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5-star cooking tips

scooterdawgscooterdawg Posts: 1,335 ✭✭✭✭✭ Graduate

I love to cook and have mentioned that I'm working on a cooking blog. While I'd love to pour myself a pumpkin spice latte and tell you how my SO and kiddos say these are THE BEST COOKIES EVER!!! that's not the type of blog I'm going for nor the ones I frequent. I've been a fan of learning the techniques AND science of cooking since I ran across Alton Brown, the America's Test Kitchen PBS show, and some early food network shows. I've given away some here and there but I've probably owned 50+ cookbooks in my life plus my grandmother was a professional wedding caterer for a number of years and I learned some from her/have her recipes.

Now with the internet, there's blogs like Serious Eats and you can find the Pioneer Woman's recipe for Banana Pudding, a click away from a recipe for vegan ice cream, a click away from Julia Child's Coq Au Vin recipe. With Amazon and places like Whole Foods, Trader Joes, or even most decent sized grocery stores, access to ingredients is unquestionably better than in ANY time in history. Think about that, there are still a few things that can be arguably be done best in a restaurant like deep frying on a large scale or the high heat output of professional appliances, but the average person with a little bit of disposable income and some knowledge can cook and eat things that the best chefs cooking and the richest people eating from the Roman emperors to Queen Victoria.....just couldn't.

Anyway, I want to know your tips: anything from grilling, to boiling an egg, to how to keep a souffle from dropping(not that I've ever made one but I've heard that is a problem). If you want to explain the science go for it but I'm also looking for tips like "my grandmother always added a drop of X to Y because she said it did this" or "I just stumbled into this one day and it tasted good/worked!".

Here's one recent one for me: I've heard for years and years that I should have an instant read thermometer, particularly for grilling meats. I've had them before but they were either uber cheap and so inaccurate/didn't last long or were kind of half assed ones built into a grill fork or such. I've also been grilling on average at least once a week with both gas and charcoal for a good part of my life so mostly I know from look/feel when something's done and don't NEED one.

But I'm a believer now, with caveats. Spend at least $20 bucks on one, from Amazon or a cooking supply place/site. Thermapen is a brand that I've heard a lot of chefs mention. Digital obviously, waterproof(you'd be surprised), and not overly flimsy.

Why it's worth it: I've found that less fatty cuts like beef tenderloin and most bigger pieces of lean pork and bone in chicken are very picky and have a very small sweet spot temp wise. I know a few who differ but to me a filet cooked even 10 degrees over can ruin it. Want your chicken to be done but not dry as a bone? I'm finding that precise temp can be huge and that I can get a perfectly medium rare, thick filet by watching the temp closely and paying attention to how much it goes up during resting.

Another quick grilling related one: For less boring BBQ chicken: marinate it in a Korean bulgogi marinade. You can make one easily but can probably find one in the asian or BBQ sauce/marinade section at the grocery store. Goes well with regular BBQ sauce brushed on at the end. I haven't been there but I hear good things about Heirloom BBQ which is a Korean/Southern BBQ place so maybe it makes sense?

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