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Old 01-21-2009, 08:44 AM   #1
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Brining Baked Potatoes And Other Potato Questions

OK, I absolutely LOVE the baked potatoes at Outback Steakhouse. They're so good I sometimes eat them plain.

I'd seen recipes for Outback-type baked potatoes where you covered them in oil and rubbed them with lots of salt, and they were pretty good, but not as good as Outback's.

The other night, I soaked a couple of potatoes in a salt-water brine overnight, and they were much better, and I actually used less salt.

My questions about the brining are:

1) How long should you soak them in it? Can you soak them too long?

2) Should you poke the holes in the potato before, or after you brine?

And, regarding poking those holes, how many should you do, how deep should they be, and is there a better tool for doing it than a fork?

I've been doing a lot of holes, going in as deep as the fork will go, and it sucks. It also bends the for tines a lot. I figure I must be doing something wrong.

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Old 01-21-2009, 08:47 AM   #2
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And, regarding poking those holes, how many should you do, how deep should they be, and is there a better tool for doing it than a fork?
I've never brined a potato, but I use a paring knife instead of a fork for the hole pokin'
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Old 01-21-2009, 10:29 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by bowlingshirt View Post
I've never brined a potato, but I use a paring knife instead of a fork for the hole pokin'
same for me.
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Old 01-21-2009, 11:57 AM   #4
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Sean, my ds works at Outback. He says all they do is rub the potato in a liquid "margarine" and coat with kosher salt, then they are baked. That is it. He does alot of their prep.

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Old 01-21-2009, 12:39 PM   #5
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I've been told by someone who works for Outback, that they use the same oil that is used on buttered popcorn at the movies. It's not really butter, but a butter flavored oil. That's probably why you aren't getting the same flavor.

Why not ask the manager of Outback what they use. You might be able to buy it at a commercial food supply store or he might be kind enough to give you some to take home. All he can say is "no" but it's worth a try.
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Old 01-21-2009, 04:33 PM   #6
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If I use a paring knife to put the holes in the potatoes, how many should I put in there, and how deep should they be?
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Old 01-22-2009, 09:25 AM   #7
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I've brined my baked potatoes before, but haven't had results that have made me want to do it again. Make sure you are using a good baking potatoe, as a potato is not a potato. Different types of potatoes explained I normally rub my potatoes in olive oil, kosher salt & fresh cracked pepper and then throw them on the grill or in the oven. I don't wrap them in foil, as I prefer a crisper skin.
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Old 01-22-2009, 10:40 AM   #8
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If I use a paring knife to put the holes in the potatoes, how many should I put in there, and how deep should they be?
I usually poke mine on the top side at about 1" spacing 1/2-1" deep. All you're doing is making a pressure relief so they don't have a blowout...
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Old 01-22-2009, 10:43 AM   #9
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If I use a paring knife to put the holes in the potatoes, how many should I put in there, and how deep should they be?
There is no magic number for this. Just take a knife and poke a handful of times. There is no right or wrong way. As long as you get some holes in there you will be fine.
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Old 01-22-2009, 11:26 AM   #10
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I have brined lots of potatoes. I go for anywhere from 2 hours to 8. If I do just 2 hours, I start with hot water for faster penetration. If I'm doing 8 is use just enough hot water to melt the kosher salt and then add just warm water. After I brine I use a variety of salts on the outside and then pierce with a fork before baking. I love doing my baked potatoes this way. I don't use oil on the outside, I just rely on the moisture from the brine to hold the salts on. It's worked well in the past.
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Old 01-22-2009, 04:15 PM   #11
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Taters..

I've never poked holes in my baking potatoes. I rinse and dry and wrap them in foil and place them in a 400 oven for about an hour and a half or two hours. I can imagine it could "explode" in a microwave, but I've never had that happen.
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Old 01-22-2009, 04:17 PM   #12
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I agree with Phil. The only time I poke em is when they are going into the microwave. In an oven or in a camp fire I do not bother poking.
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Old 01-22-2009, 04:23 PM   #13
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I haven't had it happen but I've talked to a few people who did have brined potatoes explode because they aren't wrapped in foil, they are baked right on the rack. The foil doesn't allow the coating to crisp up which is why when you brine and coat but do not wrap, it is indeed a good idea to poke. My understanding from those who didn't poke say it happened because the brine develops a steam and the steam cooks the potato from inside as well as out.

Personally, I would rather poke than take the chance. The first place I saw this method was on a cooking show and the host did emphasize poking.
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Old 01-22-2009, 04:53 PM   #14
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Mmmm.

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Originally Posted by Callisto in NC View Post
I haven't had it happen but I've talked to a few people who did have brined potatoes explode because they aren't wrapped in foil, they are baked right on the rack. The foil doesn't allow the coating to crisp up which is why when you brine and coat but do not wrap, it is indeed a good idea to poke. My understanding from those who didn't poke say it happened because the brine develops a steam and the steam cooks the potato from inside as well as out.

Personally, I would rather poke than take the chance. The first place I saw this method was on a cooking show and the host did emphasize poking.
That's quite interesting. The only way to know for sure is try it out. We used to put potatoes up exhaust pipes as kids, but that's another story. I haven't experimented with brines and wonder if they add any real flavor to the potato at all. If you eat the skin, I see the justification. Salt on the skin of fowl, on the grill, acts as a "browning bag" as it seals in the juices. Years and years ago there was a steak house that touted a "rosin" baked potato, done in paper bags. I really don't know as someone will have to post from their experiences.
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Old 01-23-2009, 07:26 PM   #15
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That's quite interesting. The only way to know for sure is try it out. We used to put potatoes up exhaust pipes as kids, but that's another story. I haven't experimented with brines and wonder if they add any real flavor to the potato at all. If you eat the skin, I see the justification. Salt on the skin of fowl, on the grill, acts as a "browning bag" as it seals in the juices. Years and years ago there was a steak house that touted a "rosin" baked potato, done in paper bags. I really don't know as someone will have to post from their experiences.
Having done potatoes both ways, I believe brining does add flavor and fluff. The potatoes seem lighter in the middle. I'm just saying, it is my preferred method and if you are going to do it, poke before baking.
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Old 01-23-2009, 08:17 PM   #16
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What is liquid margarine?????
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Old 01-27-2009, 08:12 PM   #17
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What is liquid margarine?????
Ds says it's like the spray Parkay.....only in large quantities. They have it shipped in from corporate.

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