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

I thought Smashed Burger was a 1/3 lb or 1/2 lb of beef from Nick Solares? But then I see 3.2 ounces and 4.5 from a pic Damon Gambuto at the restaurant. Which is it?

2 Vegan Cheeses That Anyone Can Love

Do you think the Kite Hill vegan cheese would work for a fully vegan pizza?

Wok Skills 101: Stir-Frying Basics

We're finally looking to buy a wok. Is the 14-inch Joyce Chen Flat-Bottomed Wok still your top recommendation?

A Cookie a Day: Homemade Magic Middles

Man, I miss Bravetart on Serious Eats. Bring her back?

Taste Test: Boxed Fudge Brownie Mix

Ghiradelli TRIPLE Chocolate from Costco = the king of all brownie mixes and I dare even say homemade brownies.

The Fastest, Freshest, Fluffiest Ice Cream Ever: 30-Minute Philadephia-Style Ice Cream

Forgot to mention sweeteners:

- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 Tbsp corn syrup

I ditched the cream cheese from Jeni's recipe. Made it taste noticeably cheesy and the corn syrup did a fine enough job of making is scoopable.

Secret Tools and Tricks of the Ice Cream Pros: How to Make Creamy Ice Cream

Here's an idea: Churn your ice cream in your freezer or outside in the cold during winter.

One of the issues all of us without self-refrigerating machines face is having to run your ice cream machine in your 68-70 F home, let alone the 72+ F temps of a house in the summer. That means once churned, the ice cream starts to melt pretty fast when transferring from bowl to storage for the freezer.

Last year toward the beginning of spring, I decided to churn a batch of ice cream outside my front door. I figured being 40 F outside, it would work better than my toasty home interior. It was pretty good.

But then that got me thinking. In Chicago, we had just finished one of the most severe winters in history, the 2013 Polar Vortex. I thought, "what if during those days when it was 10 to 17 F below zero I were to churn my ice cream outside?" I'm waiting for the harsh winter to begin this year, and that's something that's only available during a certain time of year.

But that got me thinking yet another thought: why not churn the ice cream in a freezer itself at 4 F below?

Since my place I'm renting came with a second fridge/freezer in the garage that was mainly empty, I did just that. I searched on Google to see if others had done it and found a source that did, as well.

The results were excellent. Especially for egg-less ice cream. Churned super fast, super smooth, and almost the same denseness as egg-based ice cream without the added baggage it brings. And since it's so cold, it freeze-hardens faster, too.

I know most people don't own a second freezer, but for anyone who does with the space who can find a way to fit the ice cream machine in it, try it. If not, then churn it in your garage or on your porch/walk-out during the winter.

The Fastest, Freshest, Fluffiest Ice Cream Ever: 30-Minute Philadephia-Style Ice Cream

I have to agree that Philly-style ice cream is superior. That "fresh" flavor, even when heated and technically cooked (isn't all the cream I buy ultra-pasteurized anyway?) is so good. Not as "rich" per se, but it's still cream, super fatty.

I ended up making a hybrid between your approach to ice cream and Jeni's. I do:
- 2 cups cream
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp salt (which is more than the standard 1/4 but less than your recommended 1 tsp which I found to be too salty)

And since I'm heating my base:

- 1 vanilla bean
- 4 tsp corn starch or 2 tsp tapioca flour (Bob's Red Mill, had it since Jeni recommended it and I found it to be twice as strong as corn starch)

The result is something so much... how do I say it... cleaner tasting than an egg-based ice cream. Not only does no eggs not interfere with the ice cream itself, it also lets things like caramel sauce and chocolate syrup allow to be fully tasted, as well.

How to Make the Best Swedish Meatballs

Never had Swedish meatballs before until my wife made them a few months ago for an Eid potluck. We followed an Alton Brown recipe, just made them all-beef to keep Halal. I must say, I was not entirely impressed by Swedish meatballs as a dish. They didn't exactly fly off the table, either. We froze the leftovers.

However, a few months later we busted them out and my wife out of nowhere decided to put sriracha on them. Insanely good. And we are not "sriracha on everything" types. I don't like how people use it to mask the flavor of everything. But this, between the sweet, spicy sriracha and rich meatballs, somehow worked out really really well.

I will re-visit Swedish meatballs using your recipe here, and when I do, sriracha may be involved.

The Food Lab: How to Make Pull-Apart Stuffing-Flavored Rolls

Kenji, if I were to add in dried cranberries, how should I? Minced fine-ish and thrown into the flavor base mix?

The Food Lab: How to Make the Best Kale Pizza

So, I was never able to find success with keeping the steel just a few notches below the broiler with my steel in both mine and my mother's ovens. Seems like the broiler was browning the top of my pies before the bottoms even crisped up let alone browned or charred. I ended up finding an optimal balance with the steel on the second to lowest rack and the broiler on. I wonder how that would affect me throwing kale onto my pizza, given my broiler is much higher when I bake. Only one way to find out :)

The Food Lab: How to Make the Best Kale Pizza

It's easy to throw together, browns and puffs beautifully even without cold fermentation
Do you make your NY-style pizza dough and not cold ferment it?

Use Your Potato Masher To Break Up Ground Meat in the Skillet

And here you were, feeling guilty because you thought you had one of Alton Brown's dreaded uni-taskers in your kitchen drawer!
Lol, hey, man. He has used the potato masher for guacamole, squash, fudge, creole, and I'm sure other applications!

The Food Lab: How to Make the Best Creamy White Chili With Chicken

I've seen the poach until just done when that Cook's Illustrated recipe went on America's Test Kitchen. So, if following your recipe, does that mean we should never heat the chili past 150 F when serving?

Use Your Cast Iron Pan and a Tortilla to Make World Class Bar-Style Pizza in Under 12 Minutes

Tried TortillaLand uncooked tortillas last week based on your recommendation. WOW for taco night. World of a difference. Our local Walmart carries medium sized ones which seem great for tortilla bar pizzas.

Consider me request number 5 inquirer about uncooked, to pre-cook or not to pre-cook?

My guess is precook one side only, and let that side be the one that faces up and gets the sauce, cheese, and toppings, while uncooked side hits the cast-iron skillet.

Gremolata is the Secret to the Tastiest Simple Lentil Soup

@hh deluxe: Yup. Growing up, my Indian mother would make large batches of dhal and serve them out of the freezer with freshly fried bagar. Dhal is not the same with it!

Better Than Snickers Milkshake

Props on adding unsweetened cocoa powder. Recently had a chocolate shake from a place that used vanilla ice cream and Hershey's syrup. By the time the shake was too sweet, it wasn't chocolately enough. Will try this method soon, thanks!

Bacon and Avocado Take Your In-N-Out Animal-Style Double Double to the Next Level

So, I'm not the only one who's brought my own ingredients and toppings to restaurants. As a Halal eater, I have brought my own meat (e.g. Halal chicken Italian sausage to my local wood oven pizza place). Now I shall feel no shame! Not that I did before.

Transform Grilled Cauliflower With High Heat and a Whole Lot of Spice

@doron Made my own broiled cauliflower a la Alton Brown this past weekend. Without seeing the NYT article or this one! ;-)

Taste Test: Is Domestic Parmesan Cheese Worth Using?

Sorry to re-ask, but still curious. Is there flavor difference between animal, vegetable, and microbial (and maybe even GMO) rennets? Thanks!

How to Make Menemen, the Turkish-Style Scrambled Eggs That Haunt My Dreams

...because eggs and chives were made for each other.

Will be making this along side some corriander-heavy sujuk I will pick up at my local Halal market. Thanks, Kenji!

Taste Test: Is Domestic Parmesan Cheese Worth Using?

Thanks for this test. I instantly noticed an immense flavor upgrade when I switched from domestic parmesan to real deal imported Parmigiano-Reggiano. Nice to have an actual taste test to confirm that.

1) Does the use of animal vs. vegetable vs. microbial rennet affect flavor, as well?

2) Why don't domestic producers age for more than 10 months? Would going up to 24 months solve their problem of lesser flavor?

Watch This New York Chef Make a High-Class Cheez Whiz

There's a video of Alton Brown making aerosol cheese using an iSi whipping siphon at a food demo from 2010. He used cheese powder, smoked paprika, and added in applewood smoke directly into the mix. Looks great and have been thinking about it for years now.

Chilies, Noodles, and Lamb: 11 Must-Eat Dishes in Xi'an From the Muslim Quarter and Beyond

Muslim specific cuisine, speaking my language Kenji! Are you aware of any Muslim-Chinese joints, as in Muslim owned, in NY or west coast or anywhere else in between? Anyone else know? That would serve authentic stuff like this? Thanks!

Everything You Need to Know to Start Baking Awesome Bread

Please do a sandwich bread recipe using a standard loaf pan. One that bakes up tall with a more uniform crumb than the big airy bubbles of a rustic bread, but still actually has good flavor. Thanks!

What is beef summer sausage?

Seen it around, what exactly is it? Is it pre-cooked?

What kind of recipes/applications is is traditionally used it, and what other uses would it be good to use in?


What can I make with smoked turkey legs, wings, and back/neck?

Hello, all. I have in my possession a smoked turkey leg, two wings, and a back and neck. What can I do with them?

Some I have in mind are:

- City Wing Thing pizza
- Alton Brown's Pot O'Greens

I also came across this article on The Nasty Bits about adding smoked meats to soups. I would love to, but was thinking to instead make smoky tukey rstock out of my back/neck and adding a cup or two of it to a variety of soups instead of all the goodness from, say, my turkey leg, to just one.

Any other tips/recipes?

Burger stand at food event - tips and ideas needed

Hello, all. Looking to be a food vendor at an upcoming community event. All proceeds to go to charity.

Idea is burgers. Classic, smashed on a rented large griddle. Plan for ground chuck. Salt and black pepper, Martin's Potato Rolls. American cheese, and a sauce, other toppings standing by (onions, tomatoes, lettuce). May consider not offering ketchup and mustard, but we'll see.

Any tips? I've never done this before, so looking for any advice.


Can I re-whip chocolate mousse?

I made Alton Brown's chocolate mousse recipe and it turned out gritty. It's:

- Chocolate, espresso, gelatin mixture
- Whipped cream
- Fold

I think I let the chocolate mixture cool down too much and when it hit the cream, it got gritty.

Can I melt these until they're smooth and rewhip them? Thanks!

Any tips for grinding turkey sausage?

Hello. I was given an extra turkey after Thanksgiving that has been in my freezer since. The thought of sausages comes to mind, these two recipes for pork, which I don't eat:

- Kenji's Juicy Sweet or Hot Italian Sausage
- Alton Brown's Breakfast Sausage

I own a food processor I can chop with and a stand mixer I can knead with. My brother-in-law has a Waring Pro meat grinder I can borrow.

Any tips? Dark/white meat ratios, skin/no skin, etc.

What temp should raw burger be before it hits the griddle/grill?

What temperature should burgers be right before they hit griddle/grill?

Straight out of the 38 deg F fridge? Brought to 70 deg F room temp? In between? I've searched online and found varying answers.

My goal is to maximize a Maillard crust with a nice medium rare to medium interior.

Let's say for a 4 or 5 ounce patty, first, and then for a 7 or 8 ounce patty, too.


How different are grape juice and wine from one another?

What does wine taste like? How different is it from grape juice, red and white?

Reason I ask is, one, I've never had and will never have any, and two, to improve my alcohol substitution skills.

As someone who doesn't consume any alcohol, I've been substituting various liquids for recipes calling for various types of alcohol, with some pretty good results. See this Talk post here on it where some of you helped contribute:

The thing I sometimes struggle with is my substituting liquid, which is usually red or white grape juice. When using it, sometimes a recipe will come out sweet.

I've done stuff like "cut the sweetness" with red wine vinegar for red grape juice. It worked. I think.

But I don't know, and neither do any of my family members/guests since we've never cooked with alcohol before (we're Muslim).

I guess a better question would be, if you had to use red grape juice as a substitute, how different is it from red wine? What would you do to it to make it similar to red wine in terms of sweetness, tartness, etc.?

Same for white grape juice?


How do you remove smoke odor from a kitchen fire?

How do you remove smoke odor from a kitchen fire?

Had my first grease fire while trying to render some duck fat.

It was all contained within a pot and I got the smoke to escape through windows/open doors (even though it was 20 degrees F!). Thank God, no one was hurt.

But the remnants of the smoke odor is all over.

I see a bunch of tips online, but thought this might be a good place to actually ask.

Besides time, any proven home solutions?


How would you substitute 1 cup of wine, beer, bourbon, etc?

I don't consume any alcohol and want to find substitutions for recipes calling for it.

I've seen the substitution charts for the corresponding extracts, vinegars, and concentrates (e.g.

But I'm confused at how much to add of suggested substitutions.

How would you guys substitute 1 cup of:

- Wine
- Beer
- Brandy
- Cognac
- Bourbon
- Tequila
- Any other common alcohol used in cooking you can think of


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