Meat and potatoes are the staffs of life. (That's how the saying goes, right?) And if you have an exceptional potato, sometimes that's enough. We'll mash 'em, we'll fry 'em, we'll grill 'em, we'll bake 'em and even better yet, we'll bake 'em twice. For these amazingly smooth and creamy potatoes, we used our Smoke-Roasted Whipped Potatoes recipe from our From Pulled Pork to Peach Pie cookbook as the template. We roasted them on the Traeger, whipped up the filling, threw in some bacon, roasted them again, and topped them with a mound of melted cheese.
Smoke-Roasted Twice Baked Potatoes with Bacon
PREP TIME: 15 minutes
COOK TIME: 1 hour and 35 minutes
RECOMMENDED PELLETS: Hickory or Oak
SERVES: 8 to 12
8 large baking potatoes, such as russet (about 6 pounds)
1-1/2 to 2 cups hot milk, or more as needed
12 tbsps. (1 1/2 sticks) butter, melted, or more to taste
2 tbsps. minced chives (optional)
6 strips of cooked bacon, crumbled (see Note below)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups cheddar or colby cheese, shredded
Additional minced chives for garnish, if desired
When ready to cook, start the Traeger grill on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established (4 to 5 minutes). Set the temperature to 400 degrees F and preheat, lid closed, for 10 to 15 minutes.
Scrub the potatoes under cold running water and dry with paper towels. Poke in several places with a fork to let the steam escape.
Arrange the potatoes directly on the grill grate and bake for about hour and 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through. (They should be squeezably soft.)
Use oven mitts to transfer to the potatoes to a rimmed baking sheet. Turn the heat of the Traeger down to 375 degrees F.
Let the potatoes cool slightly for about 5 to 10 minutes (do not let them cool completely, or your whipped potatoes will be gummy). Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise, and scoop the potato flesh into the bowl of a stand mixer. Leave a 1/4-inch shell.
Whip on low speed for about 30 seconds. With the mixer running, slowly add the hot milk and melted butter.
Increase the speed to medium-high and whip until the potatoes are fluffy and smooth, 90 seconds to 2 minutes. Do not over-whip. Stir in the chives and bacon. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Note: You can cook the bacon directly on the Traeger prior to cooking the potatoes. Simply preheat your grill to 350 degrees and cook the bacon until it is crisp and golden brown, about 20 minutes. Then increase the heat to 400 to roast the potatoes.
Lay the hollowed-out potato skins on a large baking sheet and fill each skin to heaping with the whipped potato filling. Throw away any leftover empty potato skins.
Top each potato half with a generous sprinkling of cheese.
Cook at 375 degrees F for 20 minutes or until golden brown and cheese is melted.
Remove from Traeger and top with chive garnishes, if desired. Eat 'em while they're hot.