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The Food Lab's Definitive Guide to Grilled Steak

Want to know how to grill a steak? Here's my advice: DO NOT DO IT THE WAY THEY DO IT AT STEAKHOUSES. It seems counterintuitive. Surely a restaurant with years of experience cooking hundreds of steaks a day knows a thing or two about how it's done, right? Well, yes. They know how to cook a steak in a steakhouse setting where their goal is consistency, quality, and more importantly—speed. At home, on the other hand, consistency and quality are important, but speed? Not so much. The fact that you can take some time to treat your meat right means that it's possible to cook a steak at home much better than it can be done at any steakhouse. True story. Here's my complete guide to buying, storing, cooking, and eating the very best grilled steak. More

Make These Savory Bacon and Corn Pancakes With Cheddar and Jalapeño

Who ever said American pancakes have to be sweet? What's stopping us from savory-ing them up? These start with a basic American-style pancake recipe, but they come stuffed with crisp bacon, sautéed corn, jalapeño peppers, scallions, and—the kicker—pockets of gooey melted cheddar cheese. These are pancakes that I can really get behind (or perhaps more precisely, get my mouth around). More

How to Cook Spanish-Style Pimientos de Padrón

Only about one out of ten of the small green peppers from the Spanish municipality of Padrón are wildly hot, while the rest are as mild as a green bell pepper. The exciting part is that it's pretty much impossible to tell them apart until you actually put one in your mouth. It's part of what makes eating them so damn exciting, though I gotta admit: I love their flavor so much that I'd be perfectly content knocking back a bowl without the added adrenaline of a game of capsicum roulette. Here's how to cook them. More

How to Make Cemita Rolls, The Ultimate Sandwich Bun

If you know anything about tortas or cemita sandwiches, it's that they're stacked tall with toppings that are are soft or extremely moist like avocado, shredded cheese, refried beans, or chipotle chilies. That means that the right structure is of utmost importance when designing a bun for them. Our cemita bun has a not-too-soft, not-too-dense, rich and tender egg-enriched crumb. Oh, and it's easy to make. More

10-Minute Fresh Ricotta Gnocchi Get a Spring Makeover With Asparagus and Prosciutto

A few weeks back I showed you that you can make fresh ricotta gnocchi in less time than it takes to boil a pot of water. With a little practice, I've gotten it down to under ten minutes (8 minutes 53 seconds, to be precise). But the great part about this recipe is that it serves as a suitable base for a huge variety of sauces and flavors. For instance, last week a friend of mine brought over some delicious first-of-the-season fresh asparagus which we combined with prosciutto and an easy cream sauce to make a delicious impromptu (and fast!) meal on the spot. More

Do Wheat-Enriched Corn Tortillas Bring Us the Best of Both Worlds?

Corn tortillas have great flavor but weak structure. Flour tortillas are pliable and stretchy but short on taste. Enter flour and corn hybrid tortillas. They're tortillas that look like really great corn tortillas (charred leopard spots and all!), but contain some amount of flour or wheat gluten with the idea of adding stretchy structure to a typically brittle corn tortilla. So how do these guys stack, er, fold up? More

Piquillo Peppers Stuffed With Tuna and Allioli: Proof That Canned Foods Can Be Delicious

The Spanish are masters at packing RDS (Really Delicious Stuff) into cans. When I'm drinking a glass of sherry or a Rioja with my wife Adri, I could be content with a good loaf of bread, some excellent olive oil, and some RDS. This recipe—pimientos del piquillo rellenos de atún (that's Spanish for "peppers with some well-dressed tuna shoved inside'em")—requires two jars of RDS: piquillo peppers and oil-packed bonito tuna. But it still takes all of 15 minutes to put together. More

The Best Way to Store Fresh Herbs

Take a look at those herbs above. The ones on the left look liked they were probably picked fresh just before I photographed them, while the ones at the right had been hanging out in my refrigerator for weeks in a forgotton plastic bag, right? Wrong. All of those stems of cilantro are the exact same age. 51 days in my refrigerator, to be exact. The only difference is in how they were stored. So what's the best way to store herbs? I tested out every method I could think of, isolating every variable—light, air, moisture, and temperature—and pushing my herbs to the limit to figure it out. More

Use Your Pressure Cooker to Make the World's Fastest, Easiest Chicken Enchiladas

I've been on a big enchilada and salsa kick recently, so I thought to myself: Could I use my pressure cooker to kill two birds with one stone, cooking my chicken and producing an intensely flavored enchilada sauce all at the same time? Turns out it works well. Remarkably well. But it took a little tweaking to get there. Here's how it went down. More

How to Make Traditional Huevos Rancheros in a Flash

Making huevos rancheros—rancher's-style eggs—is an inherently impromptu and simple affair at home. It's easy for me to think of it as a dish so darn casual that it doesn't even need a recipe. But then I wouldn't be doing my job, now would I? My goal was to come up with a recipe for huevos rancheros with a smoky and wickedly spicy tomato and red chili salsa that requires nothing more than basic supermarket pantry staples. And I wanted it all in under half an hour, because who has time to wait for breakfast? More

The Food Lab: How to Make Foolproof Béarnaise Sauce

For my money, the very best classic steak sauce you can make at home, a sauce that will wow your guests with its flavor and elegance, and—most importantly—a sauce that can be made start to finish in under half an hour, is béarnaise. The catch (there's always a catch) is that made with the classic technique, it's very easy to mess up. Here is a foolproof technique that uses hot butter and a hand blender for perfect results every time. More

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

It wasn't until I got my first gig cooking in restaurants that it really struck me exactly what a pan sauce is supposed to taste like: rich and smooth, glossy and brightly flavored, and leaving a streak of white plate that slowly closes as you swiped each bite through it. So what does a restaurant kitchen have that I was missing back home, and more importantly, how can you get the same results? Here's the answer. More

Knife Skills: How to Cut an Airline Chicken Breast

An airline chicken breast, also known as a Statler chicken breast or a Chicken suprême is a chicken breast with the first joint of the wing still attached. If I'm serving a whole chicken breast, I prefer airline breasts over regular boneless breasts both for the presentation factor (that bone sticking out just looks so cool), and for the juicier meat it delivers. Here's how to cut an airline chicken breast from a whole chicken. More

Light and Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes

@josh

We update recipes from time to time based on new testing. This is the updated recipe. It will still work fine without separating the eggs and using all buttermilk, but I think you'll get better results with the new technique!

The Food Lab's Definitive Guide to Grilled Steak

@jedd

As @rodalpho poins out below, sometimes it's not possible to get the same cut or quality of meat you get in a steakhouse at home, but if you're willing to look for it, you can. And I agree: I find steakhouses to be the most boring restaurants to eat at because there's generally nothing other than starting quality of meat and execution that goes into it. I know I personally can get both of those things better at home. If I'm going out, I want to be surprised.

@Truff

Sous-vide is great but it's just another technique, a tool to be used when you want a specific end result. It doesn't replace traditional cooking methods, it supplements them. There are times I want a sous-vide steak and times I prefer to do things with straight up open direct heat. You get different end results.

@TKOcareli

I haven't but that looks cool!

@AndroidUser

See my respons to @Truff above. It's not a "solution," it's just a different method with different end results. I find sous-vide steak to taste as different from a traditionally grilled steak as, say, a pan-seared steak from a grilled steak. You have to be in the mood for it.

@simon

It's really not salt to weight at all, as the salt can't penetrate and I always serve salt at the table to season the interior of slices. It's really a salt-to-surface-area ratio, and the surface area to volume ratio of a steak can vary pretty drastically . For instance, a 2-inch ribeye will weigh twice as much as a 1-inch ribeye, despite having nearly the exact same surface area. If you used half as much salt on that 1-incher, your steak would be severely underseasoned.

Mass is much easier to measure, but for things as variable as steaks where thickness can drastically alter mass to surface ratio, mass isn't a particularly useful measure to use.

I see seasoning for a steak as really just seasoning for the exterior to flavor the crust. The interior needs to be seasoned separately when serving.

@el_duderino

Salt them before refrigerating them. As for the fire and beer questions, I've sat around both drinking beers, but I'm with you: I do prefer to stand around a grill than a water bath.

@Mr. Nick:

Yeah dude! Do what I do: grill tofu. And asparagus. Tons of asparagus.

@Brew. Drink. Repeat.

Sorry about that, fixed!

@somevelvet

Hey, that's a good question! Three main answers. Firstly, I've never met a leave-in thermometer that is as robust as a Thermapen (the probes break down much faster). Secondly, a leave-in thermometer can transfer heat down its metal shaft and into the meat, which means the section around the probe will be hotter than the rest of the meat. Thirdly, it's completely impossible to predict where the coolest part (the part you should be measuring) will be, which means when leave-in thermometer goes off, most likely you're still not done cooking.

Solution is to use a leave-in thermo as a sort of pre-alarm, but still rely on your Thermapen to give you the actual final temperature.

@ryutrhosstuff

So long as you don't drop the dust onto your fire and you make sure that you shake the charcoal grate once in a while to remove any combustion-stifling dust, lump burns several hundred degrees hotter than briquettes. It does cost more and give you much less cooking time, but in test after test after test, it's proven itself to burn hotter.

Can you point me towards any rigorous tests you've seen which show different results, given that you are actively maintenancing the fire.

@silicone Valley Man

If sous-vide is what you want, go for it! Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. As for getting the best results, the key is to really REALLY dry it after it comes ouf of that sous-vide bag with plenty of paper towels. The dryer it is, the faster it'll sear and crisp into a crust.

@Aoshima

Yes, absolutely!

@bdcbbq

That's a great method too and what we do on our annual hunting trip in Northern Michigan. Grilling backstrap in the snow over hardwood.

Confessions of a Maple Syrup Smuggler

Not just smuggling in the syrup, but smuggling in a camera to take PICTURES of you smuggling in the syrup too!

7 Old Wives' Tales About Cooking Steak That Need To Go Away

@L4D2

The starting temperature of the steak makes a negligible difference. The overriding factor is surface moisture as it takes so much more energy to evaporate liquid than it does to heat it - as I stated, about 5x more to evaporate a gram of water than to raise it from freezing to boiling. The starting temperature really makes almost no difference whatsoever, and not a difference you can taste in any case.

Grilled Lemongrass and Coriander-Marinated Tofu Vietnamese Sandwiches (Vegan Banh Mi)

@fluffstravels

Follow the links: both the recipe for homemade and store-bought mayonnaise are for 100% vegan mayonnaises.

Chorizo and Halloumi Pancakes With Fried Eggs

@pommedg

Sorry, that is inaccurate.

Spanish chorizo is always raw. It is a raw, dry cured sausage like Italian salami. It can be eaten sliced raw or cooked to crisp it. It is flavored wtb smoked paprika.

Mexican chorizo is a fresh sausage flavored with warm spices like cinnamon, cloves, and cumin along with vinegar and chilies. It must be cooked before eating though sometimes it is sold pre-cooked.

The two are really only similar in name. As far as texture, flavor, and production method goes, they are as different as sausages come and one canny be substituted in place of the other.

Knife Skills: How to Cut a Whole Beef Strip Loin Into Steaks

@sbp123

What Seina said.

It's kind of like pushing a rollerboard suitcase vs. pulling it. In one case (pulling), the drag is behind the force, thus actively working to straighten and stabilize the blade, whereas in the other case (pushing), the drag is in front of the force, thus working to destablize it.

The forces at play are the very similar to how it's easier to keep a broomstick upright by holding it by one end and letting it hang below your hand than to hold it upright above your hand.

This Week at Serious Eats World Headquarters

@JPET

I'm not sure what sexually perverted acts you're referring to here. Perhaps the problem is with what you inferred rather than what we implied? In any case, as an office full of animal lover it's pretty clear we'd never do anything to harm them. As for the stupid acts, guilty as charged. We like to blow off steam once in a while.

Win at Brunch With These Savory Halloumi and Chorizo Pancakes

@lwhitten

Mozzarella would not work. You need a fryable cheese like halloumi or some kind of Mexican frying cheese (queso para freir). Even Indian paneer would work.

@jaba76

Soyrizo is an imitation of Mexican-style chorizo, not Spanish, so it would be quite different. It's very moist stuff and might mess with the texture of the pancakes. I'm sure it'd be delicious, just different. You might have to use less liquid.

Knife Skills: How to Cut a Whole Beef Strip Loin Into Steaks

@Hammertime70

If you seal well (like in a foodsaver or a freezer bag), there's not much loss in quality when you freeze a steak. I definitely think it's worth the savings, but of course it depends on how you value your dollar!

@jbenk

You can take it off if you'd like, but that process pushes this out of the realm of possibility for most home butchers, so I don't recommend it. It's also something that's easy to cut around when eating (as most people will cut of the fat anyway). And so long as you sear that edge well, it actually becomes quite edible after cooking.

Three Easy Three-Ingredient Spring Tartines

@veganwithayoyo

Haha, no. Tartine and bruschetta mean essentially the same thing. The former word is French, the latter Italin. I could've used either!

How to Clean and Cook Morel Mushrooms

@scaramoche

Try'em side by side next time and see if you don't like them with just a dash of soy sauce! It's hardly complicated and to my palate, greatly improves them. It doesn't make them taste like soy sauce, it actually makes them taste more mushroom-y. It's sort of like saying salt and pepper overcomplicates meat. It doesn't, it just makes meat taste meatier. I'd stake my reputation that in a blind taste test, the vast majority of people will prefer the umami-boosted shrooms to plain ones!

As for water, most mushrooms don't suffer from a rinse or even a soak. Morels are the exception, at least if you want to brown them in really hot oil like we do in this technique. The water sticks in the nooks and crannies, which gets your pan too cool when you dear them. It'll still work, it just takes much longer to brown. Perhaps we should have demonstrated that in this article side by side. Next time!!

Easy Pan-Roasted Chicken Breasts With White Wine and Fines Herbes Pan Sauce

@Paul Barnhill

You can't add cornstarch to the wine/stock like gelatin because it clumps. Cornstarch has to be added first to a very small quantity of liquid to form a slurry before incorporating it into a larger quantity of liquid.

Help Support The Upcoming Food Lab Video Series for Big Prizes!

@Mad Cow

That's not it at all. Actually I was pushing as hard as I could to get the whole book out at once, eihter as a two volume box set or as one big book. The problem was that it was impossible to sell a book that big for anything less than around $75 if my publishers wanted to make any kind of profit (and they deserve it after I've been stringing them along for half a decade). At that price range, several major booksellers wouldn't carry a book from a first-time author. We were forced to split it into two for cost reasons!

That said, I'm actually happy because it means I get to spend more time working on putting more stuff into the second book, which will be great for me AND for readers in the end.

Help Support The Upcoming Food Lab Video Series for Big Prizes!

@Mad Cow

There are multiple books in the works! The first one is coming out in September, but the second one will be coming out either in one year or two years from then and will be focused more on fun, party foods like pizzas, burgers, tacos, etc. Both are heavy on science!

Help Support The Upcoming Food Lab Video Series for Big Prizes!

@Pi Guy

You'd receive the Baking Steel earlier - as soon as it is released (and before the general public release), which should be within the next month or so. The book would come in September before the release date.

How to Make Cemita Rolls, The Ultimate Sandwich Bun

@DFsilva

Maybe, if you could get it to incorporate, but I really doubt it. You'd end up with some kind of weird semi-laminated hybrid dough with small sections of high gluten formation seaparated by oil. I can't imagine what the texture would be like. Maybe I should try it and find out!

Cemitas (Mexican Sesame Seed Sandwich Buns)

@mazdee

Hmm, I did quite a bit of research and spoke to some experts when figuring out the traits I wanted in the cemita bun and every single source said sweet, eggy dough that's somewhat like brioche with sesame seeds on top. I'm surprised to hear that in your experience most shops don't do any of that, because it's completely contrary to everything else I've heard, and from very reputable sources!

Cemitas (Mexican Sesame Seed Sandwich Buns)

@fwilger

No, you shouldn't oil the bowl as that makes it harder to form tight balls later on down the line (the oil prevent the dough from sticking to itself). IT is sticky, but the dough will come out!

Cemitas (Mexican Sesame Seed Sandwich Buns)

@theitalianspy

fluid, though the measures are quite close actually.

Help Support The Upcoming Food Lab Video Series for Big Prizes!

@floudas

You should feel completely free to donate exactly zero dollars with a completely clear conscience! The website is free, yes, but that doesn't mean you owe me or Serious Eats anything! We are asking for donations to help make a passion project of ours the best it can possibly be. To be clear, we are not making a profit on it, the donations are all going to be invested directly into the videos.

If you just want the book, you can pre-order it from Amazon where the price is indeed around $35.

@TheTrueAdonis

The prototype I had was 1/2-inch, and I should be getting a copy of the actual one that will be delivered with this campaign by the end of the week. It should also be 1/2-inch, I believe, but I can confirm next week.

@KimchiDad

Each episode is planned to run around 10 minutes, give or take. Not the length of a TV show, but a nice long web video.

@dagatech

There's no plan to slow down food lab recipes on the site. I gotta do something to stay busy, right?

@Rosaleen

Don't worry about it, your verbal support is enough!

@Chefschmeeze

You know it! I hit it up every time I get back to NY these days. It's on the way to the airport from my mom's place in Harlem. I never knew how much I loved that pizza until I moved away. You know what they say about absence.

@I'll Do the Dishes Later

I know! So crazy and amazing how much support we got! I'm ecstatic!

@BostonAdam

The first couple videos will be free, then there will be a small subscription fee for subsequent videos. This is to help offset the cost of video production which is a couple of orders of magnititude higher than what we typically budget for a regular written/photographed piece.

They very much have to do with Serious Eats, inasmuch as Serious Eats is the home of The Food Lab. The videos are a Serious Eats production with input and effort from the entire team here.

Cemitas (Mexican Sesame Seed Sandwich Buns)

The Real Rules of Making Polenta (Hint: They're Not What Everyone Says)

One big tip I just remembered: like with risotto, polenta rapidly changes texture as it cools. A hot plate for set of is essential if you don't want it to turn gummy on arrival!

Easy Pressure Cooker Green Chile With Chicken

Help Support The Upcoming Food Lab Video Series for Big Prizes!

@veganwithaYoYo

What can I say, my readers have good taste!

@cascates

The first six episodes will cover steak, hamburgers, roast chicken, emulsions, the Maillard reaction and chocolate chip cookies. For very serious readers of the column these topics may seem familiar, but they'll be presented in new, fun ways that should
really bring the science to life and hopefully get it out to a whole new audience as well!

@DominiqueN

Thanks so much for your support and I'm glad you've been reading for so long!

@Candirisk

Thanks!

The Serious Eats Guide To Pizza In Naples

A few months ago, my wife and I spent all of 24 hours in Naples on our way home from Sicily. It was probably the second-most pizza-packed 24 hours of my life (the first being when I took my Colombian brother-in-law on a whirlwind pizza tour of New York). We hit over a half dozen pizzerias over lunch alone, and a few more for dinner. Here now, I present to you the Serious Eats guide to Eating Pizza in Naples. More

Video: Serious Eats Cooks Peking Duck At Buddakan

Ever made a traditional Peking duck? Turns out it's a pretty involved process, requiring not only multiple steps but multiple days, cooking apparatuses, and spices. The end result: an incredibly crispy, juicy bird that's seriously delicious. Come along with Serious Eats's own Carey Jones as she learns how to make Peking Duck. Chef Brian Ray of Buddakan gives us the grand tour. More

60+ Holiday Snacks in 20 Minutes Or Less

Uh oh. The buzzer rings. Friends are coming over to spread holiday cheer and you panic. Serve frozen dumplings...again?! You can do better than that. Print out this list of easy-to-assemble, stress-free, mostly-sub-20-minutes-to-prepare munchies and paste it to the fridge. Here are 60+ dips, hors d'oeuvres, small bites, toasty snacks, sweet nibbles, appetizers, and more festive munchies to prepare in a snap. More

30 Cookie Recipes from the 2011 Serious Eats Cookie Swap

The Serious Eats Cookie Swap has become an annual tradition. We break out the Duane Reade tinsel and twinkle lights, and are forced to do a major office detox to make room for cookies. Many, many cookies. (OK, maybe a dozen doughnuts snuck in this year too). It was our third year swapping, and as per tradition, the tables were covered with butter-laden treats. Our NYC-based contributors really pulled out their ninja baking skills. Get all the recipes here. More

Serious Eats' Bacon Banh Mi

Our recipe for Bacon Banh Mi brings our favorite Vietnamese sandwich home, swapping out the usual array of cold cuts and charcuterie for bacon but staying true to the other elements that make this sandwich so balanced and irresistible. More

My All-Pie Thanksgiving Fantasy

When you think about Thanksgiving and you think about various elements of the Thanksgiving meal, it seems like you're just waiting through the big meal to get to the pie. I really believe this, which is why I always fantasized about an all-pie Thanksgiving. (Anyone with me on this?) At an editorial meeting about a month ago, we were at the office talking about Thanksgiving coverage and I shared this fantasy with the team. Knowing how much I adore and obsess over pie, the Serious Eats editors weren't too shocked, so we did the only thing we know how to do: make it happen. More

BraveTart: Make Your Own 3 Musketeers

Urban legend has it that some industrial candy snafu botched the names of 3 Musketeers and Milky Way. The tale has a certain logic. 3 Musketeers doesn't have three ingredients but Milky Way does. And the very name Milky Way recalls the smooth, uninterrupted creaminess found in 3 Musketeers. Those kinds of wonky urban legends ran amok in the eighties, but we have the internet now, so let's clear this stuff up. It's not a tasty tabloid tale of "Switched at Birth!" but rather "Murder, She Wrote." More

BraveTart: Make Your Own (Better) Soft Batch Cookies

When you first joined me in my quest to unlock the secrets of culinary time travel, I told you it would take equal parts science and magic to make the foods that could power the flux capacitor of the mind. I said, "leave the DeLorean in the garage, preheat your oven to one point twenty one gigawatts, and rev that Kitchen Aid to eighty eight mph. We're going back to the Eighties." And we did. But while there, what if some careless action altered our timeline? Could we, like Marty McFly, inadvertently create an alternate universe? One where the Keebler Soft Batch Cookie tastes freaking delicious? Friends, this isn't speculation. I have done such a thing. More

Memphis-Style Barbecue Sauce

This "Memphis-style" is my favorite to make at home—it takes the aspects of sweet tomato-based sauces I grew up on, but by dialing back the sugar and amping up the vinegar, creates a sauce where seasonings and spice are more defined and achieves a pleasing balance between the main defining aspects of a barbecue sauce. More

Boston: Fried Ipswich Clams at B&G Oysters

These are the only fancy-restaurant fried clams I think are really worth the cash ($14 half/$26 full). That they start with Ipswich bellies makes all the difference; these juicy, sweet, whole-belly behemoths are harvested from the mud flats off Ipswich, where experts claim that the particularly nutrient-rich soil gives the bivalves their superior, almost nutty flavor. More

Boston: Tamarind Bay's Lalla Musa Dal

As food aesthetics go, the murky, rust-brown, pebbly lalla musa dal at Tamarind Bay Coastal Kitchen can't compare to the restaurant's other specialties like the fennel cream-sauced cauliflower dumplings or the spiced lobster tail. But famed Indian chefs like Julie Sahni don't consider this dish "the most exquisite of all dal preparations" for nothing, and speaking in terms of decadence, it outclasses the rest by a long shot. More

Guide to Grilling: Planking

For all that I've grilled (150-plus recipes and counting), there's always plenty of uncharted territory. One of those areas: planking. There aren't usually many planking recipes in cookbooks, save the ubiquitous planked salmon. Put simply, planking is cooking food directly on a piece of hardwood. When cooking this way, the surface of the food touching the wood picks up some of the plank's natural flavors. More

How to Make Bagels at Home

I don't use the word magical lightly, but there really is something wondrous about making bagels at home. Maybe it's the shape. I think most everyone understands a loaf of bread, but the round shape with a hole ... well, it seems like a whole lot more work than simply plopping some dough in a loaf pan. But it's not. Really. Try making just one batch of these, and I'm sure you'll have the process down pat. Put on your sorcerer's robe and follow along! More