You don't need an oven to make a perfectly cooked baked potato. You can fully bake a potato on an open flame, as you would find at a campfire, so long as you wrap the spud in foil first.
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"Cooking with aluminum foil is great for open fire heat because it can withstand high temperatures and protects food from overcooking and burning," says dietitian Katherine Brooking, RD. "Foil also allows potatoes to cook more thoroughly and evenly."
The key to an evenly baked fire-pit baked potato is keeping a close eye on the spuds' cooking progress.
Is Cooking in Aluminum Foil Over High Heat Safe?
"There is a possibility that cooking with aluminum foil can cause some of the aluminum to leach into your food, but studies have shown this amount to generally be minimal," says Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, creator of BetterThanDieting.com, author of Read It Before You Eat It: Taking You from Label to Table.
"The amount of aluminum that leaches out can be impacted by the cooking temperature (high heat), but the amounts are small and are considered to be safe."
Things You'll Need
Butter or butter substitute
1. Wash the Potatoes
Clean the potato by washing and scrubbing it under cold water. Use a vegetable brush to get the dirt that doesn't wash away easily on its own — no need to use soap, according to the USDA.
Dry the potatoes gently with a clean towel.
2. Poke Holes in the Potatoes
Stab the potato on all sides with a fork to create a series of holes in the skin. These holes help create an even cooking process and prevent a potato explosion by helping the steam escape.
3. Spread Some Butter
Spread a thin layer of butter on the skin of the potato and then sprinkle it with salt. If you want to cut back on the calories in your baked potato, opt for a lower-fat butter substitute or do without the butter completely.
4. Wrap the Potatoes in Foil
Layer two pieces of aluminum foil to create a durable cooking pouch for your potato. Wrap the potato tightly inside the two layers of foil.
Make sure not to poke holes in the aluminum foil. "From a food-safety perspective, you don't want to wrap [the potatoes] in foil and then poke them, as you could end up lodging small pieces of aluminum foil in the potato," Brooking says.
5. Bury the Potatoes in the Hot Coals
Bury the wrapped potato in hot coals, or place it on a hot rock near the flames so the edge of the fire reaches it. Another option is to cook the potatoes on a wire rack hanging above the flames.
6. Bake the Potatoes in the Fire
Bake the potato in the fire for about 30 to 35 minutes. Then, carefully remove the potato from the fire using oven mitts.
Unwrap the foil and press a fork into the potato to check if it's done — if the fork easily pierces through, you know the taters are ready to eat!
An empty tin can also works as a cooking vessel for the potato. Butter the skin and place the potato in the can, then cover the can with foil. Then, nestle the can in the coals for at least 30 minutes to bake.