How not to cook a baked potato on a campfire
You would think that cooking a baked potato on the campfire is easy: Just stick it on and let the potato warm up.
Unfortunately that’s not going to work. You’ll end up with a burnt but uncooked potato.
The secret is not to put the potato directly into the fire.
Here’s what to do…
Preparing the potato
Whilst your campfire is getting hot, slice the potato open (length ways).
Fill the potato with marge or butter. You do this now as it helps prevent the potato from drying out when it is cooking in the campfire.
You can also add some flavouring at this point. For example, you could add some garlic into the potato if you want a garlic potato.
We tried Garlic Philadelphia spread, which worked OK.
Wrap the potato tightly in foil (shiny side on the inside).
Cooking the potato on the campfire
You don’t want to put your potato in the flame. Instead, pull some hot coals from the campfire, and place your potato in those embers.
You want to have hot coals both under and over the potato.
A keyhole shaped fire works well for this type of cooking as you can have a separate area below the main fire to pull hot coals for cooking.
If you’re in a hurry you can cheat with hot BBQ charcoal coals.
How to know when the potato is cooked
Give them a turn every now and then or reposition them in the embers.
A good pair of BBQ tongs work well here as well as a pair of hot gloves (Hot Gloves on Amazon).
To test if the potato is cooked, don’t unwrap the foil (as you could get ash over the potato). Instead, with Hot Glove on, push your finger into the side of the wrapped potato. If the potato feels soft and your finger leaves a dent, then the potato is probably cooked.
Cooking Sweet Potatoes on a Campfire
These take about half the time to cook though. They also end up a lot softer.
Personally I prefer baked sweet potatoes on the campfire.
Campfire Potato and Onion
Slice a potato into about 1 cm or 1/4 inch slices, but keep all the slices together to keep the shape of the potato.
Put butter or marge between the slices.
Slice up some onion and place between these layers.
Wrap in foil and cook in exactly the same way as baked potatoes.
Alternative: cooking a potato in a tin can
An alternative way of cooking a baked potato is to place it inside a tin can. Cover the end of the can in foil and place the can next to the campfire.
The idea is that the metal heats up and creates a mini-oven in the can, which cooks your potato.
We have to give this a thumbs up as a nice idea, but we found this method less than successful. Despite turning the potatoes often, we would end up with part burnt and part uncooked.
So our recommended method for cooking baked potatoes on a campfire is to wrap them in foil and cover them in hot coals.
Baked Potatoes Video
Here’s a video we made of cooking these potatoes.