The Best Smokers Under $500, 2015 Edition

I have an offset smoker that I purchased about 7 years ago at lowes for $199. The metal is thin but not the thinnest I've seen and it does leak a little air in a few spots. With that said, I LOVE IT. It took a little time to learn how to build a good fire and keep the temp consistant . But it has preformed incredibly for me. I entered the best dam BBQ contest almost a year after I bought it and out of about 60 contestants my brisket took 7th and I took 12th overall. My ribs, pork but and chicken thighs were awesome as well. This was competing against people with serious rigs. So although you might have a few handicaps it isn't anything that can't be overcome if your willing to put in the time to learn your tools and craft. I would buy it again against all of the models you have listed and before you start talking poorly about cheap offsets, you might want to crack open your piggy bank and grab a couple of quarters and see what kind of magic you can create...

Cooking With Olive Oil: Should You Fry and Sear in it or Not?

I love to deep fry, sautee, poach/confit, sear in evoo. I have never had a problem doing this. My recipe for pizza sauce has you heat your evoo until it is smoking hard and add your pureed tomatoes at that point to sear the sauce a bit. It tastes fantastic. The only problem I have ever encountered has been when you place it in the blender at high speed. It just gets bitter and strong tasting. Just my 2 pennies.

The Secret to Great Coq au Vin? Lose the Coq

I was fortunate enough to spend some time as a stage at all of Daniels restaurants in New York and was very excited when I had the chance to work with the prep department on the day they were making the Coq au Vin. I had made (attempted)to make this dish a few times and never could get the breast to cook properly. It was always dry or when I tried to just finish the dish with the breast it did not develop that deep rich braised wine flavor. So we got to work and the ingredients start to come out of the walk-in and off we go. "Wait, were is the breast I asked?". You don't put breast in Coq au Vin was the chefs reply. It was amazing. I will try this recipe to see how it compares but you should take a trip to Café Boulud and do the same. Best Coq au Vin ever!!!

Where Do Wine Prices Come From?

" You might want to consider ordering wine by the bottle" from photograph above. Except maybe not from that restaurant. Who ever opened it had no idea how to open a bottle of wine.

A Basic Introduction to the Salty, Spicy World of Mexican Snacks

Talk about nostalgia. I grew up eating most of these. Some like takis weren't around yet but it's parents (Churitos ) were. They were deep fried thin dough strands about the length of takis but only about 1/8th of an inch thick with a deep brown color and hard crisp texture. They were sold in brown paper bags or clear plastic bags and you would squeeze lime juice and pour hot sauce all over them. Yummmm. Gansitos are the Mexican hostess cup cake/twinkie. I can here the tv jingle in my head as I type this. Mazapan, prob have eaten thousands of them. Pulparindo was fathered by fresh tamarind peeled and rolled in sugar, salt and chili powder. Or there were jaritas. Small clay jars that were filled with a blend of the previous ingredients and sold with a small wooden spoon to eat its contents. Carlos quintos chocolate was always in my aunts suit case when she visited from Mexico. It comes in a variety of flavors and the commercials main identity was a character that very much resembles the new burger king "king" with tights and a large head. There was also Turin chocolate my personal childhood favorite. There were so many more, chamoys, pico, dulce de leche ect. This thread was a great flux capasidor and I just travelled back to 1976.

The Wok Mon Converts Your Home Burner Into a Wok Range. For Real.

Have not read every comment so if someone else has beat me to this and there is a reply, sorry! Does that extremely high heat have any effect on the surface of the stove? Not that I care because I would go for functionality over aesthetics any day of the week but if my wife came home to her newly peeled paintless stove, wok cooker thingy gizmo. She would kill me and then go by a new stove but probably not in that order. Just curious.

An Open Letter to Serious Eaters

How very sad. Talk was one of my favorite things about serious eats. I love reading what sooo many of you have to say. Some were really interesting topics, some helpful and some…well, there were some interesting and helpful topics. It made it possible to quickly form some friendships with long time members and new members alike. I don't Tweet, FaceTime or instagram and have no intentions too. So I hope as the site grows and evolves it learns that somethings are best left as they are.

What to bring? Going Away party, 30 ppl, 10am

Deviled eggs...with osetra.

Counter top Combi Oven?

If your talking about a real "Combi" then I don't think any of the above replies will help you. I have two countertop rational Combi ovens and they are fantastic but they require a floor drain for the water/steam to have a place to be released. That is very expensive and in some cases just can't be done unless your will willing to do major construction in your home. I believe mielle also makes a more "home friendly" model, but I'm not sure of the specifics required to install it.

Il Mulino Upper East New York

Why didn't you call the manager to your table? I would have!

Cooking music

When I working at spago many years ago, the GM would blast the gypsy kings in the dining room. It was fun, upbeat and loud. I loved it then and still do to this day.

Sweet potato question

@zinnia1 yeah that makes common sense. Lets cut 3 different sweet potatoes into small pieces mix them all together and start to bake them. Then pull them off the pan 1 piece at a time. My original post stands. If they cook at the same time combine them, otherwise...

Food doesn't act like food anymore...

I was eating my steak dinner last night. You know. The way I always do on Fridays after yatzee and I turned my back for a split second and my steak bit me. My steaks have never done this in the past. Now I have to go to sleep with a vase for protection. And tomorrow I will purchase a fly swatter to shield me from all the radiation. Food is not what it used to be.

Sweet potato question

Not sure, but you can always roast ten in separate pans until they reach their desired doneness and then combine them to finish and serve.

Making clarified butter, can I re-make it and will it stay?

If you make it. It will stay.

Good restaurant for an awkward dinner

@ boobird- REALLY??!!! Go away and sober up or something!

Featured..Kraft... comments closed.

Kraft slices are PERFECT and delicious. Not everything has to be gourmet or artisanal to be great.

How can I grill this fish whole?

How lrg is the bass your cooking? It makes a big difference on which approach you should take. If its smallish a cpl lbs you can go directly over hot grill. If its a larger bass 5 lbs up you might consider a rotisserie.

How to make thai sticky rice

It's not "normal" rice. It's Thai glutinous rice and you need to wash it. Soak it overnight and then steam it. No boiling here. Strictly steam.

Bolillo rolls

Bolillos should not have a glaze of any kind!

Inventor of Fish Sticks Died

Did he choke on one of the frozen fish monstrosities he invented? I know... that's horrible but I had to say it.

Inventor of Fish Sticks Died

Did he choke on one of the frozen fish monstrosities he invented? I know... that's horrible but I had to say it.

Favorite Kitchen/Food Smell...

Funny enough you would think BACON but not so much apparently if you live in SF near the Bacon Bacon restaurant. They complained to the city and had it shut down because the overwhelming aroma of bacon was to much!
Bread baking, garlic and chilies toasting in olive oil, bbq smoking and bacon too.

Las Vegas, NV: Don't Bet on the $60 Rossini Burger at Burger Bar

I went to the burger bar with my wife and son. Spent over $80 dollars for three burgers and a couple of shakes. They first got our order wrong. Tic toc. Finally got our "correct" but burgers were over cooked, fries under cooked and just plain bland. I don't like whipped cream on my milk shakes but they will put it on even if you ask them not too. So nice. The lettuce for the burgers were wilted, to tomatoes under ripe and not even sliced evenly. Could have spent a third of that and had a great burger at fat burger or five guys. I even wrote an email and sent it to them letting the management about our experience. Never heard back. Worst burger ever! Your tearing me apart Qubert!

Pork Blood Popsicles?

Juicy LA. I have a blond lab you could eat. Just give me an address. I will pay for shipping!!!!!

Bon appetite!

Why does my pound cake collapse in the middle.

Been making the same pound cake for years. The only change this time is the flour. I usually use king arthur cake flour and this time it wasn't available so I went with the swan stuff. I don't think that would have made the difference but I don't know. Please help. Also Im baking them in the nice paper pound cake molds (like the pannetone mold) just in the pound cake form.

Ricotta pound cake

I make a really really good ricotta pound cake but someone has asked me to make it with a "strip" of ricotta running down the center. How do I do this? I don't want it to sink to the bottom or melt into the batter. Should I start the baking process and then add the ricotta? Anyways please help me. I need to make a doz of these cakes.


Im getting ready to travel to Utah and the elevation will be about 6500 ft. I will attempt to make brioche there. Is their anything I should change about a basic brioche recipe in order to achieve success?



I was just reading the Serious Eats Guide to Sandwiches international edition and now I MUST devour a pambazo...the problem is I live in Vegas and haven't found one. Soooo if you know where I can find a good one please let me know...quickly!

Tired of cookbook errors

Here is the deal folks. Im a professional chef. I can cook. I mostly use cook books for inspiration but on occasion when I am preparing something that I have never done before I might turn to a cookbook. One of the books that instantly comes to mind that is a serious offender of incomplete or error filled recipes is the Alinea cook book but I have a few hundred cookbooks and their are plenty more offenders. It blows me a way when a Chef creates a recipe that is measured to the gram how a recipe can be off by let say 150 grams. I think when chefs write cookbooks they need to do a better job with their recipes or not write them at all. Just curious what others think of this.

Los Cuatro Milpas

Im not sure why I'm posting this here...the line outside of this San Diego Barrio Logan taco shop are long enough and when they sell out of food they close their doors for the day, usually around 3 pm. I guess I'm just shocked that I haven't seen a review of this amazing place here. I think Kenji should have one of his SD SE contributors give this place a try. If any one here has tried this place out let me know what you think. I just finished working out to make more room in my gut and I'm on my way to Los Cuatro Milpas .

Restaurant complaints

I went out to a local casual Italian restaurant earlier today and had a really bad experience. The bruschetta had so much garlic that it was rendered inedible. We sent it back to the kitchen and over heard (he shouted) the owner say "if they wanted light garlic they should have asked" then our entrees arrived, my son and I ordered the same thing, chicken franchaise. It was so salty but what really ruined our meal was that my sons was still raw. We sent it back and they didn't charge us but the owner didn't come talk to us. That really bothered me and I won't be going back. I'm tired of wasting money on bad meals and poor service. So I have a policy of letting them know if there is a problem. I'm curious how my SE amigos handle bad meals and service issues. Do you complain to the server? Ask for the owner/manager? Ask for items taken off the bill? Let me know.

Peeling eggs

I know, I have to use older eggs. Fresh eggs are more difficult to peel because of the albumin. That's what all the experts say. But I scoff at those so called experts. I am a chef and have peeled or attempted to peel thousands of eggs in my career and have tried all of the tricks. I have successfully peeled farm fresh eggs and made eggs so old look like road kill. So what's the real trick to getting eggs peeled cleanly? I know it's not what we're being told, that's for sure. Soooo what's your method to this egg madness?

Real Japanese Tempura

I have been trying to make tempura that comes out super light. extra crunchy, not greasy and with those little bits of batter that seem to barely cling to the item your cooking. I have followed all sorts of recipes and some are decent but none give me the real japanese tempura texture I'm looking for. Any suggestions.

Cooking in a tandoor oven

Im looking for advise and recipes for cooking in a tandoor oven. Yes I do have one and have been mildly successful making recipes in it. My tandoor chicken will come out tasty but it will burn if I leave it in there long enough to cook all the way through so I finish it in the oven. My nann never sticks to the side the way its supposed too. It just falls into an inferno and puffs immediately to smoke and char. Im not looking for recipes prepare in a reg oven, grill or stove top. Only Tandoor. Thanks.

Some comments never make it on the forum.

How come some of my comments dont make it on the community forum. In some cases I spend a lot of time trying to answere someones question and then I never see it. Is this a serious eats sensorship thing or just a glitch? Just curious. Anyone else have this problem?

Gourmet Roach Coach


I am in the process of writing a business plan for a new food truck on the west coast. I have been cooking profesionally for over 22 years in high end celeberty chef type restaurants and privately for about 5 yrs and want to go out on my own. I understand the cost associated with a brick and mortar establishment but a rolling restaurant throws me. So if anyone out there has any info on starting a food truck I would appreicate any help. Here are some areas that I really want input.

Start up cost: Please be specific about cost and where the funds are going. i.e. $38 thousand on a Truck. $4thousand getting truck wrapped.
Operating expenses.
Partnership Agreements/contracts
Food Cost Avg
Labor cost Avg
Profit margins
getting business owners/manament to let you park your truck to sale your products.
Starting a social media presence
Fule cost
Anyting really but this list is a good starting point I think

Milk Bar Pistachio Cake recipe

Has anyone succesfully made the Pistachio cake recipe out of the milk bar cook book? I have tried 3 times and it comes out really really moist to the point where you can squeeze it together into a ball that resembles the batter before it was ever baked. I emailed them at the restaurant and they said that I over baked (left it in the oven for 45 min) it the first time and to trust the recipe and leave it in the oven for only 22 minutes tops. I tried it two more times and same result. I am a chef not pastry but I do all right in the sweets dept. I think the recipe needs to be tweeked by removing a lot of the pistachio paste and adding a bit more flour. Appreciate any feedback.