Yams are related to the sweet potato family, but are not quite the same. We have cooked both on the grill and prefer the tenderness and flavor of yams. Here is how to cook yams for a special side dish treat for your next barbecue.
This recipe is intended for the grill, but can also be used for oven cooking.
Look for yams in the vegetable section of your grocery store. Not all stores carry yams. If you cannot find yams, you can substitute sweet potatoes, but yams have a slightly better flavor.
Select the largest yams. Look for yams with good coloring, no tears in the skin and no bruising. A nice yam will look like a very fat banana. One large 6 inch to 8 inch yam will serve two people as a side dish with a steak, barbecued rib, turkey drumsticks or whatever you choose as the main dish.
Start by washing the yam. Split the yam lengthwise. An uncooked yam is very hard, so be careful that you do not cut yourself. It is easiest if you use a cutting board and stand the yam on end. It is easier to cut if you slice off the pointed ends of the yam. You may have to rock the knife slightly to cut through the thickest part. Keep your fingers behind the knife to avoid accidents.
Place both halves of the sliced yam on a sheet of aluminum foil. The foil needs to be large enough to wrap around both halves, with enough foil to fold over and seal the cooking package. Place several slabs of butter on top of the yams. If you want, you can sprinkle a little brown sugar for a sweeter flavor.
Fold the foil around the sliced yam. Keep the sliced side up. Seal the foil by folding over the edges and wrapping it around the yams.
Yams take quite a while to cook. Plan to cook them on a medium heat for about 1 hour and 15 minutes. A nicely cooked yam will be very soft and will melt in your mouth. If you are in a hurry, you can cook yams for a little as a half-hour, but they may be a little hard. We prefer them very soft and well-cooked. This means that you may have to start grilling the yams well before you start to grill steaks or chicken drumsticks.
When the yams are fully cooked, the package may be limp. Plan to remove the foil package from the grill using a grill spatula. Give the package a couple of minutes to cool slightly, because the yam will be steamy when you open the package. Serve with your favorite main dish and enjoy!