Tailgaters know that tailgating parking lots are not open as long as they used to be. Tailgating time is getting shorter and shorter which places the pressure on those of us who want to squeeze just as much fun into less time. In order to do that we are then faced with the hard decisions of what to cook and serve in the parking lot based on how much time we have to do it in. Many times tailgaters will choose to serve foods that are faster and easier to make to cut down on cooking times.
Baked potatoes on the grill are awesome while tailgating and compliment almost any dish. The problem with potatoes is that they take a long time to cook on a grill; typically about an hour. I recently discovered Spud Spikes. Simply put, they are are 5 1/2″ long No. 316 food-grade stainless steel nails that will cut your cooking time on a potato in half.
When I received my sample of Spud Spikes I was a bit skeptical at first. When doing research on Spud Spikes and cooking nails in general, I learned that the exposed ends of the nail will heat up and thus conduct the heat inward to the center of the potato. It makes sense that this would help the potato cook from the inside out and not rely solely on the heat of the grill to cook the potato from the outside in. This dual cooking technique would cut the baking time in half because the potato is receiving heat both internally and externally and thus cooking twice as fast. Twice as fast equals really good in the tailgating parking lot especially if you arrived late or your team’s parking lot is not open for an extended amount of time.
As I mentioned, I was sent a sample of Spud Spikes to try out for myself. My test was pretty simple in that I inserted a Spud Spike into one potato while leaving the other one alone. I even chose to use the Spud Spike on the potato that was slightly larger so that there would be no mistaking if the cooking time was indeed shortened by using it. I placed both potatoes on my Bubba Keg Grill at home along with some corn on the cob and some chicken breasts that would later be added to the grilling party.
After about 35 minutes of the potatoes being on the grill, the chicken and corn were ready to come off. Typically 35 minutes would not be an adequate amount of time to thoroughly bake a potato on the grill but I wanted to see if the Spud Spike claims were in fact correct. Much to my surprise, the potato with the Spud Spikes, despite being a little larger than the other, was cooked all the way through and was piping hot. The other potato was cooked about 2/3rds of the way through and the middle was still hard and cool to the touch. From that comparison alone I was convinced that using the Spud Spike definitely made a difference and reduced the cooking time significantly.
Using the Spud Spike to cut down on cooking time got me to thinking that they could be used on other foods to reduce cooking time. Brats and sausages seemed to be a good fit since they are long and would fit along a Spud Spike. No longer do you have to boil your brats at home and cook them off on the grill when you get to the lot. By using a Spud Spike you can make sure the centers of the brats are thoroughly cooked all the way through. Food safety is very important when tailgating and you don’t want to leave the game early because you ate an undercooked brat.
After using the Spud Spikes it occurred to me that not only did they save time but will save on your fuel costs as well. If you don’t have to run your propane grill for an entire hour to bake potatoes, that’s just more fuel you’ll be saving for next time you go tailgating. And with gasoline prices sky high again, that has affected the cost of propane as well. (Stay tuned for an upcoming commentary later this week regarding using propane during this recent spike in gas prices.)
Prior to writing up this review I discussed the success I had experienced when using the Spud Spikes. One friend of mine said, “Big deal. I have a box full of galvanized and aluminum nails in my tool box. I am sure they are cheaper than what the Spud Spikes cost.”
He was right. A box of nails at Home Depot would be cheaper but I am not sure you would want to put the same type of nail in your potato that you would use to hammer a two by four. A little bit of research revealed that aluminum nails tend to leave unattractive black marks on the potatoes. Also, aluminum nails are not as strong and sturdy compared to the Spud Spikes and do not puncture the potato as well. Using an aluminum nail to pierce the potato, the nail could bend and not puncture all the way through.
For less than $25 you can buy eight Spud Spikes that also come in a storage bag. If you live in
the lower 48 states, shipping is free.
To learn more about Spud Spikes or to buy some of your own, visit: SpudSpikes.com