cowboyardee's Profile

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A completely new cooking device

It's possible that this will have some interesting use that I am unable to think of right now.

But it seems relatively limited by its size and design. The precise temperature control probably won't make the kind of difference it does in a sous vide water bath or combi oven, since heat is primarily conducted to food through direct contact with the walls of the device (according to the video). Even some bread (english muffins, perhaps) and many cuts of meat would have a hard time heating evenly due to uneven contact with the walls. And the size and shape will mean that relatively few foods will fit into it in the first place.

If I'm right, that's a lot of money for a novelty item.

about 6 hours ago
cowboyardee in Cookware

If you could have only 1 knife...?

From a practical standpoint, there's very little difference between a big nasty dent/crumble and a big nasty chip. Either way, you've got a hole in your edge, and you have to grind away for a while to fix it.

about 9 hours ago
cowboyardee in Cookware

If you could have only 1 knife...?

You're more or less right in my experience. Minor caveat:

I think it's true as a generalization - harder knives tend to be less tough even at the same edge angles. But as a universal statement it starts falling apart. For one, the relationship between hardness and toughness isn't strictly linear. And the hardness of either Western or Japanese knives can vary anyway. There are some Japanese knives that are relatively tough, and a some Westerns knives that aren't especially.

And of course you're correct that lower edge angles tend to cause more chipping, which is probably the more important factor as function goes.

More to the point, IME softer knives sharpened at low angles often don't chip when they hit something hard - instead the edge dents and sometimes even rips a bit. These dents and tears can be fairly big, too. Thing is, this is just as much of a pain in the ass to fix as a chip is. But since most people just stay with the factory angles on their knives, Western knives are considered more durable and Japanese ones are considered fragile, even though neither has to be the case.

about 10 hours ago
cowboyardee in Cookware

Do you wonder why the Chow site stinks?

It's relatively obvious that Chow.com has been gutted - no videos, no reviews, very few new stories. Almost no new content at all.

The 'bird' is most likely a reference to John Birdsall, who seems to be the only Chow staffer still writing stories that aren't pastiches of Chowhound threads.

I don't know anything about a knife fight or whether it was meant to be taken literally in the first place.

about 10 hours ago
cowboyardee in Site Talk
1

If you could have only 1 knife...?

Since you sharpen:
Japanese knives generally reward those who can sharpen more than American and German knives do - they take a finer edge (lower edge angle), hold their edge longer between sharpenings, and have enough edge retention that sharpening to a relatively fine grit is worth the effort (i.e. a highly polished edge doesn't lose its extreme sharpness as quickly as the same edge would on a softer Western knife). Japanese chef knives are called 'gyutos,' and are very versatile while generally outperforming Western knives in terms of ease of cutting and precision. Their biggest downside is that they are generally more likely to chip when they hit something hard (bone, plates, your floor) - for some people this is a deal-breaker and for others this is a non-issue. I could list a lot of great Japanese knives in your price range if you're interested.

Chinese cleavers can be highly versatile and are also generally quite affordable. The technique and grip to use them is a bit different than with chef knives, but they're just as versatile.

German style knives like Wusthof are durable in that it's tough to seriously damage them. You might also prefer them if you just like a fairly heavy knife or if you like a lot of curve in your blade. Of the German style knives, I tend to prefer ones that don't have a full-length bolster, as the bolster is a minor hindrance in sharpening and also eventually winds up sticking down below the edge, making part of the knife useless until the bolster is ground down. Wusthof Ikon and Messermeister Meridian Elite are good examples, though both are on the pricey side for German knives. If, for whatever reason, a full-length bolster is something you don't mind, you also might want to take a look at the offerings of Mundial and Mercer - they make some traditional German-style knives that are of roughly the same quality as old standbys like the Wusthof Classic and Henckels 4 Star, but at much lower prices.

about 10 hours ago
cowboyardee in Cookware
1

Flagging dilemma -- it's just a recipe.

They're basically a list of ingredients with no instructions or details and a link to a website for the full recipe.

They're clearly spam, and the poster should be banned like any other spammer.

Apr 12, 2014
cowboyardee in Site Talk
4

best technique + knives for trimming chicken thighs?

Keep in mind that any work with meat gets a lot harder if your knives are dull. I don't know if this is a problem for you, but if you're having a hard time trimming meat (chicken, beef, whatever), it's a good point to start at.

Apr 11, 2014
cowboyardee in General Topics

Cookware Board denizens

I think in reality any generalizations about the various cookware board subcultures are going to fall apart when examined closely. Not least because there is a lot of overlap between the various clans, and also plenty of cookware board regulars who post a great deal on other subjects.

But making semi-baseless generalizations is fun anyway.

Apr 11, 2014
cowboyardee in Site Talk
2

What is the best Chef Knife for the Professional?

Best I can tell, laser sharpening is marketing BS. I know of no actual process wherein knives are sharpened by lasers - that would be problematic in a few ways.

Perhaps some manufacturers use lasers to measure the angle of the blade or test for deficiencies, either of which is unnecessary from a functional standpoint but allows the marketing team to make vague and misleading claims about their laser technology. "Laser sharpened" apparently sounds better than "we use a laser pointer superglued to an old protractor in quality control."

Apr 11, 2014
cowboyardee in Cookware

Proper grilling technique for steaks

I say 'generally' because it depends somewhat on whether closing the lid also prevents the fire from getting enough air. Most grills are designed so that it's not a problem when the vents are open, but there may be some exceptions. Ventilation tends to be more of an issue with charcoal than gas, but it's still an issue worth considering if you find your grill isn't getting as hot as you would expect.

Didn't mean to be confusing. Certainly for the vast majority of gas grills, closing the lid makes the air inside hotter.

Apr 10, 2014
cowboyardee in BBQ, Smoking, & Grilling

best technique + knives for trimming chicken thighs?

Scraping is mainly for removing flesh from bone. A knife does not have to be dull for this, though I'd avoid using the most fragile of knives (most knives would be fine). Make an incision along the length of the bone, pry the meat open with your fingers, and then scrape using short quick motions holding the knifes edge a little shy of perpendicular to the bone until the meat is attached to the ends only. Another cut or two at these ends and you've got your fillets.

Fat should just be trimmed off using a sharp knife.

Many knives are up to the task. Most chef knives, boning knives, even fillet knives, paring knives, utility knives, or slicers would work. Generally though, knives that are sturdy and agile are preferred. I use a honesuki, which is a Japanese knife that's especially well suited to chicken. And I keep it sharp. But the technique is more important than which knife you use, and not especially hard to learn. There are some good videos on youtube (Jacques Pepin's, notably).

Apr 10, 2014
cowboyardee in General Topics

Looking to buy a new knife

Some of your issues could be solved by a new knife. But several of them would be better addressed by working on your technique in cutting and/or sharpening.

Your previous knife was a santoku. It features the less pointy tip you mention, and is typically shorter and a bit easier to handle than a chefs knife. Also, Western-made santokus often have the grooves you liked (Japanese-made santokus sometimes do but often don't - though they have other ways to keep sticking to a minimum).

Your issues:

--- You don't like pointy tips because of poking yourself with em.---

There's nothing wrong with buying a santoku (or even a nakiri, which has no point at all) for this reason. However, you would also probably benefit from working on your control while handling a knife, as poking yourself with the point is not a particularly common way to cut yourself while using a knife well. Consider using a pinch grip (or choking forward on the pinch grip you already use) to give you better control while using a knife. Here are a bunch of images:
https://www.google.com/search?q=pinch+grip+knife&rlz=1C1CHFX_enUS567US568&espv=2&es_sm=93&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=G55GU7amL8K0ygHW_IGYCQ&ved=0CAkQ_AUoAg&biw=1366&bih=667

-- The victorinox feels dull, doesn't hold an edge long --

You'll find relatively few knives on the low end of the price scale that really shine in terms of edge retention. Victorinox is nothing special in this regard, but it's certainly not bad for affordable knives either. And in my experience, they sharpen reasonably well. You didn't mention whether or how you sharpen knives. This is a crucial factor that's often far more important than which knives you own. There are a lot of threads on chowhound about sharpening. I could recommend knives that hold an edge for an especially long time or that sharpen especially well, but most are in a higher price range.

---The dimples help food stick to the blade less ---

In most cases, the dimples make a relatively minor difference. It may be enough of a difference to matter to you, but there are other things you can do to help keep food in place and make your cutting more efficient. One thing to try is a draw cut. This is where you put the tip of the knife on the board and pull it through foods (usually vegetables). It minimizes foods sticking to the blade. Here is a video (the draw cut is demonstrated at about 2:25):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pS-mLc1m00
Likewise, with some foods you can use the pointer finger on your off hand to keep the food in place after a cut. Here is a video of that (check out 0:35):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ML5flgorZYc
There are other knives with dimples that work even better and other knives that are shaped in such a way that food sticking is very minimal. Again unfortunately, these are generally more expensive knives.

-- You like the thinness and ease of cutting the victorinox provides --

Yeah, this is a lot of the reason they're well regarded as inexpensive knives go. When sharpened up, they cut pretty well. There are some other relatively inexpensive knives that cut well, but just walking into a target/walmart and hoping to buy one that competes is a losing proposition. Given the preferences you've already stated, I'd suggest just buying the victorinox santoku Tanuki Soup linked to above, and then working on your technique and looking into sharpening solutions. If you want an even cheaper blade, it sounds like you might like some of Rada's offerings. They're light, easy to handle, cheap, and sharpen up well (though the edge retention isn't very good).
http://myknifestore.net/rada-cutlery-...

Apr 10, 2014
cowboyardee in Cookware
2

Proper grilling technique for steaks

IIRC, there is some osmosis, especially in wet brining. But that's not the primary mechanism by which brining preserves moisture. If it worked by pure osmosis, then it would make more sense not to add any salt at all and just submerge meat in water, which would create more osmotic pressure (the water would be more strongly pulled into the meat where there are more dissolved solutes).

Apologies if I'm using any terms incorrectly - it's been a while since I've studied chemistry as well.

Apr 09, 2014
cowboyardee in BBQ, Smoking, & Grilling

Proper grilling technique for steaks

I don't want an apology. You're perpetuating a myth, so I posted a correction. Simple as that. No offense was intended to your ego; I'm only interested in making the truth as clear as possible.

I've read several side by side tests. I've personally performed side by side tests. It is quite evident that you have not.

To reiterate, there's nothing wrong with either method, and you can prefer whichever you like. The statement that salting the night before dries out meat, however... Incorrect. I explained why above.

Do what you like.

eta: my point about the article is that their measurements took place before any significant moisture difference would be noticeable, because salting effects how meat acts when it's cooked. If you want a serious discussion of how to design a test for this and the difficulties thereof, I'm game. But as of right now, you seemed to have disregarded my point entirely.

Apr 09, 2014
cowboyardee in BBQ, Smoking, & Grilling
2

Cookware Board denizens

We sent someone to chat you up and then slipped out while you were distracted. You were animatedly explaining the myriad of ways in which you are similar to a big ol' sloppy hound dog as we snuck by, IIRC. Piece of cake.

Apr 09, 2014
cowboyardee in Site Talk
2

“Authenticity,” he confided to me, “is a bourgeois value posing as an aesthetic one.”

Producing a very good, worthwhile product is not mutually exclusive with profiting, taking pride in one's contributions, or streamlining extra work out of the process. Aiming for 'perfection' is just as fraught with silliness and BS as aiming for authenticity.

Apr 09, 2014
cowboyardee in Food Media & News

Cookware Board denizens

There are a lot of ways you could take this metaphor. I'll go with a Breakfast Club version:

The Le Creuset crowd are clearly personified by Molly Ringwald's Claire. They like everything to be pretty and nice. They collect $150 pots like kids collect pokemon cards (or whatever the hell kids collect now), so they probably have money. If they saw you in the hall while they were with their friends, they might not acknowledge you. And they're probably the only ones who can dance (...kind of).

Cast iron thugs have to be Judd Nelson's John Bender. They're big - better to lift cast iron or.. you know... sand it or some shit. They're surly at times, but that surliness becomes more understandable the more you get to know their circumstances (in lieu of John's poverty and abuse, the cast iron-heads have to deal with answering the only three questions there are to ask about cast iron over and again in perpetuity).

The knife guys are Emilio Estevez's Andy. Distinctly male, aggressive when provoked (or egged on by their friends), probably somewhat less cool than they imagine themselves to be.

The Performance Pan crowd are best represented by Anthony Michael Hall's Brian. Now in truth, several of the cookware subcultures have strong, almost undeniable claims to the Nerd character. So its no small accomplishment by the P. Pan guys to take home that particular crown. Thermal conductivity vs specific heat FTW.

Last but not least (maybe least? Nah...), the Appliance-ophiles are left with Ally Sheedy's Allison. Which is fitting enough. They don't speak up very much, and when they do, sometimes no one responds. And in the end, they get a [kitchen] makeover and are never seen again.

Apr 09, 2014
cowboyardee in Site Talk
3

“Authenticity,” he confided to me, “is a bourgeois value posing as an aesthetic one.”

"The reverse of this is a lack of sincerity, it is the company that cost engineers a dish to make it more profitable i.e. cheddar not mozzarella on a pizza. Or the chef who wants to take short cuts to make life easier, for example the two big pots of sauce in a curry house kitchen that can be turned into as many as 50 different "indian" dishes"
_______
Even this is a relatively tricky line to draw in the sand. If for no other reason than because so many of the foods we think of as traditional were actually just borne of convenience, penny-pinching, and necessity. Cassoulet was most likely a way to use up leftovers and scraps. The duck confit found in the idealized 'authentic' cassoulet - well, ducks and geese render a lot of fat in cooking that had to be used up somehow; the legs are often the least desired parts of the bird; and curing, cooking, and then storing under fat served mainly as long-term storage in the days before refrigerators, with any enhancement of flavor from that process being ancillary.

Apr 09, 2014
cowboyardee in Food Media & News

Proper grilling technique for steaks

Not sort of. Your original statement was still incorrect.

The article you posted was focused on the flavor of the meat, not which method resulted in the least loss of liquid.

The point people were making wasn't that salting well in advance is subjectively better than salting last minute. It's that salting in advance often results in less moisture loss during cooking. The Food & Wine article did not test this, as it weighed the meat before cooking but not after.

The principle is the same as that of brining. Brining doesn't work the way most people think it does, by pulling water into the meat. Rather, it mainly works by altering proteins in the meat to make it less able to contract while cooking, and squeeze out less liquid in the process. It's the salt in the brine that does this, not the water. Turns out you can achieve a similar effect without the water at all.

Prefer whichever you like. But to make it very clear, salting meat the night before does not make it less juicy after cooking. Usually it does the opposite (admittedly, this effect is less noticeable with very rare or very well done meats, and also with extremely even cooking methods such as sous vide).

Apr 09, 2014
cowboyardee in BBQ, Smoking, & Grilling
3

Proper grilling technique for steaks

Preheat a gas grill with the lid closed.

When it's time to cook the steak, either lid on or off both work as long as the fire is vented enough not to cool (which can depend on your grill).

Having the lid off makes it a bit easier to monitor the steaks' progress. Having the lid on generally increases the air temp inside the grill (which is neither good or bad, really unless you've got very thick steaks) and sometimes can enhance some of the smoky favor from the grill. Keep the vents open and try it both ways to see which result you prefer.

Apr 08, 2014
cowboyardee in BBQ, Smoking, & Grilling

Proper grilling technique for steaks

High heat can be fine for steaks. In some cases it's better. Thicker steaks need lower heat than thinner ones. Depends somewhat on the grill too - they vary. Flipping more often than once is also fine as long as the steak releases easily. It results in more even doneness, though at the expense of grill marks in some cases.

Apr 08, 2014
cowboyardee in BBQ, Smoking, & Grilling

The Terrible Tragedy of the Healthy Eater

Learning things is hard, confusing, and time-consuming. And to what end? It's pointless to learn about a subject if there's no way to confirm that you're learning the absolute, unchanging Truth. As such, private learning should be reserved for mathematics and religion (the one true one, of course). Deliberate ignorance is surely the best policy in food and all other subjects.

(joking aside: the article was a reasonably fun read, but I'd hesitate before putting much stock in it as a serious critical viewpoint)

Apr 07, 2014
cowboyardee in Food Media & News
1

Top 100 restaurants

List seems pretty biased to the Western hemisphere, and also to the US specifically. Not that Daniel is a bad restaurant or anything, but when you list it as the second best restaurant in the world, you're making a fairly specific statement about what your criteria are.

Apr 07, 2014
cowboyardee in General Topics

Alan Richman and the Egotarian Chef

Richman is a master of feigned naiveté. Unfortunately, once you spot the the gulf between his cloyingly populist assertions and his relatively sophisticated understanding of food and the restaurant business, it's impossible to take his articles seriously.

Apr 07, 2014
cowboyardee in Food Media & News
1

Addressing people by gender at a restaurant

Sorry deb, you're just wrong on this one.

'Can I help he who is next,' btw.

Here is a clearer example:

Help the person who deserves it most.
vs
Help the person whoM deserves it most.

If you say the above sentences aloud, it's relatively obvious that the latter is awkward, forced, and incorrect. Because 'who' is the subject of its own clause.
(Who deserves it most? He deserves it most. Not 'Him' deserves it most)
This stands in contrast to:
Whom should I help?
or
You should help the person whom you love.

In the first case, 'whom' is the object of 'help,' and not part of a separate clause. And in the latter, 'whom' is the object of its own clause.

**It's worth mentioning that 'whom' is kind of dying out, and using 'who' in all cases is slowly becoming safer in all but the most formal settings anyway.

Apr 05, 2014
cowboyardee in Not About Food

Help turning sauce into powder format

What exactly do you mean by too 'time consuming'? Any way you try to dry a sauce is going to take a while. If your problem is that your process so far has involved too much work on your part, then there might be some easier way - but you'd have to walk us through your process. If the problem is that your sauce is a long time to dry out in the oven or dehydrator ... you're probably outta luck. Any affordable way you try to dry a sauce is going to take a while.

Apr 04, 2014
cowboyardee in Home Cooking

Surprising sodium content foods?

Basically, most processed foodstuffs that are liquid in some form will contain a surprising amount of sodium.

Canned soups, canned vegetables, ready-made sauces, pudding, salad dressings, dips, etc.

In part, this is because of sodium in preservatives. But mainly it's because you need more salt to make a liquid taste similarly salty/balanced when compared to solids that are only salted on their surface.

Apr 04, 2014
cowboyardee in General Topics

Wusthof Nakiri knife

Chem's post is right on.

I'll add that in theory, the dimples on the side of the knife are supposed to keep food from sticking to the blade and make the knife cut a bit more easily through certain foods due to decreased drag on the blade.

In practice, the dimples on a Wusthof nakiri aren't going to make much of a noticeable difference from a knife without dimples. A few knives use these dimples (cullens, hollows, whatever) to more noticeable effect, but these knives have much more dramatic implementation of the design. And some other knives manage to keep food from sticking to them or minimize cutting resistance extremely well just by shaping the knife expertly, and not using dimples at all.

Mar 31, 2014
cowboyardee in Cookware

Wusthof Nakiri knife

Or 'divots,' 'dimples,' 'hollows,' 'scallops,' or perhaps even 'grantons' (though 'granton-edge knife' is more common). One of the problems with buying knives is that the terminology isn't consistent.

Mar 31, 2014
cowboyardee in Cookware

Unisex bathrooms in restaurants

Well said.

For a widely known example, you can catch a bit of this inflection in JFK's Massachusetts-bred speech. Coincidentally, like Shakespeare, JFK was also a fan of obscure but bawdy humor. Famously exemplified by his line "Ich bin ein Berliner" ('berliner,' of course, being a semi-obscure Gaelic term for one's... ahem... member). Or this example - see if you can catch the subtle word play:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVMyY...

On the other hand, only the faintest of old English patterns can still be heard in Tankra's throaty warble, and it might be inadvisable to listen very closely.

Mar 30, 2014
cowboyardee in Not About Food