grill marks form on all sides, which will also take around 15 minutes total. Before your sweet potatoes touch your grill, however, toss them with olive oil so they won't stick. Read your owner's manual; most gas grills should be kept closed while in use.
With a sprinkle of salt and a dash of fresh black pepper, a grilled sweet potato will be delicious as is. Getting a little creative, however, will keep this vegetable interesting. Peel off the skins and mash up the potatoes with milk, a pat of butter and roasted garlic for a grilled twist on traditional mashed potatoes, or rub a jerk spice mix or a Cajun spice mix over the oiled potatoes before putting them on the grill. Another option is to work with the natural sweetness of the potatoes and prepare them for dessert. Instead of oil, brush slices of sweet potatoes with melted butter and sprinkle a mixture of cinnamon and nutmeg over each side. When you take them off the grill, drizzle the slices with honey or maple syrup.
Cooking, travel and parenting are three of Kathryn Walsh's passions. She makes chicken nuggets during days nannying, whips up vegetarian feasts at night and road trips on weekends. Her work has appeared to The Syracuse Post-Standard and insider magazine. Walsh received a master's degree in journalism from Syracuse University.