The first time I had a BBQ stuffed potato was at a rustic-styled restaurant called The Silo in Knoxville, Tennessee. That was a LONG time ago and it’s now part of the Calhoun’s Restaurant chain owned by the Copper Cellar folks.
I can’t remember who I went with but I was single back then so it could have been a date. What I DO remember is what happened on the day I ate the first of many bbq stuffed potatoes.
As I was sitting there minding my own business, one of my employees went by and saw me. The look on her face was the eponymous deer in headlights stare. No hello, how are you, go to hell, nothing. She went back to her table, got her handbag and walked out.
I didn’t think much of it at the time because people finish their meals and leave and dear old Margaret wasn’t on my radar that night. I’d heard about these bbq stuffed potato appetizers and that’s what I’d come for.
The potatoes were exactly as described and the wonderful hickory-smoked bbq stuffing was perfectly sauced and the mix of cheese on the top, along with a generous serve of sour cream with green onion tops made me happy. I didn’t think about Margaret until Monday morning when I walked on to the factory floor and there she was.
At the time, Margaret was about 68 years old and worked as a sewing machine operator making leather work gloves. She loved her job and had done the same job for more than forty years. Yes, I know, I couldn’t imagine doing that either. In truth, Margaret and her husband were really well off but she worked for the enjoyment and camaraderie with her workmates.
When I walked past her, Margaret’s face turned the color of my favorite beet salad. I said hello and she indicated she needed to talk. Off to my office we went with me wondering what the heck was wrong with her this time. Margaret always had a problem and was always a challenge.
Upon closing my office door she blurted out, “Maureen, you aren’t going to lower my wages are you?”
I was gobsmacked by this one and wasn’t too sure what she was talking about. “Of course not, Margaret, why did you think I would?” I said.
“Well, you saw me eating the most expensive thing on the Silo menu and I thought maybe you’d think I earned too much but honestly, Ralph earns way more than I do.”
It was a classic ‘what the heck?’ moment for me. But I’ve never forgotten my first bbq stuffed potato!
When you make bbq next time and it can be beef, pork or even chicken – try this – it’s wonderful stuffed inside a baked potato and topped with cheese. I know those potatoes in the photos look small and there are only two of them. That’s because I’m the only one who eats this. Those around me who shall remain nameless thinks bbq looks like someone else ate it first. (obviously no class)
- 1 potato (I would choose russet if it was available)
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon melted butter
- ½ cup pork bbq (or chicken or beef)
- ¼ cup shredded mozarella and cheddar
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- 1 tablespoon chopped chives or green onion tops (optional)
- Preheat oven to 200C/400F
- Scrub potato and dry with a towel. Remove bruises or any sprouts and pierce with a sharp knife in several places to let the steam escape
- Rub the potato with the olive oil and sprinkle with the sea salt and place in the middle of the oven to bake.
- Bake for 45 minutes and test the potato by squeezing (use a clean potholder or cloth so you don't burn yourself). If the potato gives, it's done.
- If you're cooking more than 4 potatoes, increase the time by 15 minutes before checking.
- When cooked, remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes.
- Slice the potato in half and scoop out some of the potato leaving a nice pocket to place the bbq.
- Brush the potato halves with the melted butter and place back in the oven to crisp. It takes 10-12 minutes. Start by putting the potato cut side down and half way through, turn the potato over.
- Put ¼ cup of the bbq in each potato half and top with half the cheese mixture
- Place back in the oven until the cheese has melted and has just begun to turn golden brown.
- Serve with sour cream garnished with chopped chives.