Friday, June 15, 2012

Grilled Potato Gratin ala Smoky Mountain Cafe


Do ya all remember yesterday's post... "AAARRRGGGHHHH 7 guests come for 6 Steaks"?  Well, this is my starch course for the BBQ.  I saw this post over at Katherine's blog, Smoky Mountain Cafe a few days ago and wanted to try ASAP.  Katherine and her husband AJ are the displaced Cajuns, now living in Eastern Tennessee, who made that spectacular meal for a Blogger Get together ... Cajun Crawfish Boil - Road Trip!.  As they proved that day... They have food chops!

I was intrigued at the idea of grilling gratin potatoes.  A tiny bit of learning... A Gratin is simply adding a crunchy crust to a dish.  Easy enough to do with a broiler and a few buttered bread crumbs.  But to get the same type of taste and texture on a grill caused me pause...

So, I highly recommend you take a quick jump over to Katherine's post and see what she did... Grilled Potato Gratin.

Which inspired me to make a few tiny changes and make a new very favorite unique side dish for the grill and outdoor entertaining...

 First, seasoned butter...

And whenever I use Butter, I always picture Meryl Streep as Julia Child and her near quiet orgasmic discovery of ... BUTTER!

Katherine made a garlic butter.  I went just a shade more aggressive with a garlic pepper butter.

I am blessed with a pretty healthy crop of peppers this year.  I planted everything from mild Bell Peppers to almost painfully HOT Thai Chili Peppers.  My current very favorite are Banana Peppers.  I have two plants growing, one a sweet banana pepper and the other a spicy BP.

For this recipe, I took one of each, minced them and added these to the garlic paste and spices that Katherine recommended.

I also made a more major change to the the original recipe... CHEESE!

More specifically, freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano Cheese.  I assumed that in between the layers of the potatoes, the basting butter would melt the Parm.  What was on top would brown and crust.  It did.

And finally, I made up a spiced pepper mix to season the dish.  A little red chili flake, Black and white pepper, Sea Salt and some lemon zest (I am trying to cut back on salt.  My solution, more spices and just a little bit of salt).

And from there, I pretty much followed Katherine's recipe...

I par-boiled the potato slices... 3 pounds of Yukon Gold potatoes (thick sliced) for 8 minutes to soften them up without cooking them completely through.

I set up my grill for indirect heating (Flames on the side, not directly under the pan).  I used my grill pan (pan with holes in it).

And I started layering...

Layer of potatoes, topped with generous brushes of the pepper/garlic butter, topped with some grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese, topped with a sprinkle of the spices.

Followed by another layer of everything...

Followed by another... and another

I closed the lid and converted my grill into an oven.  About every 10 minutes I brushed on some more of the pepper/garlic butter.

Everything worked as it should.  I made the steaks.  During the "resting" time for the steaks, I moved the potatoes to direct grilling (under the flames).  The dripping butter caused the flames to flair up, crisping up (gratin) the bottom, adding the texture of the gratin to the potatoes.  Layers of crispy potatoes, and soft "baked" potatoes.

This was a HIUGE success!  Everyone raved, lots of flavors, lots of textures and just as delicious as you can imagine!  Highly recommended!

Thanks Katherine


  1. Dave, I am so glad you and your guests liked the potatoes. They are really pretty easy and A.J. would love the idea of you adding peppers to the garlic butter. He always comments to me, "This could use just a little more cayenne". Have a great weekend!

  2. This sounds fabulous, Dave. This is definitely one that I will be trying. Say hi to Jackie. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  3. I really enjoy finding unique grilling recipes like this. I am using our grill more and more as the summer heat arrives in Florida. This will be a nice one to try.