Culinary no-no #655

Culinary no-no began on Father’s Day 2007, a beautiful summer day, when I wrote about grilling brats. And eating brats. And topping those brats. I was inspired by my wife, Jennifer who, in my admittedly unscientific opinion, ruins brats by squirting ketchup on them. Other dining taboos quickly came to mind. The original idea was to take this concept only a few months, till the end of summer and then pull the plug. Then the unexpected happened. People started reading Culinary no-no. Lots of folks. So we keep doing the no-no.

Bacon-wrapped filets. Shish kabobs. Hamburgers. Cod. Italian sausages. Brat patties.

Within the past 10 days or so I’ve cooked them all outside.

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I think I do a pretty good job. Jennifer and Kyla never complain.

But according to some experts, with some dishes, I could be using better techniques.

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This was named one of the “100 Best Cookbooks of All Time” by Southern Living magazine.

Meathead Goldwyn (his real name) says, “My interest in cooking began when I was about 10 and Mom and Dad opened a restaurant and I got to be a real jerk, a soda jerk. They named the place after a beautiful flower, the Oleander. We later learned it was poisonous, and eventually the restaurant failed. If you ever hear that I’m opening a restaurant, hunt me down and shoot me.”

The co-author, Greg Blonder is an engineering professor at Boston University.

Blonder submits the biggest mistake grillers make is their refusal to use a meat thermometer.

“One of the really big [myths] is that real men don’t use thermometers,” Blonder said. “That’s all just blatant nonsense.”

And what happens then? Those big tough guys overdo and ruin dinner.

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Another suggestion  according to Blonder: Grillers need to brine their steak overnight, even for 24 hours if the cut is larger.

“You’ll see chefs throwing some salt on the meat right before they throw it on the grill,” said Blonder. That’s nowhere near enough time, Blonder contends, for the salt to sink into the meat.

Going for those black grill marks? Wrong says Blonder who cooks meat in an oily pan on the grills. Claims it tastes better even if it doesn’t look as cool.

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Steven Raichlen is a multi-award-winning author, journalist, lecturer, and TV host who developed the grilling method known as  “caveman” or “cowboy.”  Celebrity chef Alton Brown is an advocate. He’ll demonstrate here with some skirt steak.

What does Greg Blonder think about that?

“It’s not crazy. But the problem is, it only takes one bite of off flavor to kind of ruin the steak and I don’t think that’s a good risk to take.”


“It’s a great thing to show your guests,” said Blonder.

And finally, Blonder offers this no-no. Lighter fluid. The fear is that your food will have too much of a fluid taste.

“Jesus Christ, that’s a crime against nature. Even if that’s what your dad taught you, said Blonder.

Final note: I don’t use a thermometer. After all these years I think I’m a fair enough barometer to know how to avoid destruction. I highly recommend buying a cheap (less than $10) hand-held stopwatch. You’ll never be in doubt as to when to flip that burger.


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What happens when you give up caffeine

ICYMI, Culinary no-no #654


One thought on “Culinary no-no #655

  1. Pingback: Culinary no-no #656 | This Just In… From Franklin, WI

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