Perfect Baked Potato & My Bus Adventures

Perfect Baked Potato. An easy recipe for baked potatoes by Alton Brown |

As I’ve mentioned before, I live in the traffic-choked city of L.A. It’s a cool place, but it’s not perfect. For example, I don’t love trying to get on the 405, taking 45 minutes to get anywhere or screaming at idiots who think they own the road. Well, maybe I enjoy that last bit.

On occasion, I take the bus. How does that go? Well, we have a love-hate relationship, the bus and I.

I love that it’s cheap. I love that I can sit, relax and catch up on the latest from Karen at The Art of Doing Stuff. I love that I don’t have to pay for a wtf? $65 school parking permit. All I have to do is come up with a buck-fifty and enjoy the ride.


Cheap-ass ride = colorful cast of characters. Here are a few of my favorites/not-so-favorites:

The Smoker: This gent pulled a bunch of papers from his pocket. I figured he was just getting rid of junk; but then he took a bank receipt and used it to create a makeshift holder for the tiniest spliff I’ve ever seen. Waste not, want not…I guess. It was all I could do to suppress my laughter and was nothing but smiles for the rest of the ride.

The Pet Lover: This chatty-Cathy sat next to me and asked her mom to put her puppy on the phone.  She then proceeded to speak baby-talk to it for about 10 minutes. Hey man, I get it. Everyone loves their pets, but what’s with the baby-talk? On the phone? On the bus? Have you no shame? Apparently, not.

The Rastafarian: This guy sat down right next to me which was fine, until his stank wafted over. It was an incredibly offensive mix of chronic and ass. This one was partly my fault because if I know one thing it’s this, “Never sit at the back of the bus”. Sitting there is like asking for trouble….the extremely funky kind.

Perfect Baked Potato. An easy recipe for baked potatoes by Alton Brown |

I could go on, but I won’t. You’re busy and so am I. So let’s take a break and make a baked potato for lunch. Strike that. Let’s make the perfect baked potato.

It used to be when I wanted to make a “baked” potato, I would stab it with a fork a bunch of times, put it in a plastic bag, and throw it in the microwave. The result would be mediocre at best. The ends would be hard and overcooked, the skin would be soggy, and the inside would have that undercooked crunch which no one desires.

Enter Alton Brown, who puts the potato directly on the rack and then walks away for an hour. No foil, no mess and definitely no microwave. The outside is salted and crispy. The inside is light and fluffy. It’s fantastic!

Perfect Baked Potato Fixins |

Now, then…are you ready for a perfect baked potato? Excellent. Let’s go buy a 5 lb bag along with all the fixins. I’m gonna take the bus. Does anyone care to join me?

Perfect Baked Potato Recipe

Perfect Baked Potato recipe from Food Network

Perfect Baked Potato
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4
  • 1 russet potato (or up to 4)
  • canola oil
  • kosher salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Position racks in top and bottom thirds.
  3. Wash potato (or potatoes) thoroughly with a stiff brush and cold running water. Dry, then using a standard fork poke 8 to 12 deep holes all over the spud so that moisture can escape during cooking.
  4. Place in a bowl and coat lightly with oil.
  5. Sprinkle with kosher salt and place potato directly on rack in middle of oven.
  6. Place a baking sheet on the lower rack to catch any drippings.
  7. Bake 1 hour or until skin feels crisp but flesh beneath feels soft.
  8. Serve by creating a dotted line from end to end with your fork, then crack the spud open by squeezing the ends towards one another. It will pop right open. Mind the steam.
  9. Enjoy with a pad of butter, dollop of sour cream, sprinkle of cheese or whatever your heart desires.


Check out Dave’s photography technique at Perfect Baked Potato Photo Shoot: Behind the Scenes.