Sous Vide Pulled Pork, looking for input

Keep in mind that the apple slices won't do much in the bag at that temp. Generally vegetables need to get to 180 or so before they begin to break down.

Rubs are totally up to you. Start with Alton Brown's 8-3-1-1 rub recipe and modify as you see fit.

I'm still not sure I'm sold on the idea of sous vide pulled pork. Part of what makes the dish for me is the contrast between the soft fattier bits and the chewier/burned barky/meaty bits. I feel like sous vide pork would be almost too soft to be really interesting.

Sous Vide Probs

Are you sure it wasn't just the cut you were using? Did you remove all silver skin and slice against the grain?

It's also very possible that you seared a little too long - since hangars are pretty small cuts, it could be easy to overcook with the final sear, especially if the meat isn't completely dry before going into the pan.

Fried Chicken Prep - freezer question

Only one way to find out - give it a shot and let us know if it works.

If you want to take uncertainty out of the picture, you could always use Thomas Keller's chicken brine in place of buttermilk. It creates outstanding fried chicken. It's a pretty straight forward mixture, off the top of my head, water, salt, honey, garlic, lemon, parsley, thyme, and peppercorns.

Work Pot Luck

@breezycooking. Sorry internet police, I didn't think. Price wasn't given as a consideration.

I will retract my suggestion.

How about goat meatballs instead?

What To Do With Leftover Pork Roast

Sandwich - pork, broccoli rabe, and provolone.

Work Pot Luck

Lamb meatballs. Use rice flour for your binder instead of breadcrumbs. Leave out the cheese and go mediterranean on the seasoning/sauce.

Culinary land mines

Ditto bread and butter pickles and licorice flavored things.

I'll add chocolate chips to the list. I realize I'm probably in the minority with this one but while I love them in cookies or when melted, I find them offputting in most other contexts (especially in ice cream or cannoli filling because the texture contrast is yuck).

How do I cook good food for a VERY large crowd?

If you've never cooked for a group this large before, it might not be something you want to take on for the first time in a 'live-fire' situation.

Everything is different when cooking for a large group than for a small one, from equipment tools and process, to prep and cook timing and portion size planning. Home experience does not translate to a professional kitchen.

I know you look down on it but there's a reason that boring or 'cafeteria' food is appropriately suited to serving large groups of people with set service times. In food service, ambition is often the enemy of execution.

On time commitment and staff sizing - the fact that you are thinking about approaching this with a team of 5 says that you might not have a great grip on what it will really take to execute. To put it in perspective (and this is still probably understating the case), each person on the team will be cooking 3 meals a day for 30 people. It will be more than a full-time job for even a relatively skilled cook.

My recommendation - don't do it. Best case, you'll put you and your team through hell to deliver food that will likely be of marginal quality (or worse than the professionals could put out at the very least). Worst case, you put your team through hell and 150 people still go hungry for 3 days.

Advice for the beginning of a knife collection

I have big hands as well and also tend to favor larger and more contoured handles. I'll echo conventional wisdom and say buy only the knives that naturally fit your hands and grip. Those are the ones you'll end up using most, even if they're miles cheaper or less sharp than some of the others you have around.

RE: chopping boards, absolutely invest in a good thick butchers block. They feel so much better than the thin bamboo or plastic ones. Also, if your big hands are proportional to your height, I can almost guarantee that you've been cutting on too low a surface. Adding a couple of inches to your counter height by using a really thick block will do wonders for your back.

On traveling with knives, it's not worth the risk to your knives or the extra load in your luggage. If you must bring a knife with you, a 6" or 8" chef's knife will be adequate for almost all of your cutting needs while on the road. Buy a mid-range one that'll hold a decent edge and use the retail packaging as your travel case. Chuck it into your checked luggage and call it a day. Otherwise, plan on buying a knife when you need it. It's a good excuse to check out stores or brands that you might not find at home. Based on my experience with extended business trips, you'll find that you have plenty of time to kill on weekends so the shopping excursion will be most welcome.

Spring = Pig Roast!

Thanks for the ideas.

Yes - we have the La Caja China #1 so our pig will 'only' be about 50 to 60 pounds dressed (I changed the order to a smaller pig to make sure it fits in the box). While it might not be as visually impressive as having a behemoth on a spit, the smaller size and oven set up should make the process very manageable for two people. From what I've read, this size pig should still yield something like 20-25 pounds of meat which is more than enough for our needs.

I'll let you know how it goes - I think we're planning on following the directions on the box pretty strictly though we're going to err on the longer side of cooking times to make sure the meat is 100% pullable. The directions are pretty specific on how much charcoal to add and when in order to manage the heat levels.

The only real tips I've seen about using the box thus far are to use charcoal briquettes instead of lump hardwood. The briquettes burn much cooler and help to manage the risk of burning or over drying out the leaner portions of meat. Also, normal to any oven type cooking, opening the lid more than necessary will drastically increase cooking times. Outside of that, it looks pretty brainless. The hardest part will probably be trying to keep the dogs from getting too close!

Thanks for the advice on the injected marinades - we'll make that a must do.

Converting cooking time for Sous Vide

Why 165? I'd do 48 hours or so somewhere in the low 130's. The meat will stay medium rare but it'll have long enough for the connective tissue to break down despite the lowish heat.

Hollendaise Sauce

If a fast food place puts a lot of those ingredients in their food, the public thinks that it's disgusting and wrong.

If a chef does it, then they call it molecular gastronomy!

Preparing Two Sous Vide Rib-eyes

If cooking meats to different donenesses, it's safer to cook both to the lower temp first, remove one, and then up the heat to finish cooking the other to the higher temp. This way there's no chance that you'll overcook the one intended to stay at a lower temp.

And yes, sous vide does take some getting used to since the final sear is only meant to brown the exterior and timing is not dependent on thickness. The real key is to adequately dry and season the meat before searing in an outrageously hot pan (or grill) to make sure the browning happens fast enough.

Also, sous vide is one of the best ways I know of to reheat leftover meats as well. It's darned easy to bring it to serving temp with no risk of overcooking, etc.

Pomegranate seeds

Just eat them seeds and all by the handful. The crunch is one of the things that makes pomegranite seeds so appealing.

savory or sweet breakfast?

After rethinking it - would you consider pancakes and sausage with everything drenched in syrup sweet or savory?

I give up. I don't really eat breakfast.

savory or sweet breakfast?

Wait...I think I meant that the other way around. Sweet during the week, savory on weekends.

savory or sweet breakfast?

Savory during the week, sweet on weekends.

Onions and digestive issues.

Maybe try rinsing or blanching them before cooking? It'll help to get rid of some of the sulfides.

At the very least, rinse your chopped or sliced onions well under cold water before eating raw. They'll stay fluffy for a long time and much of the sulfury punch will be gone (meaning you won't be tasting them hours later). Thanks to Jacques Pepin for that little tip.

What food would you miss most as a vegan?

Chinese take-out spare ribs.

I'm quitting the site

I have no interest in being a vegan personally but vegan month did inspire me to finally get around to trying ma po tofu (delicious) and to eat a little bit less meat for a couple of meals, anyway.

Well done, I say. The change of pace is refreshing since it's so easy to get stuck on thick and heavy comfort meal foods towards the end of winter.

Beanless Chili - love or hate it?

Chili without beans is just stew.

Chew on that, Texas!

Some thoughts and questions on doubling a ragu bolognese

Also, part of what differentiates a bolognese from a more common meat sauce is the fact that the meat is simmered for so long. It helps to break it down a bit and makes it really soft in the end result. Done properly, you won't have big chunks of meat as you would in a chili, instead you'll get more or less a uniform consistency throughout the entire sauce.

Some thoughts and questions on doubling a ragu bolognese

One note - many bolognese sauce recipes make a soupier sauce than you might be used too. I use the "Joy of Cooking" recipe (very similar to Kenji's) and the consistency of the result is more comparable to a very thin chili than to a traditional thick red sauce.

If you serve pasta the traditional way (i.e., heat the pasta with the sauce in the pan before serving instead of tossing the pasta with the sauce in a bowl at the table), then this soupiness actually works out in your favor - the pasta absorbs a good amount of the liquid and the starch from the pasta (along with some olive oil & cheese added at the last minute) helps to pull everything together.

For this usage, you might actually be shooting for a 'looser' sauce since you'll ultimately be baking the lasagna. Similar to what I described above, you actually want a good amount of liquid for the noodles to absorb while it's in the oven. This will help to add a ton of flavor to the noodles and keep everything moist while it bakes.

Counter top Combi Oven?

Thanks, Loco food guy.

The one I saw is made by Cuisinart. Looks to be about toaster oven sized with a self-contained water reservoir on the side and no need for external drainage.

For the others - thanks for the suggestions but combi ovens are different than traditional convection ovens. The main difference is that they can control humidity and as such, they can maintain rock solid temperatures for anywhere from ~100F to ~500F. Basically, they can function like a sous vide machine, a steamer, or like a traditional oven. And the humidity control allows them to cook traditional roasted items faster or to bake bread with great crusts, etc.

Macadamia Nut "Ricotta" From 'Nom Nom Paleo'

when I was a kid we used to call ground up nuts 'nut butter' instead of 'nut cheese'. Thank goodness Nom Nom Paleo's innovation finally righted that wrong.

Just kidding. Seriously though, this is a prime example of where I think more diets should adopt Kenji's stance on vegan cooking/recipes. Labeling an item as a replacement for another only serves to highlight what's missing. It's more satisfying to celebrate something based on it's own merits rather than to celebrate it for it's ability to substitute for something else.

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?


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.


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