Proper Use of Spud Spikes® Food-Grade Stainless Steel Potato Baking Nails
Select Potatoes for Baking: Mature russet, Russet Burbank, and King Edward are frequently used varieties because they yield a fluffy baked texture. You may enjoy trying other potato varieties you find at your store. Select potatoes with even brown-toned skins and no greenish cast, bruises, discolored spots, or sprouts. Potatoes of uniform shape and size will bake evenly.
Prepare Potatoes for Baking: Rinse and scrub potatoes in cold water using a potato brush. Use a knife tip to remove any bruises, dark spots, and sprouts and rinse the potatoes again. Finally, dry the potatoes and prick them with a fork three or four times an inch deep on each side to prevent them from exploding.
Using a Conventional Oven: Baking one to four 5-ounce potatoes on an open middle rack in the oven without baking nails requires about 60 minutes at 350°F. Add 15 minutes for more than four potatoes. Be sure to turn the potatoes several times during baking to prevent grill marks or hard spots if you bake them on a sheet pan. Potatoes are done when their centers reach 210°F; check the temperature with an instant-read thermometer. Alternatively, while wearing oven mitts, gently squeeze the center of the potato; if it's done, the potato will yield to gentle pressure.
Using a Convection Oven: Follow the conventional oven directions above to bake potatoes in a convection oven, but lower the temperature to 325°F because convection ovens bake more efficiently than conventional ovens.
Using a BBQ: If you use a gas BBQ, set the temperature and turn the potatoes regularly. Baking with charcoal may be a little trickier but it can be done; an oven thermometer may be helpful. Be sure to turn the potatoes several times and watch them closely. A smaller BBQ tends to cook potatoes faster than conventional and convection ovens. However, a convection gas stove is more efficient than a large stainless steel BBQ.
Using Spud Spikes: First, preheat your BBQ or the oven to 325°F to 450°F (depending on the stove and the size and number of potatoes). Insert a Spud Spike lengthwise in each clean and dry potato. For maximum effectiveness, its point should completely penetrate through the potato so an equal length of nail extends on both ends of the potato. Long potatoes may require a second Spud Spike inserted from the other end of the potato. Prick the skins a few times an inch deep with a fork and bake the potatoes on an open middle rack. They should be done in 30 to 40 minutes. Turn the potatoes over halfway through the estimated baking time. When the potatoes appear done, remove the Spud Spikes using an oven mitt or kitchen tongs. If they slip out too fast, the potatoes may be overdone. Time and practice will help you learn how many potatoes to bake, their sizes, and how long it will take.
If the potatoes aren't quite done but you've turned off the oven, don't turn it on again. The oven is still hot and the Spud Spikes will continue to conduct heat so the potatoes will finish baking. Just let them sit in the oven until they are done.
If potato flesh clings to the Spud Spikes when you remove them, soak the nails (head down) in a glass of water while you eat. They will clean easily—remember that Spud Spikes are dishwasher safe.
Other Potato Baking Accessories: A grilling stone, flat on one side with ribs on the other, and a raised vented (i.e., it has holes in the pan) pizza pan both work great in the oven and on the BBQ. Use the grilling stone rib side up. The ribs/holes help to evenly distribute heat and prevent formation of hard spots, often found on potatoes baked on a sheet pan. In a BBQ, they will help prevent burning which could occur if the potatoes are in more direct contact with the flame. Even if the potatoes are baked on a stone or pizza pan, they will need to be turned.
How to get a crispy potato skin: For crispy skin, insert Spud Spikes, rub butter or olive oil on the skin, and sprinkle it with our Spud Spikes Gourmet Original Blend Potato Skin Rub and Everyday Seasoning. The butter or oil and salt will drip to the bottom of the oven or BBQ so bake the potatoes on a broiling rack sitting on a sheet pan, on a raised vented pizza pan, or on a grilling stone (ribs pointing up) placed on the oven or BBQ rack.
For more flavorful crispy skins, follow the steps above but after sprinkling the oiled potatoes with our Spud Spikes Gourmet Original Blend Potato Skin Rub and Everyday Seasoning, place them on a broiling rack on a sheet pan covered with parchment paper. Place the pan on the middle rack and turn the potatoes halfway through the baking cycle. Turn the potatoes more often and baste with additional butter or oil and seasoning. If you plan to turn the potatoes often, whether you are using an oven or BBQ, work quickly because you will lose heat every time you open the oven door or remove the BBQ lid. A small BBQ recovers the heat faster.
For extra crispy skins, use an oven mitt to remove the sheet pan with potatoes from the oven about 10 minutes before completion. Turn the oven to broil at the same temperature at which the oven was set. Apply more butter or oil to the skins and sprinkle them again with our Spud Spikes Gourmet Original Blend Potato Skin Rub and Everyday Seasoning. Return the pan to the oven and remember to turn the potatoes a few times. Watch the potatoes closely so the skin doesn't burn.
Other uses for Spud Spikes: Grill brats or sausages on the BBQ using Spud Spikes and reduce cooking time by 50 percent. After the nail is removed, the brat or sausage remains straight, a bonus if you plan to eat it in a bun. Because the brat or sausage cooks so fast, the casing won't have time to acquire grill marks, so near the end of cooking time, turn up the heat to brown the casing with the customary grill marks.