biggreenmatt's Profile

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Why can't we eat rare chicken?

Nope. But then, I've never tried it.

See where I'm going with this?? :)

1 day ago
biggreenmatt in General Topics

Why can't we eat rare chicken?

If it's tasty and safe to do so, why would you not want to eat anything?

1 day ago
biggreenmatt in General Topics

Why can't we eat rare chicken?

Of further interest: http://tonguecheek.com/2010/05/ask-a-...

I would suspect - suspect, mind you - that rare chicken would be easier and safer to make at home than eat out at a restaurant. At home, you can be sure of surface sanitization, clean knives, clean everything, really. Moreover, you can buy a bird from a local farmer rather than a supermarket and be (more) assured of an increased measure of quality and treatment of a bird.

An alternative to deep-frying a piece of chicken would be to plunge it in boiling water (212F water will still kill all pathogens instantly upon contact), which would be more gentle than 350F oil.

Or so I reason- any professionals or people with food science and/or safety education or training care to chime in?

1 day ago
biggreenmatt in General Topics

Why can't we eat rare chicken?

I hear you. But my question remains unanswered.

From my research, it looks as though the danger is all about cross-contamination, which to my mind sort of confirms my thinking that it's the surface areas that are affected. The inside of a piece of meat isn't and can't be exposed to pathogens, unless something pokes it and brings the outside in.

My scenario: dip a raw chicken breast completely into hot fat at 350F, bringing the outside way over 160F, with the inside raw. Assuming there's no cross-contamination between the fryer and the plate- why isn't the raw chicken safe to eat?

1 day ago
biggreenmatt in General Topics

Why can't we eat rare chicken?

To round off and/or add an exclamation point to the discussion, here's a lovely recipe for chicken tartare, courtesy of Chefsteps.

http://www.chefsteps.com/activities/c...

1 day ago
biggreenmatt in General Topics

Why can't we eat rare chicken?

I'll apologize in advance for the duh of what may be a really, really obvious question.

Various government agencies recommend that consumers cook chicken to 160F internal. The science behind this particular number is that at 160F, pathogens are killed in less than one second. Personally, I cook my chicken to 150-155F internal and let it rest for a bit (pathogens dead in 5 minutes or so), because I don't like overcooked chicken.

The concern is pathogens associated with chickens. Who knows how they were treated in life? Who knows how cleanly they were killed? Who knows whether the intestines, where most of the pathogenic baddies live, were removed cleanly? Who knows if there was any cross-contamination in the slaughterhouse?

Ground beef follows the same rules- because bacteria might be on the outside of the beef and the grinding process turns the insides out, you want to make sure all pathogens are dead- 160F is also recommended.

Rare, even black-and-blue steak, however, is fine. Any pathogens on the outside are mercilessly murdered in the grilling process (the beautiful brown crust that forms on the steak is well north of 160F), and absent some kind of poking mechanism (i.e.: a jaccard treatment), the outside pathogens can't get in.

So riddle me this: why isn't it okay to eat rare chicken, seared on the outside. Set aside any imperfect prep or technique- if I went out and deep fried a plain chicken breast (i.e.: submerge in 350F oil) for a minute or two, the outside will be way hotter than 160F, while the inside will be rare if not raw. Why isn't that safe?

How do pathogens get inside (as opposed to on) chicken meat and make the idea of rare, medium rare or raw chicken, properly prepared, unsafe?

1 day ago
biggreenmatt in General Topics

GRILLING - CLOSED OR OPEN LID?

I do now! :)

Jul 28, 2014
biggreenmatt in BBQ, Smoking, & Grilling

GRILLING - CLOSED OR OPEN LID?

I would also add something intelligent about the differences between cooking by way of radiant heat versus convective heat, and how depending on what you want to do with your product, you'll want the lid open or shut.

Fortunately, I don't need to be intelligent, since someone else has kindly been intelligent for me! http://amazingribs.com/tips_and_techn...

Jul 28, 2014
biggreenmatt in BBQ, Smoking, & Grilling

GRILLING - CLOSED OR OPEN LID?

Ahem.

The point is, quite reasonably, I think, that every tool has a purpose. A screwdriver isn't going to do the job if you need to pound something in, though excellent at putting screws in wood. A hammer is useless if you need to cut something.

Lid on or lid off- one isn't better than the other. It all depends on what you're doing. Grilling a 2" tomahawk steak at 350F on a BGE will call for something very different than grilling a kebob at 500F on a Broil King.

I think it's fair to say that "which is better" is necessarily dependent on what you're trying to do, with what, on what. Not trying to be insulting- just pointing out that the answer to the question is 100% context-dependent.

Jul 28, 2014
biggreenmatt in BBQ, Smoking, & Grilling

GRILLING - CLOSED OR OPEN LID?

Yup. Lid v. no lid is a ridiculous question. Different techniques, times, and temps for different applications.

Know the differences and plan accordingly.

Jul 25, 2014
biggreenmatt in BBQ, Smoking, & Grilling
1

Traditional Quebec recipes

Looks like you left out Montreal smoke meat.

Lemme give you a hand: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/794033.

Jul 24, 2014
biggreenmatt in Home Cooking
1

Is grinding black pepper part of your mise en place?

For seasoning at the table, I grind.

For cooking, frankly, I can't be assed. Also, when you're using a bunch of it, it's more difficult to judge how much you're using by numbers of grinds, as opposed to spoon- or eyeball-measurements of ground stuff.

I think the issue with buying pre-ground stuff is freshness- you don't know whether it's been sitting around for weeks, months, or years. Simple solution. I throw a handful of peppercorns into my spice mill and keep it on hand in a little jar. When the jar finishes, every month or so, I grind more. That way it's convenient to use but I know it's still nice and fresh.

Jul 15, 2014
biggreenmatt in Home Cooking
1

Is there anything I can do with over cooked steak?

I was turned on to the concept of the "board sauce" a month or two ago, and given that my favourite steaks tend to be slicing steaks, I've become an immense fan.

Board sauces are kind of a cowboy version of chimichurri or pesto, and given the oil content, they're immensely good with overcooked steak, adding tenderness back into the meat. Lord help you if you use it at first-instance when the meat comes off the grill- you'll never ever go back.

http://amazingribs.com/recipes/other_...

Jul 15, 2014
biggreenmatt in Home Cooking

Why boil brats?

Gotcha. My personal preference is for more charcoal smoke flavour, but in no way would I dare malign the Traditional Wisconsonian Method! :)

Jul 15, 2014
biggreenmatt in Home Cooking

Why boil brats?

Indirect, gentle cooking heat, I think, would be the grilltop solution.

Jul 15, 2014
biggreenmatt in Home Cooking

First date - Need a recommendation where to go tommorow

Weezie's at King/Church is a date favourite. Excellent bistro kitchen, intelligent and reasonably-priced wine list, beautiful, dark, candlelit, intimate room. Plus there's the surprise factor since no-one's ever heard of it.

+1 too on Ascari, above, though it's in the east end which might make it a little annoying to get to. The nice thing about Ascari is that either before or afterwards, you can make a pit stop into Goods and Provisions, what may be the best date-oriented cocktail bar in town.

Jul 15, 2014
biggreenmatt in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Why boil brats?

Not to split hairs, but I don't get something.

Temperature of boiling water is 212F. Boil sausage for X minutes (until "done") and you've got an internal temp of anywhere from 190-210F, give or take.

USDA recommends that ground pork be cooked to 160F- but that's way high. Why? Because at 160F internal pathogens inside the sausage are killed in less than a second. At something like 150F internal, internal pathogens are killed in a matter of minutes (for full particulars of the pathogen death rates, see any decent sous vide website).

So the question is begged: why do people wilfully and intentionally massively overcook their sausages- either by boiling or by grilling?

Seems to me a better way to cook sausage might be to zing it up to 150Fish, either over indirect heat on a grill or by way of poaching, and then to crisp up the beautiful casing over a very hot flame grill.

Would it be blaspheme to suggest that the most important sausage-cooking tool that no-one ever uses would be a digital thermometer, inserted horizontally into the end of the meat?

Jul 15, 2014
biggreenmatt in Home Cooking

Brisket: to foil or not to foil

In my particular case, always a crowd.

I'm gearing up to smoke a full packer this weekend for a deck-warming party we're throwing. Counting on 50-some-odd people coming by the house for dinner, and along with homemade sausage and fish tacos (for the less carnivorously-inclined), the brisket's going to be the Texas BBQ centerpiece.

Thinking that 18 hours for a full packer at 225-250 should be more than enough time on the smoker, which means an overnight smoke. If it's going slow, I can crutch; if it's going fast, I can hold it in a false cambro. Trying to work out the sweet spot of when to put the damn thing on.

Good times, good times!

Jul 14, 2014
biggreenmatt in BBQ, Smoking, & Grilling

Whale Recipes/Applications - not a joke

This line of inquiry gets put into the "don't see that every day" pile- promise I'm not trolling.

I have a buddy of mine who lives and works up in Inuvik, up in the Canadian High Arctic, and is bringing back the better part of 10 pounds of whale meat- narwhal, to be specific. The meat is without skin or blubber, and is very lean, but oily, with a beefy texture (makes sense- whale is a mammal) and taste, but gamey (he used the term "liver-y") and a little bit fishy. It's coming into town frozen. Obvs.

I've started my research into culinary traditions that use whale meat to figure out what the heck to do with it- obviously Inuit, Scandinavian, Basque and Japanese are the ones that keep coming up. I'm also thinking that more traditional applications that use very lean meat (carpaccio, tartare, robata/yakitori, hell, even curing along lonza lines) would be appropriate.

If anyone has any non astonished-slash-humourous insights, tips, or ideas, or, god forbid, anyone has cooked with the stuff before, I'd be grateful to hear what you have to say.

Oh, and before I get outraged replies or emails about commercial fisheries indiscriminately killing whales and what a bad person I am for encouraging it, this particular beast was wild (free range AND organic!) and was hunted by members of the Inuit community. The vast majority of the beast will be used as any properly-hunted animal would: to feed families during the long (very long) winter, in a community that can't conveniently run to the supermarket and buy tidy pre-cut, shrink-wrapped packages of skinless & boneless chicken breast, or x-tra lean pre-formed lite hamburgers. The fact that I'm getting some is an after-thought, and I respect the hunted animal enough to make a thought-out, reasoned inquiry to a cooking and culinary community on how to best to cook and make use of it.

Thanks in advance, all.

Jul 14, 2014
biggreenmatt in Home Cooking

Brisket: to foil or not to foil

I also love, by the by, that I used the words and phrases "sine qua non" and "school of thought" in reference to barbecue.

I've got a culinary background and play with kitchen toys, and because of it, it took me a long time to get my barbecue right. I tried, initially, to use high-minded tricks and techniques, before coming to the realization that the best barbecue, Championship Barbecue (capital letters), is made by people with no teeth, no "culinary education" and no high-minded ideas about cooking. This is not an insult- not in the slightest. Just a SMH that the two primary (dare I say "only"?) tools you need to make good Southern barbecue is time and temp. Just that.

I wax both poetic and philosophical when I talk about barbecue, but I flatter myself to think that when I do it, I do it with a smile on my face and a poke in my own eye.

Jul 11, 2014
biggreenmatt in BBQ, Smoking, & Grilling

Brisket: to foil or not to foil

Mm. I'm sort of along the same lines, but am continually torn by a terrible, terrible choice when I make briskets.

Insofar as a Jewish Canadian lad can have a "school of thought" when it comes to smoked brisket, despite having never so much as stepped into the Lone Star State, I tend to gravitate towards the Texas school of thought when it comes to brisket. The meat needs to shine through on its own. Strictly salt and pepper "rub", no sauce applied to the meat (although a good sauce is non-negotiable for dipping, afterwards), sliced, not pulled or cut into chunks, and ideally, no crutch.

My only issue (and it's a serious one) is that I lust, lust, lust after burnt ends. For me it's the sine qua non of barbecue. Problem is that once I remove the point for extra smoking, the bark on the flat is, to coin a phrase, fucked- and I love me my bark.

What a cruel, cruel world we live in to make one have to choose between glorious burnt ends and a proper crusty brisket.

Damn you, physics and/or thermodynamics!

Jul 11, 2014
biggreenmatt in BBQ, Smoking, & Grilling

What favorite food is such a labor of love, time, technique or even money that rarely make it but when you do…

One day, when you have some time on your hands, you may want to reconsider and try making schmaltz if you cook eastern-European jewish food even on an irregular basis.

Chicken fat is an astounding thing to work with. It's the secret to my matzo balls and chopped liver, unbelievably fantastic with potatoes, so simple to make it's ridiculous, and you can usually go to your butcher and get chicken skin for rendering for either nothing or virtually nothing.

Try it some day. You'll be amazed.

Jul 10, 2014
biggreenmatt in Home Cooking
1

Marvel Coffee. Co (Donlands TTC)

7:00 am.

Jul 10, 2014
biggreenmatt in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Marvel Coffee. Co (Donlands TTC)

Went yesterday. Nice, but unimpressive.

I'll stick to my Americano at the Only, thanks.

Jul 09, 2014
biggreenmatt in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Brisket: to foil or not to foil

Back to the crutch discussion.

Assuming that one wanted to use the crutch, is it fair to say that you employ it when you hit the stall (about 150F internal) and then keep it crutched until 190-195F, uncrutching it for the last, what, hour or two, to let the bark re-form?

From when to when is the crutch used?

Jul 07, 2014
biggreenmatt in BBQ, Smoking, & Grilling

I just bought a whipper :)

There's a ton of things you can do with a whipper, from carbonated fruit to instant infusions/marinades to plain old whipping cream.

The best resource I can think of is Modernist Cuisine at Home (cheaper and more practical than the six-volume door-stopper Modernist Cuisine), which is a beautiful book and has improved my personal techniques immensely.

In lieu of that, you might want to take a gander at Chefsteps, a modernist cuisine tutorial website which teaches a "course" on how to use your syphon: https://www.chefsteps.com/classes/whi...

Jul 07, 2014
biggreenmatt in Home Cooking
1

making montreal smoked meat at home

I go to Walmart and pick up their XL and XXL ziplock storage bags.

Do they say "food safe"? No. Can I imagine that there's any difference between the food safe stuff and the non? No.

Jul 03, 2014
biggreenmatt in BBQ, Smoking, & Grilling

making montreal smoked meat at home

God I wish my French was better; your English is far superior to my French.

No marinade or liquid brining- it's a dry-cure, which will leach moisture out of the meat, requiring the pan. Also, it goes into a gigantic plastic ziploc bag, not wrapped in plastic-wrap.

Good luck!

Jul 02, 2014
biggreenmatt in BBQ, Smoking, & Grilling

Smoking my first Beef Tongue

I think you've got it right. Only issue I'd mind is keeping an eye on the temp so you don't overcook it, especially with a smaller-sized tongue.

Cross-reference to this thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/565371.

Jun 30, 2014
biggreenmatt in BBQ, Smoking, & Grilling

Smoking my first brisket

Nope.

First, you're going to want to read this and take copious notes: http://amazingribs.com/recipes/beef/t.... If there's a better or more comprehensive resource for smoking brisket, I don't know what it is.

Second, to turn back to your question, may I be so bold to suggest that you want neither a big thick fat cap nor bacon on your brisket. Why? First off, the fat will not "baste" or "keep moist" the brisket. At the very, most optimistic most, it'll render a little and coat the remainder of the brisket which will result in some "frying" of the outside. While marginally awesome, a thick fat cap may still remain not completely rendered at the end of the smoke, and bacon will just be pieces of dried pig on beef.

Better to cut most of the fat off and/or leave it the hell alone so that you don't interfere with creating the majesty of the brisket that is its bark. In the same way that I would never put bacon on turkey on account that the best part is the crispy, golden, blissfully rendered skin, I would never do anything that gets in the way of the crunchy, crispy, caramelized bark, and most especially, the sine qua non of Kansas City barbecue, the blackened, candied, etherial gift to man known as burnt ends.

So my advice: leave your brisket the hell alone! Don't overthink it! Low and slow! You'll do great!

Jun 27, 2014
biggreenmatt in BBQ, Smoking, & Grilling