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Double_J

The Best Cheesesteaks in Philadelphia

I'm native to the northeast and am a tried and true cheesesteak fanatic. That said, even I will admit that the meat is usually less than stellar and mostly anonymous. It's really just a neutral binder to hold everything else together.

For me, there's just something about the wonderfully warm, soft, and greasy (in a good way) combination of meat, cheese, and fried onions bound together in a roll that's the perfect combination of chewy, crusty, and soft.

I'm happy to see that provolone is the fan favorite as I've always found cheez whiz to be too salty and not quite sharp enough to get the job done. If you're going the processed cheese route, it's better to go with american or munchee cheese. They're rich enough to satisfy without being overwhelming or cloying and both integrate well with the other flavors.

Also, there's absolutely nothing wrong with asking for extra fried onions and/or layering on some hot peppers to provide a little cut to the richness. Forgive my trashiness but ketchup is also a must.

How I Built a Barbecue Restaurant in Brooklyn: Changing the Menu and Considering Feedback

Banana pudding is delicious and if more people knew what it was, they would buy it.

The Food Lab's Complete Guide to a Stress-Free Thanksgiving

@fwilger - since you're pre-slicing, there's no reason you need to cook or keep the birds whole. You can separate the turkey into legs/thighs and breast before cooking and separate the skin from the meat (at least from the breast meat).

I'd most likely sous vide the breast meat and roast the legs/thighs but you could also roast the breast meat if it's easier (maybe just layer some bacon over it to keep in some moisture). After cooking the meat, let it rest and cool a bit, then carve as normal, put into a bag, and hold in a water bath. If you cook the breast meat sous vide, then just keep in the water bath until you need it.

Cook the skin by itself (a la the sous vide turkey recipe) and hold in a warming oven until you're ready to serve.

To serve, place the carved meat onto a warm platter straight out of the bag, chop the skin into small pieces and scatter over the meat (or just pile it up and let people take what they want).

The Food Lab's Complete Guide to a Stress-Free Thanksgiving

Does this article factor in that the cook (me) tends to get drunker the closer we get to dinner? That always seems to be the issue for me.

@fwilger - do you hold the turkey for a couple of hours because you have other things to finish right before service or because you don't want to be stuck in the kitchen once your guests arrive?

If the former, the battle isn't how to hold the turkey, the battle is how you can rearrange your cooking schedule so the turkey is the last thing done. Casseroles, gravy, etc. all do great in a warming oven. Meat is one of the few things that won't and even a short amount of time at 175 will kill it, regardless of what happens to the skin (especially if pre-sliced).

If the latter (i.e., you don't want to be stuck in the kitchen when guests are there), then you might want to explore sous vide. Cook the meat and skin separately a la the sous vide turkey recipe posted last week. The crisp skin should do fine in a warming oven.

Meat can be held in the water and kept at temp until right before service. If you don't want to cook the meat sous vide, you can still cook in the oven, let it cool off, put it into a bag, and then reheat in the water bath right before service (sous vide is wonderful for reheating meat).

If you cook the turkey sous vide, you could even cook the meat days ahead of time and keep in the fridge until T-day. Keep in the bag and then reheat in water right before dinner.

How to Cook a Spatchcocked Turkey: The Fastest, Easiest Thanksgiving Turkey

I love this method - don't let the prep scare you but it does require a really good pair of shears and a bit of fearlessness. Don't worry about perfection, just get in there and do it. It might seem like a mess while you're cutting but you won't notice in the end result.

Besides the amazingly short cooking time, the thing I love about this recipe is that it's easy to get every nook and cranny seasoned. Between a good application of salt and a day or two in the fridge to let the spatchcocked bird dry out a bit, the skin comes out so crispy and delicious. The fridge time also acts as a dry brine so you don't have to worry about a waterlogged bird.

Only word of caution. Definitely use a thermometer to monitor progress. This sucker cooks faster than you think and since every oven and bird is different, it's hard to rely on 'X minutes per pound'. My bird last year was about 18 pounds and it cooked in something like an hour (starting from room temp).

What's Better Than Cheddar on Apple Pie? Cheddar Ice Cream

It might be because I'm from the northeast but I just threw up in my mouth a little.

Classic Sage and Sausage Stuffing (or Dressing)

Love this recipe - it's so straightforward and results are great. I'll be using it again this year.

One question. I'll be using bagged pre-dried and cubed bread this year (don't hate, I'm cooking for 40). Any tips on what to watch out in terms of conversion (pre-bagged cubes are about 0.5 inch instead of 0.75 and I'm guessing they're much drier than would be produced from fresh).

Assuming I do 3 batches of the original recipe and keep the non-bread ingredient measures the same per batch, do you think that scaling the bread back to something like 1.75 to 2.0 pounds per batch would be a decent guess?

How to Make Queso Fresco, the World's Easiest Cheese

I love queso fresco but for some reason, my mind went directly to 'queso' when I saw the headline (i.e., trashy nacho cheese dip).

Now I'm disappointed though I'm sure this is a great receipe for queso fresco.

How to Crack Eggs Like a Badass

I forget where I saw the tip but should you get pieces of egg shell into your eggs, fish them out with another piece of egg shell. I have no idea why it works, but it's almost like the egg shells are magically attracted to each other. None of that stupid painful chasing of egg shells around the bowl.

Breakfast of Champions: Why New Jersey is Crazy for Pork Roll

NJ native here and pork roll is worth the hype. Best sliced thin and griddled with egg, cheese, and ketchup on a kaiser roll (the egg is optional as a plain pork roll and cheese sandwich is also a standard diner order in these parts).

Just as acceptable when served withed pancakes. Just like bacon, pork roll does really well with maple syrup.

By itself it's actually kind of meh. It doesn't really work well as a standalone breakfast meat for some reason. Best to stick with bacon (or scrapple if you're so inclined) for that purpose.

Also, because I have to defend my state's integrity - regardless of that deli sign above, I can assure you that we normally spell potato without the E just like the other 49 states.

How to Make my Mother-in-Law's Ultra-Crispy Fillipino Fried Spareribs

Delicious but be warned, you'll smell like garlic something terrible afterwards.

I've done these with ribs before and the 'gnawiness' of the end product is part of the appeal. That said, you can also use boneless pork nuggets and get a great result (cut-up country ribs tend to work really well due to the mix of fatty and lean).

The end result when using boneless cuts is really tender and soft since the marinade/batter/fry process mimics the velveting process used in chinese stir fries.

The Food Lab Turbo: How to Make Lighter Tuna Noodle Casserole With Just One Pan (and No Knives!)

But I love tuna melts, especially the variety served by most NJ diners after midnight. The secret is rye bread, white or wheat just won't do.

Those and gravy fries are the ultimate diner guilty pleasure.

Also, this looks great. I'll be giving it a shot. The tip on cornstarch and egg into the dairy is interesting and I can't wait to see how it works.

Dim Sum Classics: How to Make Crystal Skin Shrimp Dumplings (Har Gow)

Forget the bean curd wraps or anything else. These, siu mai, and pork ribs with black beans are what define dim sum for me.

Thanks for the recipe. I'll likely try it this weekend.

9 Must-Try Vietnamese Drinks

"Local coffee beans are roasted with butter and fish sauce to bring out chocolate notes in the final brew"

I don't even want to know about the alchemy that goes into this.

6 Grilling Hacks to Step Up Your Live-Fire Game

Any hacks for how to speed up the cleaning part of grilling? I love charcoal grilling but the only reason I use my gas grill so often is that I hate having to wait for a good hour+ for coals to completely cool before I can cover and put the grill away (though I do appreciate that the remaining heat helps to burn a lot of the crud off of my grates).

How I Built a Barbecue Restaurant in Brooklyn: The Trouble With Contractors

@Tyson Ho. What happens with the pig skin in Carolina BBQ? I can't recall if it's actually eaten as part of the main dish?

Is it fried or something after the fact? I bet smoked, deep fried pig skin would be kinda neat.

How I Built a Barbecue Restaurant in Brooklyn: The Trouble With Contractors

Just to clarify for those of us who aren't site insiders (though the last post seems to confirm it) - user "Serious Eats Copy Editor" is not affiliated with the site and is basically speaking out of his/her butt?

That said, the series really is outstanding. I'd read all of the sponsored posts if they were this good!

How I Built a Barbecue Restaurant in Brooklyn: The Trouble With Contractors

or your mechanic to choose the color of your car.

5 Rules of Hong Kong Dining That You Should Know Before You Go

When the fortune cookie says "I pee pee on your rice", they're kidding. Usually.

The Best Sweet Use for Your Smoker? Smoked Ice Cream

I'm betting that cream would go great in a savory application, too. Clam chowder is the first thing that comes to mind or maybe some braised leeks...

RE: smoking methods, I don't do it indoors since it's impossible to keep the smokey smell from permeating everything, even with doors/windows open and the vent fan on full blast. If you have a working fireplace, it'd be an intruiging exercise to see if you can set up a rig there.

That said, if you have an outdoor grill, that's still the easiest option. You don't really need much heat at all, only enough to get/keep the wood smoking. If you've never tried smoking in a weber kettle or something similar, it's way simple. In fact, I default to using a kettle grill for smoking over my dedicated vertical smoker for anything outside of long, low heat cook sessions.

Check the article from last week on smoked ribeyes. That method should work pretty well here (i.e., low heat). In addition to the ice batch, you could even add another pan of water to keep things super cool.

11 1/2 Things You Can Do With a Wooden Spoon (Besides Stirring)

Also, if you ever need to do a home-amputation of a limb without the benefit of pharmaceuticals, you can take a swig of whiskey and then bite down on a wooden spoon handle while the cutting is going on to help manage the pain.

This method also works should you ever need to dig a bullet out of your body.

I should note that I've never tried this myself but I have seen it done in tons of movies.

The Food Lab Turbo: How to Make The Best Egg Salad

Egg salad belongs on plain white bread!

Manner Matters: The Finer Points of Eating With Your Hands

My homemade rules for fried and boneless chicken -

Indoors - if referred to as a cutlet or something similar (e.g., thinly slice chicken breast) on the menu, eat with utensils. If referred to as 'fingers', or 'nuggets', or 'tenders' or something similar, hands are OK.

Outdoors - if served on a real plate, default to indoor rules. If served on a disposable plate, I don't think anyone will be standing on ceremony.

On a somewhat related note - I propose a moratorium on corn on the cob being served at any function that goes beyond family and/or close friends. Between the whole eat with hands issue and the added risk of pieces getting stuck in teeth, it's the one food I really stay away from in any situation that requires any level of decorum.

An Open Letter to Serious Eaters

Heh heh heh.

Just kidding - thought it would be a fitting way to close this thread out.

An Open Letter to Serious Eaters

I make $2,500 per week working from home. Ask me how!

Spring = Pig Roast!

Got my in-laws a "chinese box" roaster for Christmas and we're celebrating spring with a pig roast.

The hog has been ordered (80 pounds hanging weight) now we just need to decide how to prepare it.

Right now I'm thinking that we'll just do a simple adobo type rub (salt/pepper/garlic/onion) since I'm not a huge fan of citrus-based mojos (though my experience with it is fairly limited).

What are your favorite methods of roasting a whole pig? Any tips or advice for a newbie?

Counter top Combi Oven?

I've been wanting a combi oven at home for a while now but can't get myself even close to justifying thousand of dollars to install an in-wall unit.

I just noticed that a small countertop combi oven is on the market. Does anybody have any experience with it? Is it worth the spend?

Perhaps an equipment test is in order...

Thankgiving recap

I'm calling an end to the T-day leftover season. Generally, two meals of sandwiches and one 'new' dish from leftovers are all I can stomach.

The overall day of went very well, I only ran about 45 minutes behind schedule and that was because the bread I had purchased for stuffing three days before turned out to have mold on it and necessitated an unexpected trip to the store on the morning of.

All food came out awesome - thanks mainly to the recipes on this website.

We even managed to use up almost all the leftovers with the exception of stuffing. I drastically overestimated how much I would need by about double. At least it was relatively cheap - I'm estimating total wastage from Thanksgiving to be about $10 worth of food - not too bad in my eyes.

How your holiday turn out?

Roasts - rest time impact on carryover?

A quick question on roasting meat and resting time - I always let my roasts rest for at least 30 minutes before carving and count on about 5 to 10 degrees of carryover during the rest, depending on size.

If I know that I'm going to finish the roast early and give it a 60 minute rest instead of 30 minutes, will the carryover impact be more than I'm used to?

In other words, is 30 minutes the point at which roasts will generally hit their 'terminal' temperature or will temps continue to rise with a longer rest?

Better to...

Get a 'boring' meal on the table prepared via traditional means 10 times out of 10 or to risk a spectacular crash and burn by trying an as yet unproven (but potentially better) cooking method for an important part of an important meal?

Discuss.

Speaking for myself, I will be butterflying my bird this year before roasting but can safely say that grilling, confitting, steaming(recommended by Jacques Pepin in the NY Times), or turduckening will not be anywhere close to my radar screen this Thanksgiving.

What's your appetite for holiday experimentation and risk? Any good stories to tell?

Sous Vide Smells?

I've been playing with my new SVS for the past few weeks - definitely worth the hype. That said, I've cooked beef a few times and experienced an odd odor every time (both while the bags were in the bath and after I took the beef out of the bags). It didn't really smell bad, it just smelled a bit metallic and chemically. The smell only seems to manifest with beef - pork and chicken have been fine and odorless as you'd expect them to be.

Seasonings or marinades don't seem to make a difference. Food safety isn't an issue as I've been following the existing charts religiously. All instances were cook-serve, so no problems with cooking or storage. All beef tasted normal despite the smell.

Anybody else experienced this? I've found a few references on the internet for off-smelling beef that sounds very similar to what I'm experiencing but no real answers.

My thoughts on what could be causing it:

1.) Beef is the only ingredient I've cooked for longer than 3 hours. I wonder if the bags that come with the SVS machine release sort of odor after an extended period in the bath? Also, it seems odd that I'd be able to smell the food through the bags while still in the bath so maybe the bags themselves are generating the smell.

2.) All beef was previously frozen before being prepped for the SVS. All in vacuum packs directly from the butcher and defrosted at safe temps in the fridge. I put them into the freezer pretty much directly from the butcher case but I wonder if they might have begun to spoil before they ever hit the deep freeze. I've used beef this way in non-SV applications before and never noticed a problem - I wonder if the long time in water tends to magnify a spoilage issue or if the smells created by other high heat cooking methods have been masking it?

3.) The smell is just the smell of beef. I'm just not used to it because other cooking methods tend to hide the smell.

Thoughts?

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