To make our authentically flavored jerk chicken, start with a powerfully flavored marinade and brine combination, followed by a low and slow smoke over smoldering allspice berries and bay leaves.
'The Food LAb' on Serious Eats
"I am wondering about the noodles in canned noodle soups. Homemade noodle soups become thick and mushy as the noodles suck up all the broth, but canned soups retain a decent (not great) texture, and don't seem to absorb broth, no matter how long they sit in the store or my pantry. How do they do that? Do I want to know?"
If there is one universal culinary truth, it's that bacon is easy, which probably explains why I don't often order it on my burger. It takes the fun and the challenge out of the whole thing. Pretty much any burger's gonna taste good with a pile of crisp bacon on top of it, right? Well today we're throwing decency to the wind. I don't often eat bacon on my burgers, but when I do, I want them to be the baconiest bacon burgers I can eat.
The ultimate bacon cheeseburger with beef cooked in bacon fat, a bacon fat mayonnaise, onions caramelized in bacon fat, buns toasted in bacon fat, and a crisp bacon weave topping.
So, what's the best way to grill corn? I frequently use three different methods, and each has its distinct advantages and drawbacks. We may not be able to agree on the ultimate technique, but we might as well have a delicious ear or two shoved in our mouths while arguing it over, agreed? Here's the full breakdown.
Basic grilled corn cooked on a hot fire until blistered and charred, served with butter and salt.
"Does resting food under foil help retain heat or just destroy crispy skin? Or is the skin / crust not affected by a foil tent? Does protein laid bare on a plate loose that much extra heat, that tenting with foil is required? If foil is not used and the protein cools down faster does that help speed up the re-distribution of juices? I'm in the crispy skin / crackling crust crowd so I don't like to tent under foil. Am I terribly mistaken?"
I can't say that I grew up eating cole slaw, nor was it love at first taste. In fact, I didn't truly start loving cole slaw until I tasted the excellent version that Barbara Lynch makes at her B&G Oysters in Boston's South End. Rather than soupy or gloppy with excess mayonnaise, the slaw there is tangy and fresh, with just a hint of creaminess to bind it together. That's what we're after in this week's Food Lab.
Classic cole slaw of deeply flavored, sweet-and-tangy cabbage. The secret is to do a rapid purge of excess cabbage liquid with a quick cure of salt and sugar before tossing the shreds in a creamy dressing.
Thicker is not always better. I like my milkshakes drinkable through a straw and my friends relatively intelligent. But when you're talking a high-end steak for the grill or cast iron skillet, your steak's got to be at least thick enough to allow you to get a really great, crusty sear without overcooking the center. Here's how to get the ideal portion cut for grilling the perfect steak.
"Could you explain and differentiate the variety of terms for cooking food in fat in a pan: brown, caramelize, fry, sauté, soften, sweat, etc.?"
Let's start this post with the most basic of statements: Flipping your steak often during grilling or pan-searing will result in the best, most evenly cooked meat. Okay, it's probably not a big spoiler to anyone around here anymore. But it's the why that really makes the statement interesting.
I've done quite a few grilled recipes for The Food Lab over the years. Here are a few of my absolute favorite recipes—the ones that I spent the most time working on, or the ones that simply appear time and again during my summer cookouts.
This version of the classic Hot Brown sandwich takes out the one head-scratching element: the turkey. I mean, it's not like the turkey taste bad, per se. I quite like the turkey in there. But still, it has always felt odd to me to combine what is regarded as one of the healthier meat choices with what has the potential to be the greatest calorific splurge of a sandwich ever created. Replacing the turkey with a grilled juicy hamburger patty realizes that potential.
A grilled burger patty served open-faced on a slice of toasted bread with bacon, tomato, and cheesy Mornay sauce broiled until bubbling.
There's not really much to making a perfect Surf N' Turf burger. All you need is some impeccably good beef and lobster and absolutely perfect execution. Easy, right? Here's how.
A grilled hamburger topped with lobster salad and crispy bacon.
I'm not particularly proud of my time time spent working at the kinds of cheesy chain restaurants you'd find next to the Victoria's Secret at the mall or perhaps in Times Square. But aside from making me shun any writer that uses the phrase "X to perfection," it did teach me one valuable lesson: People looooooove meat served on a sizzling platter. Today at The Food Lab, we figure out the best way to make them at home.
Pico de gallo literally translates to "rooster beak," and while the etymology is not exactly exhaustively documented, I trust the New Food Lover's Companion's explanation that the finger motion you use when picking up bits of pico de gallo to stuff into your tacos or top your totopos resembles a rooster's beak. Also known as salsa fresca or salsa mexicana (because of its resemblance to the colors of the Mexican flag), it's made by combining chopped tomatoes, onions, and chilies. But our version is ever-so-slightly more optimized for better flavor and texture.
Onions and beef go together like baths and bubbles, like Wallace and Gromit, like hitchhikers and towels, like...you get the picture. They belong together, long for each other's company. A burger without onions is still a burger, but tuck a few slices of raw sweet onion underneath or spread a pile of deeply browned caramelized onions on top and you've got yourself something that is suddenly more than a sum of its parts. Nowhere is this fact more well-known than in Oklahoma, home of the Onion Burger, a burger that is nearly as much onion as it is meat. Today we're gonna talk about how to make your own at home.