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About btbyrd

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  1. Scratch Guacamole - Labor Intensive

    It needs an antioxidant. It's the ascorbic acid in lime juice that helps, not the acidity itself. I add a dash of vitamin C to any batch that I'm not going to eat immediately. Vacuum sealing is also an option.
  2. Searing after SV

    As long as it takes depending on the heat of the fire. I use lump hardwood most of the time, as binchotan is expensive and isn't really necessary. It's nice for special occasions though.
  3. Searing after SV

    Konro grills for the win. Also deep frying.
  4. Pre-sear then SV. The breasts will just be seared again, but the legs are going on the smoker before they get shredded, coated in bacon fat, and crisped up under the broiler.
  5. Amazon Prime members get an extra discount off turkey at Whole Foods this holiday season. I'm picking my 18-20 pounder up tomorrow. The turkey should be done and the stock should be made by mid-day Sunday. I pity the fool that wakes up early on Thanksgiving to put the bird in the oven.
  6. Scratch Guacamole - Labor Intensive

    Hate is a strong word, but so are my feelings about making some poor schlep do a common kitchen task tableside for no reason.
  7. Scratch Guacamole - Labor Intensive

    Unless you can find a technological work around, this is the answer. Especially if you're a southwestern/Mexican establishment. If quality guac isn't on the menu -- even as a premium "upcharge" menu item -- it would set off a lot of alarm bells in my mind. This is how many of our local "Mexican" establishments operate, though I hate tableside guac service. HATE. It's a freaking bowl of guac, not a freaking Dover Sole. Most places have stopped doing tableside guac and now just offer a "fresco" or "house-made chunky" guac for a price premium and then use lower quality stuff for garnishing. That's my preference, unless it's an upmarket establishment (where my preference is for all guac to be proper guac).
  8. Dinner 2017 (Part 6)

    Thanks! The lighter colored stuff is cheese and the darker stuff is andouille sauteed with the cajun trinity. I usually make it rain bacon on there too, but it was getting late.
  9. Dinner 2017 (Part 6)

    Shrimp and grits.
  10. Thanksgiving Side Dishes

    Sourcing: (Almost all of this goes for chicken too.) The things that make a non-garbage turkey a non-garbage turkey are its genetics, feed, environment, and processing. Modern farmed turkeys are freaks of nature designed to pack on as much breast meat into a spheroid shape as fast as humanly possible. They grow too fast. They're kept inside all the time, not that it matters since can barely move on account of dem tig ol' bitties. After they reach a gigantic slaughter weight at an astonishingly young age, they're killed, plucked, and processed. Usually this involves chilling the birds in water and then pumping them full of a sodium and phosphate solution. All that water from the chilling and brining processes dilute flavor and make the skin soggy. Ideally, what you want is a bird that wasn't bred to pack on as much meat as possible, as fast as possible, with as little effort as possible. You want a bird that takes more than two weeks to weigh 20 pounds. You want a bird that's lived a life... that's walked around, flexed its muscles, eaten some grubs and worms... something that's maybe even seen a half birthday -- or more. These can be tricky to find. The first stop would be your local farmer's market. If you can't do that, but are made of money, you could order a heritage bird from Heritage Meats USA or D'Artagnan. But even if you can't find or afford something like this, you can usually find something at the supermarket that's been air-chilled and hasn't been pumped full of brine. Bell and Evans is my favorite, kinda-widely available brand. If you don't see it, talk to the meat dude. Or meat lady. You know, whatever... Cooking: There's no one right way to cook anything, but... For the love of God, don't cook the white meat to 165F. The best way to cook a turkey is to take it apart and cook the dark meat separately from the light meat. Cooking it whole requires compromise. Breaking it down improves quality. That goes for "stuffing" too. My go-to method is to break the bird down and do the white meat according to ChefStep's SV recipe (131F/12-18hours) and confit the legs in duck fat before smoking them on the grill. Roast off the carcass and wings to make stock. (Fortify that with additional wings and ground turkey). I mostly just follow this playbook: The finishing step is up to you, really. Grill it, fry it, sear it, smoke it, broil it... If you don't want to do sous vide, I've also had great results using the Chefsteps "Turkey Crown Roast" recipe in a traditional oven.The butchery for that makes for a striking presentation. I may do that this year, actually... Anyway, CS has a nice video on how to break down the bird for that recipe. Apart from these recipes, I've also made great smoked turkey, great deep fried turkey, and great turkey that was cooked underneath a trash can. There's no best way. But the way NOT to do it is to cook a Butterball and rely on its built-in pop-up thermometer.
  11. Buying Japanese Knives Online

    The sujihiki and the nakiri came from Japanny / Seisuke Knife. Honesuki from CKTG. And I found the 240 gyuto from D.C. Sharp. Good buying experiences all around.
  12. Buying Japanese Knives Online

    Gotta run before you can walk! I wasn't sure about this knife at first, honestly, but I came to love it almost immediately. The belly on the knife is very slight, and almost entirely at the front of the knife. A good four or five inches of it sit totally flat on the board -- about 2/3 of the bade. The tip is liable to dig into the board if you're rocking too high. BUT... I realized that for most cutting tasks, I do approximately zero rocking. I'm pretty much entirely push/pull, and this knife is a beast for those tasks. And the tip is perfect for slashing onions horizontally. This knife is also really thick; it's the thickest thing I've got that isn't a deba. And I've been on a buying spree recently. But the weight and profile mean that it chops and dices like nobody's business. The weight does the work for you. It's sort of a battle axe, though a battle axe whose tip should be treated with respect. I'm glad that it has a saya, because that tip needs a guard -- for its sake and for your sake. Anyway.... Here's a gang of Anryu blades. The gyuto just got here today.
  13. There are certain things that home cooks typically do not own but are common in restaurant and bar kitchens. Things like salamanders, planchas, and deep fryers with cold zones. 240V induction units, blast chillers, wok burners, combi ovens, and real ice cream machines. Where home cooks have their Cuisinarts, the pros have Robocoup-jujitsu that can dice a case of tomatoes in two minutes flat. My question to the professionals in the audience is: Of this class of appliance -- of any type or application --which particular models/brands do you love? Why do you love them? Bonus points if they could conceivably be used in a dream home kitchen. I realize this is an extremely broad question, but I'm hoping to elicit people telling heartwarming stories about how awesome their broiler is, or anecdotes about which model of plancha the Adria brothers use in their kitchens. Maybe you're a bartender and there's a specific ice maker that makes perfect cubes for cocktails... or maybe you worked grinding brunch shifts and made a million tedious-but-perfect waffles using an especially trustworthy waffle maker.... whatever it is, write a love note to your favorite gear. Let us home cooks know what we're missing.
  14. Dinner 2017 (Part 6)

    Lobster avocado roulade. Apple, Asian pear, cucumber, blood orange, tarragon. Avocados were 4 for $5. I got 8. Lobster tails were on sale... I got 2. Apples are in season. What else was I to do? HT: Daniel Humm at EMP whose dish this is based on.