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Recipe: Coal Roasted Sweet Potatoes

This last week was exciting for me in the kitchen because after months of waiting we received our new woodfire/charcoal grill for our Garden space! One of the things that appealed to me about San Diego when I moved here from New York City was the ability to cook outside year round. That smell of wood smoke from a cook fire gets my blood going and I love to grill. So, when our grill finally arrived from the small manufacturer we ordered it from I couldn’t wait to get it put together. I’m looking forward to playing around with it and in the near future we hope to have some exciting opportunities for people to come try some of the amazing things we can do with it!

One of the reasons I wanted to add this piece of equipment to our repertoire is that cooking over a wood or charcoal fire is a central part of many of the traditional cuisines of our participants. That smoky flavor and slight bit of char are actually key flavor components to many of the dishes they grew up eating. When I have talked to some of our participants about cooking this way they often will say it reminds them of cooking back in their home country. I’m excited to bring this to our customers in the near future so be on the lookout!

One of the simple preparations I do at home with my charcoal grill or firepit is a coal roasted sweet potato. Its so simple and is a great way to make a dish ahead of time with minimal effort. So, if you’re sitting in the backyard one night around a firepit or if you were cooking something else on your charcoal grill, just throw a couple sweet potatoes in when you’re done and you’ll have one dish done for dinner the next night!

Coal Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potatoes – 1 per person

Aluminum foil

Butter (for serving, optional)

Salt to taste


  1. Wash the sweet potatoes and wrap individually in aluminum foil

  2. Prepare your fire or charcoal. I typically make these one night when I’m done grilling or sitting around our firepit fire.

  3. Once the wood has burn down to coals or your done cooking over your charcoal, carefully place the wrapped sweet potatoes in the coals and bury them in there as best you can using a pair of tongs.

  4. Roast in the coals, giving them a little turn if needed about every 20 minutes with a pair of tongs. Cook for about 45 minutes – 1 hour depending on the size and thickness of your sweet potatoes. You’ll know they are done when a pairing knife pierces into the middle with ease.

  5. Remove the potatoes from the coals once they are cooked through and set aside to cool.

  6. At this point you can peel them to eat now or refrigerate them for the next night and peel then. They will have some char on them and that’s okay! Just remove any parts that are really blackened.

  7. If eating the next day, warm them up in the oven or microwave and serve with a little butter and salt on top.

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