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The Food Lab: Meet Barbecue Beef Chuck, Brisket's Cheaper, Easier Cousin

@Kenji- Great post! Wait,no butcher paper? Any specific reason you chose the stronger seal of aluminum foil over the typical peach treated butcher paper common in Texas that is knows to breathe? Yes,I know some of them use foil too,just asking if that was on purpose or out of convenience?

The Food Lab's Complete Guide to Sous Vide Smoked Brisket

@Kenji- I have been working on this recently,your timing couldn't be better. Having toured all the joints within 2hours of Austin just for brisket,I noticed they all have VERY bold smoke flavors (primarily from post oak or live oak). Everything I learned from is that meat only absorbs smoke flavor when it's cold.Are you saying that this is not true?

I'm just curious if you mean that you don't like the bold smoke flavor that is typical in Texas or that the smoke flavor produced in your tests produced a "better" smoke flavor?

I think by the show of how many comments are coming out on this topic,you have struck a chord and need to expand further on bbq smoking as this is one of the most frustrating experiences for home bbq enthusiasts.

Thanks again!

How to Make Zhug, the Yemenite Hot Sauce You'll Want to Put on Everything

@Kenji- I am nominating you for global food ambassador of the middle east. Nice spot on authenticity in your middle eastern recipes. There is a big debate in Israeli food as to which Schug goes better with each dish (Green Schug v. Red Schug). My experience is that green schug tends to go with falafel/tahini and red schug tends to go with shawarma/hummus.

Just putting it out there-Israeli salad (cut micro-diced) needs a Kenji-revamp. The salad is brilliant on it's own and many israeli restaurants use israeli pickles (brined in salt,not vinegar) which takes this super basic salad to a whole new level of crunchy,vinegary,salty goodness.I make it all the time but cutting those damn tomatoes to the tiniest diced pieces is very laborious. Would really enjoy to read your take on Israeli salad.

The Food Lab: Great Hummus and the Science of Smooth

@Qiran- I think your source's ice cube trick does nothing for the chickpea breakdown and just keeps the hummus mixture from becoming heated as a result of the friction produced from high spinning metal blades.That and the fact that hummus with tahini can take on a good amount of water without affecting the final result.

The Food Lab: Great Hummus and the Science of Smooth

@Graphicnovelty- I'm not a big measuring guy,as I tend to have a very good feel for proportions and I also cook in large batches. I would say that for a batch of 2 cups of finished hummus,I would use 1 tablespoon of preserved lemons (including the rind). I also emulsify it into the tahini mixture so you can taste it prior to adding to the hummus. Keep in mind it won't be as tangy once it is processed into the hummus. I have overdone it though,so I'd say less is more when it comes to preserved tangy additives as they are very powerful flavors.

West African Peanut Soup Meets Khao Soi. Extra Nuttiness Ensues.

One of my favorite soups in nyc,is Hale & Hearty's Senagalese Chicken soup. It is really delicious but looks like your recipe kicks it's butt,while maintaining all the flavors I love about their soup. I will try our your recipe very soon as I miss that Senagalese soup since I moved to Florida.Awesome post man!

The Food Lab: Great Hummus and the Science of Smooth

@Kenji- Great post, as usual. This one is near and dear to my Israeli-born heart as I consider myself a hummus connoisseur,both in preparation and tasting. Your experiment is extremely informative, yet not really profound. I apologize if that comes off as an insult, it is not intended-you know I worship your posts. Rather, to shed light that this method is well known and its possible origin in Israel.

There are non-hummus particular restaurants in Israel that people flock to, just for the hummus that hits your table just as bread does when you sit down in an Italian American restaurant, because they are just damn perfect plates of hummus. There are several Arab villages close to Jerusalem, one of them in particular is Abu Ghosh. "Hummus Abu Ghosh", as Israelis refer to it, is considered the gold standard in hummus making villages. When I read further about hummus making years ago, I discovered their recipe is quite similar to your conclusions, with subtle differences in the process. They rinse canned chickpeas till they are completely free of the canned water, then microwave (that's right, microwave) the chickpeas with a little bit of water in a plate/bowl, then dump the warm chickpeas into a food processor and add the pre-emulsified tahini mixture to the food processor. Besides Abu Ghosh, I know for a fact that the highest rated hummus-known restaurants in Israel use canned chickpeas (no peeling) and the warm chickpea method. The hummus plate demand in the Israeli restaurants is just too high for them to keep up by having prepare/soak raw chickpeas overnight.

Brace for the snobbiest hummus comment of the day- Whenever I go to a restaurant in the states, regardless of their ethnicity, if I see/taste gritty pieces of hummus, I race to shame them with 1 star on yelp, just for their hummus making ignorance, even if the rest of the meal is great. So simple, just blend/process them warm and your hummus is instantly upgraded 1000%.The difference from that point on are just subtle flavor preferences.

Just a tip-blending in Moroccan/Israeli style preserved lemons dramatically improves the flavor/tang of hummus over regular lemon juice added flavor.

Thanks again for a great post, particularly the part about muting the hot garlic flavor.Now we just need a food lab on proper Israeli pita baking to wipe up your delicious hummus!

The Right Way to Sauce Pasta

@Kenji,@DanielGritzer- Thanks for the feedback. I initially started adding the water prior to the pasta to protect the pasta from breaking under a raging boil.

The Right Way to Sauce Pasta

@Kenji - I was proud to see my process is as close to what you detailed as possible,except one specific detail. I have only you to thank as I've absorbed all the pasta data you've laid our for us these last years. I can't believe I've been obsessively reading your work for almost 10 years! Daym!

Question- While my pasta is cooking and my sauce is in a hot pan,I add some of the pasta water to the sauce approximately 90 seconds before I add the pasta to the pan (al dente,of course). This way,I can have my sauce at a raging boil working with that starchy water so that when I add my pasta to the sauce (about 90 seconds later),that sauce has thickened up and emulsified beautifully already and don't have to do that after the pasta hits the sauce. Is there any reason you add the water only after the pasta goes in the hot sauce? I do wait for that pasta water to become cloudy and starchy before taking the water out to add to my sauce.

These minute differences are the types of things that keep me up at night,I'm sure you can relate. Your feedback is much appreciated.

Traditional or Not, There's Technique at the Heart of Teriyaki Burgers

@Kenji- I'm pretty sure from this post and previous grilling posts by you,that you are using a weber grill (genesis or summit,I can't tell). If I am correct that it is a weber,are you aware that you have your cast iron grates upside down (reversed)? You currently have it laid out with the triangular pointy side of the grates facing up. According to weber,you are suppose to grill on the other side (where the grates are flat). Since I flipped them,I am getting waaaaaaay better grill marks (I know,I know....grill marks,shmill marks).

I only recently learned this as I had my grates upside down like yours (assuming I am correct about you using a weber).

Great teriyaki post. And especially great posts lately,thanks!!!

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

@TerrenceDoyle- Nice work on the build and a very nice thing you did for your dad.

Please excuse my obnoxiousness,but I must address this issue as others have:

Brisket served "well done" @ 165-170?? I don't understand,even limited internet searches regarding smoking brisket show you to render fat and soften the meat,you must overcook it to 195ish-205ish range.

I think the look your dad gave you was more like "Oh,cute,you tried so hard but I don't have the heart to tell you how a brisket should have been cooked".

This is more like a Food52 article,rather than SE material.

C'mon man,you have Josh Bousel at your fingerprints. At least check with your own resources if you are going to ignore the internet.

@JoshBousel- Help this man's brisket pls!

Hey Chef, What Can I Do With Tahini?

Tahini is amazing for cold sesame noodles.

The Best Charcoal Grills Under $500, 2015 Edition

@MaxGood- Can you please accidentally drop a couple of "grillgrates" on Kenji's SF doorstep?

The Best Charcoal Grills Under $500, 2015 Edition

@MaxGood- What took you so long? I've been reading your work for years. Welcome to SE. They will love you here!

A Double Dose of Marinade Gives Greek-Style Grilled Chicken Extra Flavor

@Kenji- I'm loving your chicken kick. Nice pics too. I'm noticing you are sold on using skewers for your chicken method. Do you think the metal skewer changes the way it cooks since there is a hot metal rod inside the chicken? I've done it (almost weekly)without skewers since you brought the butterflied method to my attention,but since trying with skewers,I feel like it cooks differently and the temp at some point rises so rapidly that before you know it the temp jumped from 140 to 160 in no time. Human error or possibly the skewers?

Also,since you're using cast iron grates,have you given "grillgrates" a shot? I am very impressed by them.

A New Summer Favorite: Grilled Chicken with Za'atar

For those that care,the BEST Labne is the Israeli Tnuva brand that can be found in many international markets as well as every kosher market.

Tnuva's flavor is light years better than the other middle eastern knock-offs that make it to the US.

Serious Eats and The Food Lab Have Teamed Up With Anova to Bring You the Best Sous Vide Guides On the Planet

@Vivat.Dan I was on that wp volunteer committee. The started off by stating that had no plans to support 8.1 and higher. What's the point of volunteering to support an old platform? I bailed on that committee and am hoping enough windows phone users bug them to promote its development.

The Food Lab's Complete Guide to Sous Vide Steak

@Kenji- I just salted myself in excitement.

The Food Lab's Complete Guide to Sous Vide Steak

@kenji- I didn't mean that I pre-salt and leave in a bag. I pre-salt and leave on a rack for a few days (to dry and let salt do its magic),then cook via sous vide. Since it's not in a bag,do you still believe the cured texture will prevail?

The Food Lab's Complete Guide to Sous Vide Steak

@Kenji- I've been using your pre-salting recommendation for steaks ever since your article about salting. For sous vide steaks,I've been salting them for a day or two on a rack in the fridge. Then I sous vide them,then I chill and freeze. The day I am ready to eat the steak,I sear it frozen over charcoal (or for thicker cuts,I let the bag sit in warm tap water,then sear on charcoal)

Does your pre-salting method (never between minutes .5 and 40) apply to cooking steaks sous vide?

The Baking Steel Griddle Has Arrived

@Kenji- Can it be used in a weber kettle with the coal insanely hot? I don't own the kettlepizza but was wondering if this over charcoal in my kettle with the lid on would produce results worth the splurge.Any idea?

Ed Levine on Josh Ozersky: A Well-Fed Life Cut Too Short

Huge loss in food journalism. I followed Josh's work for the last decade or so. His work and influence will be missed immensly by all.

I tip my hat to the purest of purists,Josh Ozersky. R.I.P.

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

@DanielGritzer Nicely done. I am definately in the water and not runny polenta camp. Two questions I have regarding your testing:

1. I wondered if after pre-soaking the polenta for a few hours,would draining the water and rinsing off the polenta decrease it's starchy heaviness even further? (rather than use the same water it's been soaking in)

2. In terms of smooth/creamy polenta-have you tried smoothing out the cooked polenta with a stick blender? I'm hoping you'll save me the mess of finding out in my kitchen the hard way. lol

Hey Chef, What Can I Do With Sumac?

Sumac is amazing as a poultry or game rub mixed with a little paprika.

One of my favorite sumac applications though,is for a greek gyro style white sauce (labne mixed in a blender with sumac,lemon juice and a little olive oil creates a magically sour and tart sauce that goes great with almost anything).