Foil on potatoes

Cecil botched the answer. You never put foil on baked potatoes. Once they’re covered with their pretty little coffins, they’re steamed potatoes, not baked, and totally inferior to the real thing.

Link to column: added by CKDextHavn

Yeah, but they cook faster that way. Nothing worse than taking a nice hot Idaho out of the oven after an hour, slicing into it, and finding it half-cooked.

You have a good point, though, RC, and this is the way Christopher Kimball, editor of Cooks Illustrated magazine and author of The Cook’s Bible and general kitchen know-it-all handles the baked potato issue:

Wrap your spuds in foil (he doesn’t weigh in on the inside/outside question, being less interested than the Divine Cecil in procedures and more concerned with the end product). Shove them into a preheated 400-450 degree oven. After a half hour, snatch them out (ouch ouch ouch ouch), pull the foil off, and stick them back into the oven for another half-hour.

This cooks the buggers throughout, and dries them sufficiently that you end up with a good mealy steaming potato on your plate, with a crisp and delectable skin.

Cecil’s column is

Should a baking potato be wrapped in foil shiny side in or shiny side out? (09-Jun-1995)

Uke, I’m guessing your friend Christophe Kimball has never hear of the great outdoors. You’re supposed to wrap the potato in foil, put it at the bottom of the fire pit, and dig it out of the ashes the next morning after you’ve blearily crawled out of the tent and want something to eat right away. You then eat it cold, or if you have any leftovers lying around that the bears haven’t got into yet, then you throw those on the potato. (Cold baked potatoes are especially good with a few drops of leftover bourbon poured on them.)

Let us please note that Cecil DID state that many view the wrapping of spuds with foil for baking as ‘folly’.

As with many cooking issues, this is not one that has a right or wrong answer: it depends on taste. After I have loaded mine with all the sour cream and chives I can lay hands on, one has to wonder if I would even notice the difference. :wink:

It’s relevant for any foil-wrapped cooking, not just spuds. In Boy Scouts, we routinely cook burgers, veggies, and apples this way, too, although they don’t need to sit overnight like Arnold suggests. It used to be considered Gospel among my troop that shiny side in cooked faster, but I objected on theoretical grounds, and always wrapped mine the other way. My meals were done just as quickly, and since then, the troop has come to the realization that it really doesn’t matter.

Wow, Chronos, you’re not only unique in standing out from your peers, but you managed to debunk a UL when you were just a kid, AND got them to change their ways too! Bravo!

Uncle Cecil would be so proud!

I’ve always used foil to wrap the ‘baked’ potato, but I spray a bit of Pam w/butter flavor on the potato first. Very tasty!

I cook my spuds in the microwave - whose got an hour to wait on a potato to bake?

Uh - I don’t recommend aluminum foil in the microwave :eek:

Microwaved potatoes? Heresy!

I’m not an anti-microwave purist, but there are things they’re good for and things they aren’t. For example, there is no bette way to gently reheat certain rich cream sauces.

I’me surprised we’ve gone so long without mentioning the
’skewered’ baked potato. Run a skewer, turkey lacer, or even an old dinner knife down through the long axis of the potato (make sure at least 1-1.5 inches sticks out at each end) The potato cooks in half the time, so you don’t need foil and you get a crispy skin. This also makes it easy to cook along with other oven dishes.

I like to toss a half-dozen or more in the oven when I’m cooking something else (temperature isn’t very important if you use spikes 325-450 for 30 min works fine) The resulting baked potatoes can be refrigerated for many days (it’s largely sterilized by the baking) and reheat very nicely in the microwave with the full flavor/texture of a true baked potato.

Just to add to the heresy, when I make baked potatos, I wash them thouroughly and poke them several times with a fork. Then, while they’re still wet, I wrap them in clear plastic wrap. Microwave them on ‘high’ for 5 to ten minutes, (depending on how big they are.) Put them in just as you are putting the steaks on the grill. When they come out of the microwave, immediately wrap them in aluminum foil and set them aside. When the steaks are done, the potatoes are fully cooked and still moist. I like making them this way and they’ve gone over very well with everyone I’ve made them for. Also, I’ve never noticed any difference between shiny side in or shiny side out.

I have always been told that you use the shiny side in,because it is the cleaner side (faces inward on the roll, therefore not exposed to dirt/germs/creepy crawlies). In my experience this is the standard in the food service industry. It has nothing to do with cooking.

I asked my spouse about which foil side to use coincidentally when she was taking classes on food service and hygiene, etc. She said there was no difference. Think about it. Other than the limited amount of the foil that is exposed around the circumference of the roll, the remainder of the foil is wrapped up regardless of side.

You should’ve seen where we kept the foil!