High heat is needed with open air flow so preheat oven to 425 degrees F and place two racks in oven, one in center and one just below the first. On the bottom rack, place a piece of foil large enough to catch drips from above.
Scrub potatoes under cold water, rubbing with your hands. Dry completely with paper towels.
Place potatoes on a tray and rub all over with olive oil, then sprinkle all over with kosher salt.
Once the oven is hot, place the potatoes directly onto the center rack (no pan, right on the rack) so that any drips, drip down to the foil.
The potato is done when the center reaches 210 degrees F which usually takes about an hour, depending on the thickness of the potato. However, this is where you can change the outside texture by continuing to bake longer.
Jack says: I like my outside skin to be crispy so I leave the potato in for another 30 minutes after it reaches 210 degrees F. The crispy outside skin is actually my favorite part of the potato. This does not hurt or overcook the inside, it stays at about 210 F and restaurants do this all the time. But at some point, they will overcook and dry out so you shouldn’t go more than a total of 1 ½ hours. If you like the outside skin soft, by all means, remove at 210 degrees at about the one-hour mark.
You can also tell when they are done by squeezing the center. If it gives, it is done. If it doesn’t then they need to cook longer.
Slit the top and with a fork, mash up the inside and add pats of butter, a dollop of sour cream, salt and pepper or any of your other favorite toppings.
Keywords: perfect baked potato, how to bake a potato