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Posts posted by Borgstrom

  1. 3 hours ago, Annie_H said:

    I first saw one in use at MomofukuKo. They use the real deal but I have the imposter Thaan (sp) brand. Still burns long and clean. Unless a bit of grease hits the coals. And reusable. Some start the heating process in a hot oven. I just use my chimney starter with some cooking oil on lots of newspaper and a torch. 

    I had my eye on one of these for a while being so portable. HIBACHI But ended up just using something I have next to our outdoor table. 




    Screen Shot 2022-06-01 at 8.45.13 AM.png

    Good idea on using oil when starting the charcoal - I’ll have to try that next time.


    I just picked up the chimney that doubles as a used-charcoal storage container — clever!



    • Like 3
  2. 3 minutes ago, KennethT said:

    When cooking a small quantity, I assume there would be a lot of binchotan remaining.  Can you quench it and let it dry and then use it again later?

    Absolutely.  For my several-hour Memorial Day dinner I think I had about half of it remaining.


    I took all the charcoal out and placed back in the chimney, then quenched with water.  You definitely don’t want to quench with water while still in the ceramic grill as the grill would crack.


    I’ve just ordered a new chimney that has a removable top and bottom that can be used to extinguish the charcoal instead of using water, avoiding the resulting steam/mess.

    • Thanks 1
  3. On 6/1/2022 at 5:52 AM, Paul Bacino said:

    @Borgstrom-  Just curious how u start your Coal?

    Binchotan has a reputation of being hard to start.

    In Japan they typically start it on a portable butane burner or commercial kitchen gas hob in a special pot with perforated bottom.


    I started in a chimney, but then stuck a MAPP gas torch up the bottom to get it going - you can see both on the ground in one of the shots.

    • Like 2
  4. On 6/1/2022 at 4:12 AM, weinoo said:


    I do like onigiri on the grill; can you mention a little more about that grill?

    It’s a ceramic “konro” grill I bought on eBay from a seller in Japan.  It’s very traditional there (I lived in Japan for 5 years a long long time ago) for yakitori and other types of kushiyaki.  A similar model is available here.


    This unit is made from diatomaceous earth, which relatively light and insulates very well.  Outside of grill is warm to the touch while the binchotan charcoal inside is burning at 1000F+.

    This type of grill is meant to be used with traditional Japanese binchotan charcoal, which these days is very expensive (a box of it can cost as much as the grill) and hard to come by, but it burns long (4 hours +/-) and doesn’t emit much smoke.  I’m using a “fake” binchotan from Thailand (I think) made from compressed sawdust.  It seems to work very well, burning much hotter and much longer than typical lump charcoal I typically use in the US.


    I really like the grill because it is compact and efficient. So much so that I plan to sell my large Big Green Egg, which is really best for long/slow cooks of big chunks of meat that I’m not as in to these days.  The 2-foot konro will do yakitori obviously, but it would also fit a couple burgers or a steak if I’m in the mood.

    • Like 2
  5. I gave up on FN a long time ago; at one point you could learn something but these days it is all about the personality.


    There are alternatives, however.


    I recently discovered this great series of 24 35-min lectures by Bill Briwa of Culinary Institute of America (The Everyday Gourmet: Rediscovering the Lost Art of Cooking).  His "personality" would never make it to a pilot on today's FN, but he is engaging/sincere/competent enough to make the series really worthwhile.  I was more than happy to shell out $69. I've saved all the videos on my computer, and then watch them on my TV through Apple TV.


    I suppose if you demand free ad-sponsored cooking TV, you end up with the entertainment-focused drivel on FN.  Perhaps the path forward is paid content like this, or from other sources like Rouxbe, ChefSteps, etc.

  6. Recipe was loosely based on the Tartine basic country loaf formula


    Made "starter" night before with flour/water/yeast in bowl left on counter

    Used 1/3 each AP flour, home ground hard white wheat, home ground hard red wheat in Vitamix with dry blade.

    Note: Vitamix gets flour pretty warm - 122F after 45sec on high. This may deactivate some of the enzymes needed to convert starch to sugar for the yeast during autolyse ; need to research...


    About 75% hydration. 

    Autolyse 1 hour

    3 hours bulk rise @ 80F

    5 hour proof @ 80F

    Paid more attention to stretching dough, creating tension on outer surface. Tough with sticky dough; will take practice

    20 min in steam at 450

    Switched to convection; 30 min at 425


    Pan: http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/store/product/wilton-advance-reg-perfect-results-9-inch-pie-pan/1041707654?categoryId=12048


    Baking stone: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000QJBNHY/




    would you share a bit on bread in the SteamBoy ?


    Rx? plate you used etc


    many thanks




    • Like 2
  7. I was disappointed to find that instead of metric weight/mass based measurements, the version I ordered from Amazon.com had US/volume based measurements. I then ordered the version from Amazon.ca (Canada), which had the metric measurements on the pages shown at the site, but, alas, it shipped with the US measurements. Now I have two copies of the version I don't want. Perhaps the UK version has metric/mass based measurements, but I'm not sure if I'm willing to purchase a third version at this point...

  8. Tried the Momofuku short ribs again tonight: 48-hour SV short ribs with Maldon salt; dashi-braised daikon with pickled mustard seeds; pickled carrot; blanched scallion. This time I SV'd at 56C instead of the book's 60C -- definitely more pink than last time, but I might go down to 55C next time. This is actually one of the first times I've taken advantage of the cook/chill/hold/retherm benefit of SV. I made all of the components for the dish over the weekend, as I meant to have this on Sunday. Plans went awry before I started final assembly so I was able to keep chilled and retherm/assemble tonight in just 30 minutes -- all I had to do was deep-fry the short ribs for 2 min, blanch the scallion and reduce down the sauce a bit. Not bad for a Monday night, get-home-from-work-at-7pm meal! I gotta plan ahead like this more often! :laugh:


  9. I'm pretty happy with my Weston Pro 2300 -- bought for $400 in 2010 (price has come down since) and still going strong, no problems. That itself could actually be a problem because at some point I would like to upgrade to a chamber model to make life easier with liquids and to try other techniques (compression/infusion). At this rate it will be a while before I get a chamber sealer if I wait for the Weston to break down...

  10. An interesting paper published last week in Nature, Flavor network and the principles of food pairing, shows that Western cuisine tends to favor ingredient combinations where flavor compounds are similar while Eastern cuisine tends to the opposite, with ingredient combinations where flavor compounds are not similar. Fascinating. Perhaps this insight open the door to new flavor profile options for Western or Eastern cooking. What do you think?


    The cultural diversity of culinary practice, as illustrated by the variety of regional cuisines, raises the question of whether there are any general patterns that determine the ingredient combinations used in food today or principles that transcend individual tastes and recipes. We introduce a flavor network that captures the flavor compounds shared by culinary ingredients. Western cuisines show a tendency to use ingredient pairs that share many flavor compounds, supporting the so-called food pairing hypothesis. By contrast, East Asian cuisines tend to avoid compound sharing ingredients. Given the increasing availability of information on food preparation, our data-driven investigation opens new avenues towards a systematic understanding of culinary practice.

  11. OR better yet, does anyone have any good recipes for a whole pork filet that are reallllllly good? I'm not really a fan in the first place. Need something really tasty.

    I really like a spice-rubbed tenderloin. Create a rub with ancho chile powder, brown sugar, pasilla chile powder, chile de arbol powder, cinnamon, allspice, salt. Coat the tenderloin with the rub and sear off all sides and finish in oven. Serve with an bourbon-ancho sauce and red-pepper sauce. From Mesa Grill cookbook by Bobby Flay.


  12. Check out Home-Barista to catch up on all the latest coffee/espresso buzz. This article is a good place to start for different options at various price points.

    Rocky/Silvia combination is pretty well regarded and has a long track record and many fans. If you've mastered that and want to move up, I think you are leaving the "entry level" category. What direction are you looking to move? Better shot quality/consistency? More steam power for milk drinks? Better ease-of-use (i.e. PID, double-boiler, plumbed-in)?

    I recently moved from an E-61 machine (single boiler, non-pid, heat-exchanger, non-plumbed, vibe-pump) to a plumbed-in, dual-boiler, rotary pump machine with volumetric dosing. What I can say so far is (a) I will never get a non-plumbed machine again -- I love not having to worry about filling the tank, (b) I will never get a vibe-pump machine again -- the rotary pump is so quiet. The dual-boiler and volumetric dosing also add to the ease-of-use factor.

  13. While I don't have a huge amount of experience, what I've seen so far is that most of the smoke flavor is absorbed early in the smoking process. For fish, smoking 15-30 min is enough to get great flavor (no SV needed). For meat, a few hours at low temp is usually pretty good. For the MC pastrami, I smoked it for 4 hours and then SV for a couple of days and it turned out great. For pork shoulder, I tried smoke + 2 days SV vs. smoke + overnight low-and-slow BBQ. Both were very good, but different. The SV version was much juicier and didn't have as much of a bark. The traditional version was drier and had a thick bark. Perhaps the best approach is a bit of both for pulled pork -- SV version with a bit of bark mixed in would be perfect!

  14. AB used this:


    feedback device for charcoal. astonishing. anybody have it?

    I looked around at these last summer and ended up getting a BBQ Guru. I used on some overnight cooks with my BGE and it worked very well:


    Stoker is another option with remote monitoring over WiFi, but it seemed a bit complex for me:


    I've found it difficult to keep the temperature consistently below 225F or so on a charcoal grill even with a controller; you need to have a very tight seal on your cooker so no extra air gets in beyond what the fan sends it. I've also found that the BGE/BBQ Guru can be a good compliment to sous vide. I've done several things smoked for a while on the BGE for flavor followed by a long soak in the circulator (e.g. MC pastrami).

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