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Secrets You Learned from Experience??? #8150221 01/31/21 06:43 PM
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What are some of the things you guys like to do in the kitchen to make things taste better, be safer, or help making stuff pretty?? Here's some of my observations, there's many I still need to hear from you guys.
Please share some tips.

Make sure your pans are non-stick. Use good seasoned cast iron, or steel pans with proper oil or butter
Don't EVER use those scrubbing greenies on any non-stick surface, cause you'll ruin them. Don't believe it? Try it on a piece of clear glass and see what happens!
Wooden spoons and flat scrapers give you much better "feel" of the cooking food than steel utensils
Lay out the necessary ingredients, tools and pans, ahead of time, to make sure you're prepared. Hard to substitute on the fly, if something is already cooking
A sharp knife is best, and safest. For slicing round things, cut a flat end or edge to make it stable. A great knife will pay for itself in no time!
Taste soups, stews, or sauces as you go, and better to add seasonings slowly instead of overpowering
Salt a little, as you go, but to your own taste at the end
Put a wet paper towel under a cutting board, keeps it from moving around and absorbs juices making cleaner surfaces
When you put pans on the stove, pay attention to where you put the handle!
If you're trying to get a good crust or sear, resist the temptation to look underneath, or move them around
Always use tongs on your meats on the grill, and stop poking holes in them with that BBQ fork. Just lets the juices run out faster, making stuff tough
Sear thicker beef and chicken breasts, and finish in oven to keep moist and not get tough
Cook big chicken breasts on the grill quicker without getting tough, by warming up in microwave for 1-2 minutes first.
Sugar based sauces will burn, and the black is acrid instead of being a good spicy bark

What's some more??

Re: Secrets You Learned from Experience??? [Re: Blank] #8150246 01/31/21 07:26 PM
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Originally Posted by TPACK
Baking Soda.
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Re: Secrets You Learned from Experience??? [Re: TPACK] #8150261 01/31/21 07:54 PM
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Originally Posted by TPACK
Originally Posted by TPACK
Baking Soda.




roflmao It must only work for chefs

Re: Secrets You Learned from Experience??? [Re: Blank] #8150271 01/31/21 08:11 PM
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When I'm using a tenderizing hammer I keep the cold water running and wet the hammer after each piece. Keeps it from sticking, no need to use flour.


" Excuse me, while I whip this out!"
Re: Secrets You Learned from Experience??? [Re: Blank] #8150389 01/31/21 10:44 PM
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I always catch crap on this one, but it does work and is a chef trick I learned from one of those high end chefs. When braising meat in the oven wrap the whole pan, minus the lid, in plastic wrap. It creates a pressure cooker affect leading to more tender and juicier meat. If you wrap in plastic wrap and then wrap the plastic in aluminum foil the plastic will not melt. The steam from the food on one side and the foil on the other keep it from melting. Works great for things like lasagna too apparently, but I’ve never tried that.

Another big one is acid and salt. They belong in just about every dish in some form or another. These are seasonings. They make food taste better. They make food taste more like itself. Everything else is considered spices and alters the flavor of the dish. I keep several different vinegars; Apple, champagne, white, wine, citrus, etc. and 3 different kinds of salts. Kosher salt, fine sea salt, and flaky finishing salt.

Re: Secrets You Learned from Experience??? [Re: Blank] #8150407 01/31/21 10:56 PM
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Brine.

Re: Secrets You Learned from Experience??? [Re: Blank] #8150431 01/31/21 11:04 PM
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Turn the burner off before you leave the kitchen.


Quail hunting is like walking into, and out of a beautiful painting all day long. Gene Hill


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Re: Secrets You Learned from Experience??? [Re: Blank] #8150521 02/01/21 12:12 AM
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When cooking rice, don't touch the lid until 10 minutes after you remove from heat. Then fluff with a fork ONLY.

When browning meat prior to making a brown gravy, make sure that your pan/pot is HOT. Med/high heat, don't overcrowd your pan, & don't move the meat around, then reduce as soon as browning is finished. Some folks have asked why they can't make a good brown gravy from scratch (no friggin' Kitchen Bouquet). This is why.

Don't boil water or cook acidic food (tomato base) in seasoned cast iron. It WILL remove the seasoning. Use coated cast iron or aluminum for this. I am also a believer in wooden spoons only with cast iron.

Don't add minced garlic to your food until towards the end or it will burn & get bitter. You will also lose some of that garlic aromatic if you go in too soon with it.

Don't season your food until towards the end (soups/stews/gumbos/carne guisadas/gravies etc). If you season everything at the beginning of the cook only, you will lose a lot of that flavor over time so no sense in wasting seasoning. Yes I do season some at the beginning of the cook, but the final seasoning is where it's at.

When BBQ'ng, learn how to properly run your smoker/pit. Always point your air intake into the wind, and adjust your heat/airflow with the intake ONLY. Keep the exhaust wide open during the cook. You want clear to light blue smoke coming out, not white billowing smoke. Don't put your meat on until you get your fire right. Lots of people complain about a brisket being too smoky. Some folks smoke for a while, then wrap and put in the oven taking away from that delicious bark. When your pit is running right, you can cook a brisket for the entire cook without wrapping it and keep it on the pit. You will have a much better bark without it being too smoky, & keep the dang lid closed. Quit peeking. Seasoned splits always burn cleaner than whole logs. Depending on the type of wood you're using, making a fire outside of the firebox and shoveling in hot coals sometimes makes a huge difference. This is especially true for long cooks on brisket & pork butt, using Mesquite or Live Oak wood.

When boiling crawfish & crabs, the "soak" is the most important part of the cook. Folks screw this up all of the time, making them hard to peel, and then folks give up on them and say they aren't worth the effort. Properly cooked crawfish are extremely easy to eat, no peeling required. For my crawfish, once that water is at a good rolling boil...they get a 5 minute boil, then a 30 minute soak. Soaking longer is better, but my minimum is 30 min. If they're still floating, they ain't done soaking. You can add ice, but I don't because then you have to keep adding seasoning after the ice melts. After that, you can make them even easier to eat by dumping them into an ice chest and let them steam for a little while. The meat pops right out with your teeth & a pinch, ain't no peeling. Also, if you want to step the flavor up another notch, blend your vegetables up good (in addition to the vegetables not blended). Dump your blended veggies (onion/garlic/celery etc) into the water pre-boil. You can tell the difference in them bugs after they soak that up too.

Shrimp - it only takes a few minutes to boil them depending on your fire & shrimp size. Folks overcook shrimp ALL of the time too, making them hard to peel & dry. I boil my shrimp for 2-3 minutes, that's it. Adding butter & a little vinegar to the boiling water also makes for a better peel, but soaking is also important. As soon as the boil is done with shrimp, I do go in with ice OR dump them into an ice chest and pour ice & seasoning on top to stop the cook. Shrimp don't need to soak as long, but they do need to cool down fast or they will get overcooked.

There are so many things that I've learned the hard way cooking, but these are a few. Don't want to write a book (longer book smile ) I'm sure I've forgotten quite a few tips as well.


Re: Secrets You Learned from Experience??? [Re: Blank] #8150545 02/01/21 12:37 AM
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Cook with someone that likes to clean up.

Re: Secrets You Learned from Experience??? [Re: jetdad] #8150549 02/01/21 12:40 AM
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Originally Posted by jetdad
Cook with someone that likes to clean up.



The best one yet! roflmao

Re: Secrets You Learned from Experience??? [Re: bill oxner] #8150560 02/01/21 12:52 AM
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Originally Posted by bill oxner
Turn the burner off before you leave the kitchen.

Smartest man I've never met..


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Re: Secrets You Learned from Experience??? [Re: NORML as can be] #8150565 02/01/21 12:56 AM
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Originally Posted by NORML as can be
Originally Posted by bill oxner
Turn the burner off before you leave the kitchen.

Smartest man I've never met.



Tell you what, I've got a 14 yr old Niece that's living with me right now and she has a bad habit of cooking something and leaving the burner on (electric stove). I woke up the other morning and found a burner still on from the night before, again. I don't get it. Drives me nuts.

Re: Secrets You Learned from Experience??? [Re: skinnerback] #8150647 02/01/21 01:52 AM
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Originally Posted by skinnerback
Originally Posted by jetdad
Cook with someone that likes to clean up.



The best one yet! roflmao



I hate clean up.


Quail hunting is like walking into, and out of a beautiful painting all day long. Gene Hill


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Re: Secrets You Learned from Experience??? [Re: Thisisbeer] #8150650 02/01/21 01:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Thisisbeer
I always catch crap on this one, but it does work and is a chef trick I learned from one of those high end chefs. When braising meat in the oven wrap the whole pan, minus the lid, in plastic wrap. It creates a pressure cooker affect leading to more tender and juicier meat. If you wrap in plastic wrap and then wrap the plastic in aluminum foil the plastic will not melt. The steam from the food on one side and the foil on the other keep it from melting. Works great for things like lasagna too apparently, but I’ve never tried that.

Another big one is acid and salt. They belong in just about every dish in some form or another. These are seasonings. They make food taste better. They make food taste more like itself. Everything else is considered spices and alters the flavor of the dish. I keep several different vinegars; Apple, champagne, white, wine, citrus, etc. and 3 different kinds of salts. Kosher salt, fine sea salt, and flaky finishing salt.

At Christmas, one of my daughter-in-laws was helping out in the kitchen as I was getting the green beans and a pot of cabbage going. She saw me adding some white vinegar to each of them and asked my why. Now she knows and is adding it to several of her dishes. She was always wondering why my green beans tasted better than hers as she used the same seasoning I did. She just had never seen me add the acid to the mix.
As for learning. When you get married, tell your new bride that the Cast Iron does NOT go in the dishwasher. realmad

Re: Secrets You Learned from Experience??? [Re: bill oxner] #8150742 02/01/21 02:57 AM
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Originally Posted by bill oxner
Turn the burner off before you leave the kitchen.

I have missed that one a time or two

Re: Secrets You Learned from Experience??? [Re: Blank] #8150795 02/01/21 03:40 AM
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Another one. Dehydrating the skin on chicken. If your making a whole chicken or chicken wings. Put them in the fridge so the skin drys out. Crisps up awesome. I put whole chickens in the fridge for 2 days and chicken wings in the fridge for at least a few hours on a wire rack.

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Re: Secrets You Learned from Experience??? [Re: Blank] #8150811 02/01/21 03:57 AM
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Another one too - frying french fries twice. Russet potatoes cut thick (country style) soaked & rinsed, fried the first time at 350 until they float. Then stuck in the freezer until they are almost frozen, then flash fried in 375-400 degree oil turning them golden brown and crispy. Then immediately tossed with salt or your choice of seasoning. Best fries ever. I make mine this way and toss in a little Magic Dust and my family will eat every last one of them.

Re: Secrets You Learned from Experience??? [Re: Blank] #8150834 02/01/21 04:34 AM
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Teach your children how to cook and bake good food. The person they marry may not know how.


Combat Infantryman, the ultimate hunter where the prey shoots back.
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Re: Secrets You Learned from Experience??? [Re: Blank] #8150841 02/01/21 04:49 AM
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These are great, and are some of the things that only come from trial (and error). Nothing worse than fish and shrimp cooked to pure white toughness!! No amount of butter fixes tough meat! There are so many things I wish I had paid attention to as a kid growing up with my Grandma's.

Re: Secrets You Learned from Experience??? [Re: Blank] #8151053 02/01/21 02:31 PM
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Fry the french fries, etc before doing the fish, the shrimp when cooked aren't supposed to touch ends.


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Re: Secrets You Learned from Experience??? [Re: Blank] #8152014 02/02/21 02:59 AM
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Soak your chicken in buttermilk and add a little cornstarch to your flour for breading. Makes excellent crust that way.


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Re: Secrets You Learned from Experience??? [Re: dogcatcher] #8152336 02/02/21 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by dogcatcher
Teach your children how to cook and bake good food. The person they marry may not know how.


This. Dating is SCARY in today's world. Most girls around my age (28) can't cook anything, especially something from scratch.

Re: Secrets You Learned from Experience??? [Re: Blank] #8152350 02/02/21 02:32 PM
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Only use a great quality catsup like Hunts on a fine steak.

Re: Secrets You Learned from Experience??? [Re: Blank] #8152357 02/02/21 02:36 PM
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I use Whataburger catsup.


Quail hunting is like walking into, and out of a beautiful painting all day long. Gene Hill


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Re: Secrets You Learned from Experience??? [Re: Blank] #8152361 02/02/21 02:38 PM
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I learned this -

“Good judgement is the result of experience and experience the result of bad judgement.” -Mark Twain


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