The Towtruck of Cooking

 

I’ve picked up a couple of recipes that I just adore, and which have helped inform and transform my whole approach to cooking.  I want it to be simple, fast, not too messy, and to taste magnificent.  I don’t want to buy exotic gear and I don’t want to add taste.  I want to taste the thing I’m cooking.

Lan Lam on steak:

She covers various methods, including sous vide and the famous “hot as hell, stand back!” and then lays it on you — the Cold Sear.  I really like her demonstrations of pros and cons for each method — shun the grey ring!

Frank Proto on chicken breast:

I had been doing a gallon bag of chicken breasts and spicy marinade to get flavor into the chicken, then Instapot for tender, moist, fluffy chicken breasts.  Fine, but lots of prep and the flavor is all added.  I’m developing an appreciation for the just plain taste of things, but I don’t want it to be bland.  Enter the Maillard reaction, as mentioned above by Lan Lam.  Frank Proto also covers it here for the chicken, and relying on this exclusively has worked wonders for my chicken game.  I deviate from this recipe by adding plain water rather than broth (why do I have to add chicken to my chicken to make it taste like chicken?), and the squirt of lemon is optional.  Chicken + salt, pepper, and some oil to get the heat up into the chicken from the pan; then drippings from that chicken + water and butter.  Remember to rack the chicken while it’s resting and then pour those drippings into your in-progress sauce.

The Jesse Kelly Burger:

This is the Super Bowl star here.  Yes, yes, yes, all he says and let me stress a couple of points: Chipotle Tabasco, not something else, yes a half-bottle per pound, yes the heat mostly cooks off and the FLAVOR OMZ IT’S COMPLETE.  American cheese, thin patties, pan cook — everything he says.  Although I don’t even use the allspice or whatever.  Don’t need it. Obviously, I’m deviating from “just taste what’s cooking” for this, but man is it ever worth it.

Get a chub of cheap 73/27 if you can, he’s absolutely right.  I messed up my first 73/27 and thought it was too fat.  Nope, I had done it wrong, and by the time I came back to 73/27, I had my game right.  What I had done wrong was over-kneading the ground beef.  If you work it too long, it becomes unmanageable.  You need this beef COLD and you need to be in and out of it as quickly as possible.  Get the Chipotle and the garlic powder worked into it and then smash out some barbarian patties.  Also, only do a pound (4-6 patties) at a time.  It takes too long to do larger batches, and you wind up fighting the patties, which then crumble in the pan.

I start by toasting the buns right in the pan (I only want the insides toasted anyway, for structural integrity), and then you gotta keep these burgers flipping.  A minute at a time, three or four flips and you’re done.  If the burgers are fragile, two minutes per side, so 2m + 2m + 1m to sit with cheese while you arrange buns.  Regardless, cook time on high is 4-5 minutes, using that last minute or so as cooldown and melt-the-cheese time if they’re looking done.

Some other tips: thin patties, rough edges, dimple in the middle.  Because science.

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  1. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    BDB: Chicken + salt, pepper

    The more I learn to cook, the more I realize that just salt and pepper is really good for most seasoning.  Weird.

     

    BDB: Chipotle Tabasco, not something else, yes a half-bottle per pound

    Holy Toledo.

    Ok – I’ll try it.  But that sounds REALLY spicy.  Golly…

    • #1
  2. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Great post, by the way.

    I look forward to trying this stuff.

    • #2
  3. David C. Broussard Coolidge
    David C. Broussard
    @Dbroussa

    Not a fan of 73/27 ground beef. My preference is 96/4 even for burgers. Of course I also believe in making them more like a meat loaf where I mix in a bunch of flavor via add-ins. I guess I just prefer that higher percentage of meat to the fat and the flavor it brings. I can add that flavor in other ways. But I am also the person that likes everything on my burgers, chili, fritos, black beans, Pico de Gallo, jalapeños, onions, lettuce, tomato, pickles, cheese, and bacon makes for a great burger IMO. Just a plain patty…not for me.

    • #3
  4. BDB Inactive
    BDB
    @BDB

    @drbastiat, the spice (heat) really does mostly cook out, leaving the spice (taste), which is sublime.  Start off with 1/3 bottle per pound (which is what I did) until you believe :-)

    @dbroussa, I can also enjoy them your way, but this is a different recipe.  It’s a different philosophy of burger.  In this one, the fat from the burger flows into the pan and is retained to cook the burger quickly and evenly.  And while one certainlyt can add all sorts of horse-hoof shavings or whatever, this is not that recipe.  This is the beauty of one or two ingredients working magic that a whole shelf of garbage cannot.

    • #4
  5. BDB Inactive
    BDB
    @BDB

    David C. Broussard (View Comment):

    Not a fan of 73/27 ground beef. My preference is 96/4 even for burgers. Of course I also believe in making them more like a meat loaf where I mix in a bunch of flavor via add-ins. I guess I just prefer that higher percentage of meat to the fat and the flavor it brings. I can add that flavor in other ways. But I am also the person that likes everything on my burgers, chili, fritos, black beans, Pico de Gallo, jalapeños, onions, lettuce, tomato, pickles, cheese, and bacon makes for a great burger IMO. Just a plain patty…not for me.

    I cannot describe how much I want you to just try this recipe — VERBATIM.  Don’t do half of this and half of that.  Try it his way, exactly what he says, no deviation.  Then tell me if you think it doesn’t hit the spot.

    • #5
  6. jmelvin Member
    jmelvin
    @jmelvin

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    BDB: Chicken + salt, pepper

    The more I learn to cook, the more I realize that just salt and pepper is really good for most seasoning. Weird.

     

    BDB: Chipotle Tabasco, not something else, yes a half-bottle per pound

    Holy Toledo.

    Ok – I’ll try it. But that sounds REALLY spicy. Golly…

    Chipotle Tabasco sauce really isn’t all that spicy, but it is very flavorful.  I think you might be surprised if you haven’t tried it.

    • #6
  7. Ekosj Member
    Ekosj
    @Ekosj

    I’m a new convert to Crystal hot sauce.   Mild on the heat … great pepper flavor.   It’s my new fav.

    • #7
  8. Ed G. Inactive
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    Oh man, I cannot wait to get my hands on some steak and chicken breast to try these out. I may not be able to concentrate on work the rest of the day now, instead daydreaming of the perfect sear and pinkness.

    • #8
  9. BDB Inactive
    BDB
    @BDB

    Ekosj (View Comment):

    I’m a new convert to Crystal hot sauce. Mild on the heat … great pepper flavor. It’s my new fav.

    Never heard of it.  Must be next to the Havarti.  Did you not hear what Jesse Kelly said?

    • #9
  10. OccupantCDN Coolidge
    OccupantCDN
    @OccupantCDN

    Lots of great cooking content on YouTube:

    Ballistic BBQ:

    Sam the Cooking Guy:

    Chef John (Food Wishes):

    Bon Appetite (Molly Baz)

    Molly Baz has gone out on her own, after the scandal that blew up the test kitchen.

    Can’t forget Babish:

    I’ve tried a few of the Food Wishes recipes with mixed results.

    • #10
  11. Bunsen Coolidge
    Bunsen
    @Bunsen

    Can’t wait to check out the videos on my home laptop where evil corporate safeguards cannot block it.  I sense some Smell-o-vision coming from your descriptions.  

    Quick question – burgers ok to do on cast iron?  Or should it be a regular pan? 

    Nothing brings out flavor in steak or chops like a heavy dose of salt and pepper that sits on the meat for 15+ minutes before the grill.

    • #11
  12. BDB Inactive
    BDB
    @BDB

    Bunsen (View Comment):

    Can’t wait to check out the videos on my home laptop where evil corporate safeguards cannot block it. I sense some Smell-o-vision coming from your descriptions.

    Quick question – burgers ok to do on cast iron? Or should it be a regular pan?

    Nothing brings out flavor in steak or chops like a heavy dose of salt and pepper that sits on the meat for 15+ minutes before the grill.

    I’ve had great results with the JKBs on both non-stick and cast iron.  The burgers lubricate their way right off either way.

    • #12
  13. BDB Inactive
    BDB
    @BDB

    Oven is now beeping – just made myself a baked onion.  Two halves, spoon a little hollow out of the “top” of each half, a TINY touch of sage and a big pat of butter into each hollow.

    Okay, I put them in at 350 for 40.  Should probably go longer.  I may go back to leaving the bottom intact (whole onion) and leaving a good layer of papery skin intact over the whole thing (except the butter hollow in the top) so that it stews up better.

    • #13
  14. David C. Broussard Coolidge
    David C. Broussard
    @Dbroussa

    If you like Chipotle Tabasco, you’re gonna love Cholula. That is the best tasting hot sauce out there. 

    • #14
  15. Ekosj Member
    Ekosj
    @Ekosj

    BDB (View Comment):

    Ekosj (View Comment):

    I’m a new convert to Crystal hot sauce. Mild on the heat … great pepper flavor. It’s my new fav.

    Never heard of it. Must be next to the Havarti. Did you not hear what Jesse Kelly said?

    You should make it a point to introduce yourself to it.   It comes to me from a guy on the MS/LA border who fishes for a living.   He’s not a frivolous man.  

    • #15
  16. Django Member
    Django
    @Django

    Don’t forget breakfast and/or brunch. Closest to the recipe I’ve used for years. 

    • #16
  17. Ekosj Member
    Ekosj
    @Ekosj

    I’m still a reverse-sear guy.   It’s idiot-proof (And I would know)

    https://ricochet.com/872606/vintage-tool-modern-technique/

    • #17
  18. GPentelie Coolidge
    GPentelie
    @GPentelie

    From one of my go-to YT cooks, …

    20 minutes, 1 pan, 5 ingredients, shallow-poached fish fillets in a delectable sauce:

    • #18
  19. Ekosj Member
    Ekosj
    @Ekosj

    David C. Broussard (View Comment):

    If you like Chipotle Tabasco, you’re gonna love Cholula. That is the best tasting hot sauce out there.

    Cholula was my go-to before Crystal.    My son and I were in the middle of nowhere New Mexico and stumbled into a tiny restaurant run by somebody’s abuela.    The food was simple, inexpensive and spectacular.   Cholula was on the table.   That’s high praise indeed.    But Crystal is better IMO.    Less heat but better flavor.    

    • #19
  20. GPentelie Coolidge
    GPentelie
    @GPentelie

    Sorry, off topic:

    I haven’t figured out how to embed YouTube videos. Advice, please?

    • #20
  21. Concretevol Thatcher
    Concretevol
    @Concretevol

    This is the post most needed on this site sir!   Excellent content!

    • #21
  22. BDB Inactive
    BDB
    @BDB

    GPentelie (View Comment):

    Sorry, off topic:

    I haven’t figured out how to embed YouTube videos. Advice, please?

    Put the link on a line by itself.  No spaces before, CR afterward.

    That’s how I do it. 

    Oh, and just copy the URL from the browser, or right-click (Mac CTRL-click) the video and “Copy video URL”.  Do not mess with “Embed” options.

    The blog engine at Ricochet will handle the raw URL on a line by itself with no issues.

    • #22
  23. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    David C. Broussard (View Comment):

    If you like Chipotle Tabasco, you’re gonna love Cholula. That is the best tasting hot sauce out there.

    On Parents Day my freshman year of college I saw a Lamborghini pull up behind the dorm.  My friend from down the hall said, “Oh, that’s my Dad” and he started down the hall to go greet him.

    I asked him what his Dad did for a living.  He said, “We make pepper sauce.”  I just stared at him with a blank look as he walked away.  I didn’t even know what pepper sauce was.

    I didn’t put it together until a month or two later until I saw my friend’s name, McIlhenny, on a bottle of my favorite hot sauce:

    • #23
  24. Django Member
    Django
    @Django

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    David C. Broussard (View Comment):

    If you like Chipotle Tabasco, you’re gonna love Cholula. That is the best tasting hot sauce out there.

    On Parents Day my freshman year of college I saw a Lamborghini pull up behind the dorm. My friend from down the hall said, “Oh, that’s my Dad” and he started down the hall to go greet him.

    I asked him what his Dad did for a living. He said, “We make pepper sauce.” I just started at him with a blank look as he walked away. I didn’t even know what pepper sauce was.

    I didn’t put it together until a month or two later until I saw my friend’s name, McIlhenny, on a bottle of my favorite hot sauce:

    • #24
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