Fire-Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Pecans

Southern Kitchen
These sweet potatoes have a depth of flavor from the roasting process.

bout the recipe

Try roasting your sweet potatoes in a fire pit or the smoldering coals in a charcoal grill for a smoky twist on our favorite yam puree. This method helps to build complexity as well as to amplify the vegetable’s natural sweetness without adding any additional sugar. Browning the butter involves separating the milk solids from the butterfat and toasting them on the bottom of the pot. Watch the butter carefully, as it can turn from browned to burnt very quickly. Brown butter adds a nuttiness to the dish and deepens the flavor of the sweet potatoes.

Serves: 8

Hands on time: 25 minutes

Total time: 2 hours and 15 minutes


4 large sweet potatoes

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cup chopped pecans, toasted


Prepare a fire in a fire pit or a full chimney of coals in a charcoal grill. Let the fire burn down so that you no longer see large flames. If using a charcoal grill, pile the coals into a mound in the center of the grill.

Meanwhile, wrap the sweet potatoes in heavy-duty aluminum foil or a double layer of standard aluminum foil.

Once the coals are hot, bury the wrapped sweet potatoes in the coals. Let cook, adding additional coals as necessary, until the potatoes are completely soft, 1 to 2 hours. Transfer to a baking sheet and let cool slightly. When cool enough to handle, remove the foil and the skins from the potatoes.

While the potatoes are cooking, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Continue to cook the butter until it separates and the milk solids on the bottom of the pot have turned golden brown, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.

In a food processor, combine the peeled sweet potatoes and nutmeg. If using a smaller food processor, do this step in two batches. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the brown butter. Continue to process until the potatoes are silky and smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Transfer to a 9- by 13-inch serving dish and top with the pecans. Serve.

If making ahead, the potatoes can be held in the baking dish at room temperature for several hours, or in the refrigerator overnight. Reheat in a low oven or low grill until hot. If reheating on a grill, make sure to use a metal or heat-proof ceramic baking dish.