Hickory smoked potato salad. Yes. Yup. I sure did. Listen, if you’re the type of potato salad person who has to have it ONE way every single time, you may wanna skip over this post. I’m one of those people who feel you can jazz potato salad up a plethora of ways…just keep the raisins — because I will choose violence, every time.
Think of all the yummy sauces you dip your fries in. Why shouldn’t you have that same kinda fun with your potato salad? Potatoes are like sponges — they absorb any flavor you douse them in. They are at your culinary mercy! So have fun with it.
This hickory smoked potato salad is a great variation to the many, many potato salad recipes available on Al Gore’s internet. There’s about 20 different potato salad recipes that I rotate (in my head), but this one is a top-5 favorite. We boil Yukon Gold potatoes in salted water until they’re very tender, then smoke them on a charcoal grill to infuse them with that signature smokey kiss.
Boil your potato chunks in salted water.
When they’re tender, drain them well then lay them out on a small baking sheet lined with foil that’s been treated with non-stick baking spray.
Meanwhile, prep your charcoal grill. Fill a chimney 3/4 of the way full with briquettes and light them from underneath.
When the edges of the charcoal at the top of the chimney start to turn ashy, dump the coals to one side of the grill. Top the charcoal with several chunks of wood. I used hickory, but you can use any variety you prefer.
Place the potatoes on the cooler side of the grill, and cover. Make sure the vent-holes on the lid are directly over the potatoes and open in order to draw the smoke through the potatoes. Make sure the vent holes on the base of the grill are also open.
Allow the smoke to penetrate for around 35-45 minutes, or until they start to look like this. You will toss the potatoes half-way through to ensure they all get a kiss of smoke. You don’t want EVERY potato to be darkened, just go for *this* look, and trust me.
Let them cool slightly, for about 10 minutes.
Pour in half of the dressing mixture to the warm potatoes, and toss gently. Add more if needed.
Until it’s creamy like this. Taste and adjust as necessary. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. SAVE the remaining dressing, you may find you’ll need for later it if the potatoes soak up most of this mixture, which they will.
Listen. That hint of smoke?? It’s incredible. The flavors compliment the meaty main dishes at your next BBQ/Cookout. As always, this recipe gives you starting-point measurements. It’s up to you to taste as you go, and adjust here and there as needed. Okay? K.
You can keep this keto by swapping out the potatoes for turnips. I’ve done it before, and it’s fire. Well, I haven’t smoked them, but I’m sure it’ll work about the same. Check out my recipe for Creamy Keto Potato Salad.
Potato salad is very personal, so make this yours. Use my measurements as a starting point to help you get to where you want to be. I used the exact measurements above, but then added more worcestershire, liquid smoke, sugar, and red wine vinegar. Do you, boo.
In a medium-sized bowl, add all of the ingredients for the dressing and stir to combine. Taste and adjust to YOUR liking. Potato salad is very personal, so make this yours. Use my measurements as a starting point to help you get to where you want to be. I used the exact measurements above, but then added more worcestershire, liquid smoke, sugar, and red wine vinegar. Do you, boo.
Line a quarter-size baking sheet with foil and spray generously with non-stick baking spray. Set aside.
Place the peeled and chopped potatoes into a large pot and fill with cold water. Set the pot over high heat, cover, and bring to a boil. When the water starts to boil, add a generous amount of flaky kosher salt or sea salt, just enough to season the potatoes from within. Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook uncovered until the potatoes are very tender, but not super mushy. Drain the potatoes in a colander, then transfer them to the lined baking sheet. It’s okay if there are potatoes sitting on top of other potatoes, but just try to even them out as much as you can.
While the potatoes are cooling slightly, go heat up your grill. Light some coals in a chimney and when they start to ash around the edges, dump them onto one side of the grill and place several chunks of wood on top. Cover and allow to get hot for about 5 minutes. Place the potatoes on the cooler side of the grill. Cover, making sure the vent holes on the lid are opened and directly over the potatoes. Smoke the potatoes for about 35 to 45 minutes, gently tossing the potatoes half-way through. Don’t panic if the potatoes stick to the foil, they will later release easily once they cool down. Just use a rubber spatula to scrape them off. Feel free to throw some burgers on the hot side if you don’t want to waste your heat. The goal here is to have areas of visible smokiness to the potatoes, not have every single potatoes be darkened by the smoke. Just check out my photos for a visual of how it should be.
When the potatoes are properly smoked, bring them back inside and let them cool for about 10 minutes. Carefully add the smoked potatoes to a large bowl. Use a rubber spatula to help scrape any stuck-on potatoes if necessary. While the potatoes are still warm, add half of the dressing and toss to evenly coat. Add enough to where it’s creamy but not sopping wet. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Do not throw away the remaining dressing! You will more than likely need it when you see how much the potatoes soaked up while they cooled down. About an hour before you’re ready to serve, add more dressing to make the potatoes creamy again. Season to taste, serve, and enjoy.