“Yams” are a staple for almost everyone’s Thanksgiving feast. However, the yams that most people enjoy locally are actually sweet potatoes. True yams, although great in their own right, are actually very dry, very dense and not really sweet at all. To take things one step further, sweet potatoes are not even true potatoes but are actually root vegetables. Go figure. Whatever you call them, they are great grilled. Although yams/sweet potatoes can be baked in a grill (just like in an oven), I like to bake them off the night before and simply mark and re-heat on the grill, just before the turkey comes off. By cooking the potato the day before, the texture will already be creamy and all you will need to do is crisp the outside of the potato on the grill, just before serving. Serves 6.
- 3 Sweet Potatoes, large, scrubbed well, dried and rubbed with a touch of oil (I like the flavor of peanut oil but olive or veggie would work well too).
- 1/2 lb. Butter, unsweetened, whipped
- 1 Tbsp. Maple Syrup, real
- 2 Tbsp. Pecans, toasted, chopped fine
- 1 tsp. Chives, minced
- 1/4 tsp. Ground Cinnamon, ground
- Pinch of Ground Nutmeg
- As Needed: Kosher or Sea Salt
- As Needed: Black Pepper, freshly ground
Bake off the sweet potatoes in a 400-degree F oven for 30 to 45 minutes, or until just tender. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature. Wrap and refrigerate overnight. Prepare the Maple-Pecan Butter by mixing the rest of ingredients together until smooth. Pipe or spoon into a bowl, wrap and refrigerate until ready to use. Remove from the refrigerator and allow to soften slightly the day you plan to serve. While your turkey is resting (having just come off the grill), and the grill is still hot, unwrap the potatoes and cut them in half lengthwise. If they are huge, cut each half in half again. Scrape the grill clean and rub the grate with a touch of neutral oil. Season the potatoes with a touch of salt and pepper and place on the grill, cut side down. Once the potatoes are marked, carefully rotate 90 degrees, creating a nice criss-cross pattern of caremelization. Flip the potatoes so the skin side is down and continue to cook until heated through. Serve with a dollop of Maple-Pecan Butter.