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Where can I buy chicken skin by itself?

Great. Thanks. I'll look into it.

Apr 29, 2013
damian in San Francisco Bay Area

Where can I buy chicken skin by itself?

Thank you so much. I'll check them out!

Apr 29, 2013
damian in San Francisco Bay Area

Where can I buy chicken skin by itself?

Ah, thanks. I see it now. Do you know if you have to be a caterer or restauranteur to buy from their wholesale location?

Apr 28, 2013
damian in San Francisco Bay Area

Where can I buy chicken skin by itself?

Thanks. I just searched for schmaltz, and I'm already getting some suggestions about where to buy chicken skins.

Apr 28, 2013
damian in San Francisco Bay Area

Where can I buy chicken skin by itself?

Thanks. Good suggestion. It's too bad I no longer live in Berkeley, but perhaps I'll check them out next time I'm in the area!

Apr 28, 2013
damian in San Francisco Bay Area

Where can I buy chicken skin by itself?

Thanks. I assume you're referring to the retail store at the Ferry Building, yes? Any idea on the price? If not, no big deal—I can call them to ask.

Apr 28, 2013
damian in San Francisco Bay Area

Where can I buy chicken skin by itself?

Thanks. I'll check around!

Apr 28, 2013
damian in San Francisco Bay Area

Where can I buy chicken skin by itself?

Any ideas? I live in Hayward, but am willing to travel a bit, if necessary.

Obviously, I can buy whole chickens or chicken parts, but that's not an affordable way to get the skins by themselves, which I intend to grill (as I enjoyed recently in a Japanese restaurant).

Since skinless chicken is so popular nowadays, there must be quite a bit of skin that is removed before the skinless chicken parts are sold—what happens to that skin?

I've tried a bunch of local markets, including Asian supermarkets, as well as standalone butchers, and so far, no luck.

If anyone knows of a poultry processing plant in Bay Area (preferably the East Bay), perhaps they could help me out. I know Petaluma is the place to be for chicken—the drive is an hour from Hayward, which I'd rather not do, but perhaps I will if that's the only option.

Apr 27, 2013
damian in San Francisco Bay Area

Steaming Frozen Shrimp: Thaw First or Cook from Frozen?

I never plan ahead enough to defrost in the fridge. The choices are to thaw under running water, or steam from frozen. Which tastes better, in your experience?

Bonus question: For thawing under running water, is it better to put them in a ziploc and remove the air, or just throw them directly in the bowl? I'm concerned about water-logging the shrimp and washing out some flavor, but I also don't want it to take forever. Can I speed it up with warm or luke-warm water, if I cook them immediately after?

Nov 12, 2012
damian in Home Cooking

Where to buy unpeeled green coconuts?

Faster method: Buy a cheap vegetable cleaver from Chinatown. Chop the top 3 times, to create a triangle. Pull out the lid and you're done. May take practice to get a good triangle.

Jun 22, 2012
damian in San Francisco Bay Area

Where to buy unpeeled green coconuts?

I haven't found any new information since I last posted. I suggest you read through the thread to see your various options, if you haven't already.

Jun 22, 2012
damian in San Francisco Bay Area

How to grill super-fatty meats without over- or undercooking?

Grilling with the lid on seems to be the theme here. I always prefer to grill with the lid off, to heighten the heat and have more control over the food, but it sounds like I need to start cooking with the lid on to reduce flare-ups. I'll give it a try.

May 18, 2012
damian in Home Cooking

How to grill super-fatty meats without over- or undercooking?

Makes sense. Thanks. I'll put it on my list of things to try.

May 18, 2012
damian in Home Cooking

How to grill super-fatty meats without over- or undercooking?

Very clever. Thanks. Perhaps I'll give it a try.

May 18, 2012
damian in Home Cooking

How to grill super-fatty meats without over- or undercooking?

That sounds pretty cool (no pun intended), but don't the coals burn the meat, isn't there always going to be some ashes left on the coals, and isn't it difficult to cook evenly because the coals don't create a smooth surface?

I can see why this would work with skirt steak, because skirt steak is *much* leaner than pork belly and short ribs, but I'm concerned that this would create enormous flare-ups with fatty cuts of meat.

May 18, 2012
damian in Home Cooking

How to grill super-fatty meats without over- or undercooking?

Thank you. This is very helpful. I'll give it a try.

May 18, 2012
damian in Home Cooking

How to grill super-fatty meats without over- or undercooking?

To answer your question re recommendations on preparation and seasoning:

Personally, I use zero seasoning. As I said before, that's just due to my personal food intolerances and caveman philosophy. This makes cooking it to palatability much more challenging, but not impossible. On the rare instances in which I haven't burned or undercooked short ribs and pork belly, I've had some of the most delicious meals I've ever eaten simply by grilling, salting, and eating.

If you're interested in seasoning and marinating, look up Korean recipes. The Koreans really are the experts on grilling short ribs and pork belly, in my opinion. Note that Koreans also frequently cook short ribs and pork belly without seasoning or marination, as far as I know, and then eat them with a dipping sauce.

The cutting method is also important. I've tried many different ways of cutting short ribs, and my current favorite is called flanken cut, Korean-style, or LA-style. Basically, the cut is through the bone into ~1/4 inch slices. The traditional Korean cut in Korea is different, but in Los Angeles, a number of years ago, from what I've heard, Korean-Americans started cutting it this way with a band saw, which is why it is called "Korean style" in the United States in general, and "LA style" within the Korean community. The advantages to this cut are (1) it is the easiest way to get it thin, if your butcher will do it for you, and (2) cutting against the "grain" of the meat this way (i.e., through the fibers) makes it much more tender than cutting with the grain. Alternatively, if you have a Korean market in your area, you may be able to find paper-thin frozen short ribs, either bone-in or boneless, which I've found cooks even better, but may be lower quality meat than what you can find from your local butcher (especially if you eat grass-fed, like me).

As for pork belly, it's simple: Just buy a hunk, remove the skin, and cut it into strips like bacon. Or, better yet, ask the butcher to do all that for you :)

May 18, 2012
damian in Home Cooking

How to grill super-fatty meats without over- or undercooking?

Thanks for clarifying. I'll give that a try.

May 18, 2012
damian in Home Cooking

How to grill super-fatty meats without over- or undercooking?

I'm using a Weber Kettle too. I'll give your tips a try. Thanks!

May 18, 2012
damian in Home Cooking

How to grill super-fatty meats without over- or undercooking?

Good idea! Thanks! I'll plan to give it a try!

May 18, 2012
damian in Home Cooking

How to grill super-fatty meats without over- or undercooking?

Good idea. Thanks. Someone else suggested cooking it over a drip pan to the side of coals to start, then finishing it over the coals, which would serve the same purpose. Not sure if that will reduce flare-ups enough, but it's worth a shot!

May 18, 2012
damian in Home Cooking

How to grill super-fatty meats without over- or undercooking?

I have been to Korean BBQ, but I don't remember flare-ups being such a problem, for perhaps a couple of reasons:

1. I've been to Korean BBQ that uses charcoal and Korean BBQ that uses natural gas. For the latter, they had specially designed dome-shaped grids that drained most of the fat away from the flame. I don't know whether it would be possible to get a grid like that for charcoal, though that may be something I ought to look into.

2. Korean BBQ often (but not always) uses marinades. And even when it doesn't use marinades, it often uses paper-thin cuts of meat, which requires freezing and an electric meat slicer. Since I'm using fresh grass-fed meat and pasture-raised pork, and I'm not interested in freezing it and buying and using an expensive meat slicer, I can't get it that thin. And due to dietary intolerances and my caveman philosophy, I don't use marinades.

The marinades may not stop the flare-ups, but the flavors and antioxidants in the marinades may cover up the burnt or sooty parts of the meat.

And the thinness of many Korean BBQ meats may minimize the fat, and hence the flare-ups as well. Plus, super-thin meat cooks extremely quickly and is therefore less vulnerable to flare-ups.

As for the Japanese, they have ishi-yaki, hot stone grilling. Since I'm not willing to use marinades or cut meat paper-thin, ishi-yaki may be my best bet (I just ordered a stone in the mail, and I'm looking forward to trying it).

May 17, 2012
damian in Home Cooking

How to grill super-fatty meats without over- or undercooking?

Thanks. You might be right. Perhaps I'll give the method you suggest a try, though I'd also be interested in hearing from someone who's actually tried this or another technique to successfully grill super-fatty meat.

I also just bought myself a grilling stone (ishi-yaki, in Japanese). Hopefully, that will work well.

May 17, 2012
damian in Home Cooking

How to grill super-fatty meats without over- or undercooking?

It's a good idea, but I'd have to raise it four feet above the grill to avoid the ginormous flare-ups, in which case I wouldn't get enough heat to brown the food. I'll have to find another solution!

May 17, 2012
damian in Home Cooking

How to grill super-fatty meats without over- or undercooking?

That sounds great, in theory, but in my experience, the flare-ups start within seconds of putting the meat over the coals. Keep in mind that pork belly and short ribs are *extremely* fatty, so the fat starts dripping in copious amounts very, very quickly. I expect this would happen even if I start cooking them over indirect heat, but perhaps I'm wrong.

Have you actually tried this successfully with pork bellies or short ribs, or are you just brainstorming here?

May 17, 2012
damian in Home Cooking

How to grill super-fatty meats without over- or undercooking?

Hi Todao,

Good suggestions. But I don't think any of them are right for me:

> Letting the meat rest on a sheet of aluminum foil as it cooks might work.

I'm looking for charcoal flavor. If I cook on foil, I might as well cook on the stove. Plus, aluminum is toxic, so I try to keep it away from my food.

> Cut as much of the fat from the meat as possible before grilling.

In my case, that defeats the purpose. What makes pork belly and short ribs taste so great is the fat.

> Arrange the fatty meat on a grate that parallels the coals instead of being directly over them.

Tried it. No matter how hot the coals are or how many coals I use, there's just not enough heat this way to properly brown the meat.

> Cover the coals with a heavy grill or grate. Set the grill at an angle so the fat falls away from the hot coals.

By "grill or grate," I assume you mean a griddle, or a non- or minimally perforated piece of metal. That's not a bad idea, but I'm concerned it would diminish or eliminate the charcoal flavor. Plus, setting it up just right could be a major operation.

>Use a higher grade of charcoal (not that stuff in a bag from the home improvement center).

I use 100% natural high-quality lump charcoal only.

>Or an electric grill.

Goes against my caveman philosophy, and my desire for charcoal flavor.

May 17, 2012
damian in Home Cooking

How to grill super-fatty meats without over- or undercooking?

I'm pretty good at grilling steak and seafood, but I have a lot of trouble grilling two of my favorite meats—pork belly and beef short ribs—which happen to be two of the fattiest meats on the planet.

The problem is flare-ups. The flare-ups burn the meat and deposit bitter soot.

I cook over lump charcoal. If I cook over the coals, I get the flare-ups. If I cook to the side of the coals, the meat doesn't get fully browned, because it doesn't get hot enough. Even if I put coals on one half of the grill and a drip pan on the other half, and move the meat to the cool side as soon as the flare-ups start, it's still too late: the meat gets burnt and sooty no matter how quickly I move it away from the flare-ups.

I imagine that there must be some technique or, more likely, equipment that will drain the fat away from the coals but still allow the meat to get heated by the coals. Yes?

I imagine the Koreans or Japanese have some good solutions to this vexing problem. Maybe Japanese ishi-yaki (hot stone grilling) is the way to go, if I want to cook as caveman as possible?

Notes:

1. I don't use marinades, seasonings, bastes, brines, glazes, etc. due to various food intolerances I have and my caveman philosophy. I just throw the meat on the grill, cook it, salt it, and eat it. I don't know whether such adulteration would help, in any way, but regardless, those are steps I'm not comfortable taking.

2. I know some people advise using a spray bottle with water to control flare-ups, but my research and experience suggest that that is not a good idea, for various reasons (e.g., spreading the grease, smothering the fire, limited effectiveness).

3. I imagine someone might suggest using the broiler instead of the grill. This isn't a solution for me because charcoal grilling is my passion, and besides, I don't even own (or want to own) a gas broiler, and my electric broiler sucks.

May 17, 2012
damian in Home Cooking

Best Way to Thaw Frozen Shrimp

Is it better to put the shrimp in a ziploc bag and suck out the air before defrosting under running water, or not? I've read that this is the case with peeled shrimp, because otherwise the water washes away the shrimp's flavor. Is this true? Is it also true for unpeeled shrimp? Also, sans bag, does the shrimp get at all water-logged? I'm planning to grill, so I want to minimize moisture as much as possible to maximize browning.

May 03, 2012
damian in Home Cooking

BBQ'ing oysters

Thank! I am REALLY into oysters, so perhaps I'll check that book out!

Mar 17, 2012
damian in Home Cooking

BBQ'ing oysters

Brilliant explanation! Thank you :)

Mar 16, 2012
damian in Home Cooking