Recipe: Grilled Island Fries

Ok. So even in the summer I crave french fries. But I don’t crave heating up a big pot of oil inside the house. There’s a solution: grilled fries. The fine people of Nauru love their fries. While most of them enjoy deep-fried fries, we covered that with Belgium Pommes Frites. So, inspired by their island setting – where the fine people of Nauru love to grill – I thought it’d be fun to try grilled fries.

And it was fun.

In my research I found several ways to make these, including boiling the potatoes and then slicing (again, who wants to heat up the house with a big pot of bubbling water? Not me!).

I decided to try something different. Something simpler. I crossed my fingers, shut my eyes, and hoped against hope that it would work.

And it did.

Here is how I did it.

Sunset on Nauru. Photo by Clive Cooper.

Serves up to 5


5 large yukon gold potatoes, washed
vegetable oil
salt & pepper


First, find the largest yukon gold potatoes you can. You can also use Russets, although they are a bit more temperamental and want to fall apart if you overcook them even the littlest bit.

Cook your potatoes on the second rack of your grill preheated to about 425F. You aren’t looking to completely¬†cook them. You just want to get them started.¬†These large ones took about 15 minutes. I did smaller ones and they only took 10 minutes.

Remove from grill and set aside until cool enough to handle – about ten minutes. Meanwhile, go for a walk or a jog on the airport runway, just like the locals. Don’t worry, you’ll be safe. Airplanes only land – at most – twice per week.

Nauru's airport landing strip. Photo by Cedric Favero.

When you return home, cut open the potatoes there should be a circle of raw, light-colored potato in the middle. That’s good! If it’s all the same color you cooked them too long.

This raw area ensures that the potato will hold up to cutting without falling apart. It also keeps the thin section of the wedge from overcooking during the second grilling. Win-win!

Brush or toss in a shimmering sea of oil. Then sprinkle with several happy shakes of salt and pepper.

Grill on the lower part of your grill, on both sides, until as browned as you’d like. Be sure to oil the grill to help keep them from sticking.

The longer they sit there, the more charred they get. You’re looking for 3-5 minutes per side, depending on how you like ‘em.

Serve immediately with ketchup.

Or whatever floats your Nauruan boat.

So what do you think… are Grilled Island Fries in your future?

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  1. elisa waller says:

    Ok.. first of all what a great dress Ava is wearing <3….LOL yay! and Ihope this technique will work with my old fashioned charcoal grill..gonna go to WHole Foods here and buy some more of their fantastic hardwood burning chips….and go for it…the fried will come out with a smoky flavor….yum

    • Sasha Martin says:

      Her fabulous Aunty stitched her name on it. ;) I bet it’ll work. Just be sure to keep the potatoes off of indirect heat for the first cooking, so it’s more gentle. Good luck and let me know how it works out.

  2. Collette Lemons says:

    I slice mine then microwave the slices before tossing them in oil and adding the seasoning. mrs. dash table Blend is really good on them if you use olive oil.

    • Sasha Martin says:

      Ohh I love them with olive oil… yum! I don’t have a microwave but your tip is great for those who do. Thanks!

  3. This is perfect for our hot michigan summer days! Thanks for exploring this recipe for us!! I’m wondering if you think this would work with Sweet Potatoes as well? Any tips you can think of as Sweet Potatoes are generally a little softer than regular Yukon or Russet’s?

    Looking forward to slicing these up with some Lamb Burgers over the weekend! DROOOL!

    • Sasha Martin says:

      Hmm, I’d be careful – you might want to cook it less, to avoid the mushiness or try Collette’s trick of microwaving them… let me know how it went. I’ll have to try this myself and see, because I love sweet potato fries!

  4. I linked to your website a week or so ago. Your timing is perfect with this recipe. Tonight my hubby and I were going to try grilling potatoes, along with marinated chicken, and I was going to have to figure out how. Now I don’t have to because you did all the work for me. Thanks!

  5. These look totally amazing :) I love thickly cut fries and love the idea of grilling them!
    P.S. Do they really walk down the runway in Nauru?

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