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Bar Bites: Grilled, Loaded Twice-Baked Potatoes

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[Photograph: Jennifer Olvera]

Baked potatoes are a simple pleasure that is hard to refuse. But when they're twice-baked? Even better. To achieve primo results, it's not just the filling that needs to shine. After all, potatoes' skins have best-part potential.

These twice-baked potatoes—prepped in the oven and finished on the grill—get pilled high and are stippled with fillings: extra-sharp cheddar, peppered bacon and chives.

Despite conventional wisdom (sorry, Mom), you need to skip butter or oil during the initial baking stage to achieve a thick, chewy exterior. Otherwise, you'll get a rubbery, unappealing vessel that's easily discarded.

When making these bountiful boats, I tried three approaches. First, I baked them twice in the oven. With the second batch, after an initial oven bake, I finished them off on the grill. The grill method acheived a superior product, one with a smoky, almost brittle base and a cloud of extra-flavorful filling on top.

Of course, you can cut down on time considerably by following the America's Test Kitchen approach to skins: naked-microwaving potatoes for several minutes, before slapping them on the grill. In my experience, these were good in a pinch (and certainly quicker), but the potato skins didn't achieve the same level of crispness.

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Twice-Baked Potatoes »

About the author: Jennifer Olvera is a veteran food and travel writer and author of Food Lovers' Guide to Chicago.

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