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At $65, The Misen Chef's Knife is the Holy Grail of Knives

"...the knife is going into my drawer..."

HERETIC!!! Knives go on a magnetic knife rack. Never in a drawer! ;-)

Charcoal Versus Gas Grills: The Definitive Guide

I used gas grills for years. Then one spring, I realized some critter had chewed through the rubber hose that transferred the gas from the canister to the burner. Hey, no problem, I thought--I'll just go to Home Depot or go online and order a replacement part! Alas, none were available. So the whole thing went in the trash. Bought a cheap charcoal grill in the meantime, and realized how much better the flavor was.

Fast forward a couple of years, and I started doing low-n-slow barbecue with a cheap cooker that had an offset firebox (so it could be used for grilling or barbecuing). Amazing results. That one lasted a few years, and was replaced by a similar (cheap) offset smoker/grill, which also fell apart way too soon. Still, great ribs, pork butt, etc.

This year I found out about the Pit Barrel Cooker ( Let me tell you something--this thing is a revelation. It cost me $300 (free shipping), and it has made the best ribs, pulled pork, chicken, and pork tenderloin I've ever eaten. It's virtually hands-free. You don't have to keep adding fuel or checking on the temperature; you don't have to flip your meat every so often; you don't have to spray apple juice on your ribs to keep them from drying out. I don't know how it works, exactly, but it is the BEST cooker I've ever owned. Check it out. (And no, I don't work for the company, and the owner isn't my brother-in-law.)

Get Episodes 3 and 4 of The Food Lab Video Series Today!

Sorry, guys, but given the preponderance of FREE video available online these days, there's no way I'm going to pay for a video on how to make a roast chicken.

And for what it's worth, I can't stand the new layout. I used to visit the site almost daily, but now it's more like once every 7-10 days. It's not nearly as user-friendly as it used to be.

The Food Lab's All-American Meatloaf

@kenji: "Space constraints"???

It's a web page, dude, not a printed newspaper. You can have all the space you want. It's OK to admit you forgot to mention it in the article.

Dense, Chewy, and Rich New England-Style Ice Cream

Is there a good substitute for the arrowroot starch? Can I use corn starch?

No Tools? No Experience? No Problem. How I Hacked an Ace Barbecue Smoker

I bought my first smoker at Home Depot for about $125. It came fully assembled. That was a lot easier than this contraption. But hey--if it works for you, go for it!

Kenji's Excellent Asian Adventures, Part 4: The Long, Smelly Road to Chengdu

Aside from the food, this sounds thoroughly awful. Hey, Kenji: Be sure to visit your doctor as soon as you get home.


The Food Lab: The Best Way To Grill Sausages

Fat is SO important when it comes to sausage making. I learned the hard way, with my first batch of Italian sausage and my first hot dogs. I'm not averse to fat at all, but just didn't realize how much I needed to include. It's true--40 percent fat would make a lovely sausage. Anything less than 20 percent, and you've got a dry stick of meat.

The Chain Breaker: A Dairy Queen Like No Other

Interesting. While I get that corporate would want to maintain a certain standard across all their stores, I would think they'd encourage a little creativity here and there. After all, that's how the Egg McMuffin and the Big Mac came to be.

Good for this guy, who's willing to keep things going the way they've been for decades.

The Good Bagel Manifesto

"...if the bagel is hot and fresh out of the oven, butter. If the bagel has had a chance to cool, cream cheese."

I'm the total opposite. I like cream cheese on a hot (or warm) bagel. Butter is best on a cold bagel. To each his own, as my mom would say.

And the best place to get bagels is at home, using the Cook's Illustrated recipe. Been doing it for years.

Ed Levine's Golden Rules of the Perfect Pancake

@Lanier: "...homemade sourdough pancakes, made with a starter that is older than I am, cooked over a wood-burning stove, and served with real butter and maple syrup in the El Dorado National Forest."

Sounds like Heaven.

Onion Rings or Mozzarella Sticks? We Pack BOTH Into the Ultimate Cheesy Baked Bar Snack

I love this recipe, and I'm really glad it's baked and not deep fried. Don't get me wrong--I love deep-fried food. I just hate the clean-up involved. Can't wait to try it. Thanks, Morgan!

The Food Lab: Why Chicken With Pan Sauce Is Always Better at Restaurants (and How to Make Yours Just as Good at Home)

@Kenji: I've got homemade stock that's VERY gelatinous. Do I really need to add the gelatin to it? I'm concerned it's going to end up way too thick.

Kenji's Best Fast Food Awards (A Totally Biased, Completely Incomplete List)

I toured the US about 8 years ago, and discovered Whataburger when we passed through Texas. I LOVED IT.

Of course, the best eating places were the non-chain, mom-n-pop places. But yes, fast food can do the trick, and you may as well get the best when you can.

Like Whataburger. Yum.

Love Cast Iron Pans? Then You Should Know About Carbon Steel

I've been coveting DeBuyer pans for a long time now. Really want to get a set of them.

This Week at Serious Eats World Headquarters

Love Popeye's Chicken (and their biscuits are to die for!). And I love Shabu!

Upgrade Your Potato Skins With Beer-Cooked Onions, Beer-Simmered Brats, Beer Cheese, and Bacon

Morgan, I love you! ;-)
Great tip about bacon grease on potato skins. I discovered that trick a few months back, and it makes an amazing difference. Thanks for sharing this--I think it's going on my list of party foods!

Inside New York's Cult of the Bialy

I had my first bialy at Barney Greengrass, sometime around 1980. It was a revelation, toasted with butter. It's a shame you can't get them in the suburbs. I'll have to try making them from scratch.

The Most Popular Recipes of 2014

I've made that red sauce twice. So good. I love recipes that take hours to cook.
(I'm making the incredible Bolognese sauce tomorrow. Thanks, SE!)

Adam Kuban's '8 Pizzas That Haunt My Dreams,' 2014 Edition

Kinchley's is a treasure; great bar pie, and a classic road-house atmosphere, especially at the bar.

But be forewarned: They don't take plastic. Cash only.

The Food Lab: Slow Cooked Bolognese Sauce

I first made the No-Holds-Barred lasagna a year or two ago, and loved it. But what I loved the most about it was the Bolognese, which I've made several times since.

I think this recipe is on the agenda for this weekend.

Roasted Spiced Lamb Ribs With Whole Grain Mustard Sauce

This looks good, but I do side with the folks who say it should be cooked at a lower temperature for a longer time. I sorta like "falling off the bone," myself. I'm going to give it a try!

How to Restore Vintage Cast Iron Pans

Just my two cents: I purchased three Griswold cast iron pans on eBay several years ago. Each is more than 100 years old, and they are my favorite kitchen tools. I highly recommend checking the availability of these great old pieces!