To Wash or Not to Wash?

Washing Raw Chicken

Growing up working in restaurant kitchens, one of the (many) unwritten laws was that as soon as raw chicken arrived, it was unpackaged, inspected and counted, rinsed, dried, trimmed as needed, repackaged according to dish, labeled, and tucked into the walk-in.

Finally, the sink, station, boards, knives, etc., were immediately scrubbed down with santizer and rinsed.

I’ve done this exact process with hundreds of thousands of pieces of chicken.

Apparently, at least according to the CDC, we were all doing it wrong…

should I rinse raw chicken?
In this article on the Cooking Light website, the CDC goes on to say:

“The logic behind washing your raw chicken is clear: You don’t want to get food poisoning. But washing your chicken before cooking it might do more harm than good. If you place your raw chicken in the sink to wash it, for example, bacteria that have contaminated the chicken could get transferred to the sink and any other utensils in the sink. If you then use one of those utensils, you could get food poisoning from the indirect contact you made with the raw chicken.”

“During washing, chicken juices can spread in the kitchen and contaminate other food, utensils, and countertops,” the CDC explains.

While I don’t necessesarily disagree with this statement, my concern is that one of the fundamental rules of kitchen safety is being ignored by simply making the prolem go away. When following proper kitchen procedure, the risk of cross-contamination is little to none, while working with unwashed raw chicken directly before cooking carries a far greater risk of it.

is washing chicken bad

During cooking, when our attention is already often divided, does handling raw, unwashed chicken increases the risk of contamination knives, utensils, pan handles, container and lids,  sink handles, etc., far more than at a dedicated food-washing station with our sole attention?

When workingshould I wash raw chicken? with raw meat, especially poultry, everything the meat or juices touch, including counter-tops and floors, needs to be cleaned with either a commercial santiizer or a bleach solution.

Is the CDC’s suggestion safer…or just easier?

Tell me what you think…

~Chef Perry

Frugal Fine Cooking

 

Frugal Bulk Food Storage

Frugal Bulk Food Storage Ideas

Hey all,

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Okay, so we’ve been trying to pinch some pennies around the ol’ TeamPerk clubhouse. I may or may not have recently totaled our car, and the new one hit the savings account pretty hard. Ugh.

So, we’re tightening the belt on the budget…which was already pretty darn tight!

One way we’ve found to do so is to start buying a lot of out “staples” in bulk. (Usually on red-eye trips to Winco to avoid the horrible crowds…)

The only problem for me, as the cook, was that I ended up with a dozen plastic bags of stuff (rice, oatmeal, couscous, beans, etc.,) all piled together on a shelf.

NOT a fan!

Luckily, I also shop at Costco for a few items, milk being one of them. Now, to be honest, I hate the new milk containers when it comes to pouring milk. And usually end up grumbling as I wipe up spills at least half the time.

However, I also discovered that those new milk jugs happen to fit perfectly on the shelf that I keep the bulk foods on…

The following recycle project was born!

DIY Bulk Food Storage

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STEP ONE:

Wash the empty jug with soap and water. Allow it to air dry for a couple of days. (Btw, the label is very easy to remove when the jug is full of hot water.)

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STEP TWO:

Take the “recipe card” (these are usually in a rack on each bulk food aisle) and tape it securely to the front of the jug. I used packing tape and covered the whole label. That way it remains water, stain, and wear proof.

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As an added bonus, I’ve found that it’s REALLY easy to pour the contents into a measuring cup! (As demonstrated here by my lovely assistant.)

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That’s it!

All my bulk foods can be stacked side by side for easy access, and easily refilled. If you wanted to be REALLY picky, you could fill the container a cup at a time and make hash-marks on the side. That way, you’ll know how much you’re using on a weekly/monthly basis.

Also, I’ve got my recipe right there with the food and never have to go find it!

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!

Plus, given the truckloads of milk my daughter goes through, I always have a ready supply. And a little more room in the recycle bin each week is nice, too.

NOTE: If you need smaller containers and need to optimize your space, the plastic ½ gallon milk containers are shaped just like this and take up a lot less room.

Now, if I can just figure out how to sell a totaled car…

~Chef P

PS ~ For more great tips on bulk foods, check out my post: “Confessions of a Grocery Ninja“, and my Oregonian article on shopping the bulk foods aisles!

Frugal Fine Cooking

 

5 Classic Regional BBQ Sauces

traditional bbq sauce recipes

 

Traditional BBQ Sauce RecipesIn BBQ and grilling, sauces are used to flavor, marinade, glaze, and as a condiment or topping for seared and smoked meats, especially ribs and chicken.

History places the origin of BBQ sauce to the first American colonies of the 17th century and can be found in recipes and cookbooks (both English and French) over the following two centuries.

Much like chili in Texas, these sauces were less about gourmet ambitions, and  more about masking the often off-putting odors and flavors of “aged” meat in a pre-refrigeration society.

The origins of these sauces isn’t particularly complicated, take the traditional tastes and flavors of the predominate immigrant population, add in the most similar ingredients that could be found locally, and mix with some good old American ingenuity, and you have the roots of a tradition that has only grown stronger and more popular over the last two centuries.

South Carolina mustard sauce, for example, can be traced to that region’s German settlers of the early 18th century

Ingredients vary widely even within states and counties of the American South, but most include a base of vinegar, tomato paste, or mayonnaise (or a combination). Liquid smoke, and spices like paprika, mustard and black pepper, and sweeteners such as sugar and molasses typically round of the recipes.

Here are five of my personal favorites…

Eastern Carolina Sauce recipeThis & Tangy Eastern North Carolina BBQ Sauce (my favorite)

  • 1 Gal. cider vinegar                             
  • 1 Cup crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tbsp. ground black pepper              
  • ¼ Cup fine sea salt

Combine ingredients, heat to a low simmer, and cook 20-30 minutes, stirring often.

Chill for at least 24 hours (72 is better) before using.

This sauce get’s better with age, which is why I make it a gallon at a time!

Pulled pork bbq sauce recipes

North Carolina Barbecue Sauce

In the Carolinas, the barbeque meat is pork, and the barbeque sauces are matters of hot debate even from one town to the next. Some sauces are thin and vinegary, while some regions add ketchup, or even mustard. This is the recipe I grew up with, and Pop’s recipe is still my go-to for amazing baby-back ribs.

  • 1 qt cider vinegar                                         
  • 12 oz ketchup
  • 2/3 C packed brown sugar                           
  • 2 Tbs salt
  • ¼ C lemon juice                                          
  • 1 Tbs red pepper flakes          
  • 1 Tbs smoked paprika                                 
  • 1 Tbs onion powder
  • 1 tsp each: black pepper, dry mustard          

Bring all ingredients to the boil, and then simmer for 30-45 minutes, stirring frequently.

Allow to cool, and serve or bottle.

Traditional Kansas City sauce recipesMemphis-Style Barbecue Sauce

Slightly on the sweeter side, Memphis barbecue sauce has its own distinctive flavor, as well. Though the specific ingredients will vary from cook to cook, Memphis sauce is usually made with tomatoes, vinegar, and any countless combination of spices.

Memphis sauce is poured over pulled pork  or served alongside of dry ribs.

  • 1 Tbs butter                                                 
  • ¼ C finely chopped onion
  • 1 ½ C ketchup                                             
  • ¼ C chili sauce
  • 4 Tbs brown sugar                                       
  • 4 Tbs molasses
  • 2 Tbs yellow mustard                                   
  • 1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce                         
  • 1 Tbs liquid hickory smoke
  • ½ tsp garlic powder                                    
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper                          
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • dash cayenne pepper

Bring all ingredients to the boil, and then simmer for 30-45 minutes, stirring frequently.

Allow to cool, and serve or bottle.

Texas Brisket sauce recipes

Texas Brisket Sauce

Texas is famous for tender slow-smoked brisket. Sauces are usually thin, spicy, and mixed with intensely flavorful pan drippings.

  • ½ C brisket drippings (defatted)                  
  • ½ C vinegar
  • 1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce                         
  • ½ C ketchup
  • ½ tsp hot pepper sauce (Franks)                 
  • 1 lg onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, pressed                            
  • 1 Tbs salt
  • ½ tsp chili powder                                       
  • traditional Texas bbq sauce recipesJuice of one lemon

Combine all ingredients.

Simmer, whisking occasionally, for 15 minutes.

Allow to rest 1-2 hours, and serve warm (on the side) with pencil-thin sliced brisket and sliced white bread.

Note: I like to coat the whole brisket in gold sauce after rubbing with spices, and the drizzle with some warmed sauce just before service.

mustard_sauce

South Carolina Gold Sauce

  • ½ Gal. yellow mustard
  • ½ Gal. cider vinegar
  • 1 Cup light brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. sea salt
  • ¼ Cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. black pepper
  • ¼ Cup Louisiana hot sauce (to taste)

For each of these recipes, combine ingredients, heat to a low simmer, and cook 20-30 minutes, stirring often.

Chill for at least 24 hours (72 is better) before using.

BTW, I have a LOT more BBQ & Grilling recipes, for all types of cooking, over on my outdoor cooking blog, La Caja China Cooking

~Chef Perry 

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Amazing Mother’s Day Bacon Appetizers

bacon-wrapped2

Mother’s day is coming up! (May 12th this year!)

This is my darlin’s favorite appetizer and a staple of her Mother’s Day dinner.

Quick and easy to make, delicious, and a chance to fire up the grill! (Tho’ you can make them just as well in the oven.)

Sure to delight, this is an always-win recipe to make Mom feel special on her special day!

Bacon Wrapped Dates

 

If your girl a salmon-fan?

This bacon-wrapped salmon appetizers are always a hit. A couple of these make a perfect appetizer, or serve four of these nuggets of goodness over rice, for a lovely entree!

Bacon Wrapped Salmon Bites

Make sure to subscribe to this page, as we’ll be covering the perfect Mother’s Day menu, from the best breakfasts to dazzle-her desserts and everything in between, over the next few weeks!

~Chef Perry

Bacon: A Home Chef's Guidebook

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Chef Perry’s Cheeseburger Egg Rolls

For my Facebook Pal, Trakota King!

One of my favorite game-day (or ANY day) party snacks! Quick and simple to make, delicious to eat, and always a patty favorite!

Enjoy!

~Chef Perry


The Home Chef: Transforming the American KitchenThe Home Chef: Transforming the American Kitchen

Something amazing has begun to happen in the last two decades, something that has never before happened in the history of cooking…instead of growing wider, the gap between the home cook and the professional chef has actually begun to narrow, and continues to narrow exponentially with each passing year.

The time when these specialized skills were limited to those who could afford the cost and time required for culinary school are quickly passing into history.

The time when the sole requirement to elevate your cooking skills to this level…passion…is emerging.

It’s an amazing time to become a Home Chef…and if you have that passion, I’ll show you how.

Welcome!

Chef Perry P. Perkins

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Canned Mushroom Soup…The Root of all Evil?





Cream of Mushroom SoupHome Chef Andrea A. asks: Is using Cream of Mushroom Soup in a recipe really the height of bad cooking, as suggested by The Food Network?

Andrea,

First of all, keep in mind that Food Network will get awfully high-and-mighty about “fresh, organic” ingredients in their stand-and-stir shows, while playing ads for frozen pizza between episodes…so there’s that.

That doesn’t mean it can’t taste good. My mother made a classic green bean dish for Thanksgiving that involved this canned-soup shortcut. I was awesome! But then, holiday dishes like that are a kind of familiar comfort food, there’s the nostalgia factor. It was complimented by other holiday dishes that involved more kitchen expertise, made with fresh ingredients.

Contemporary Home Chefs and cooks have a much wider range of ingredients and methods at their disposal than a 1970s American housewife did.

Is it “bad cooking”? No, it’s just lazy cooking. The result is not unlike you’d get at a fast food restaurant that also depends on cheap canned and frozen-food shortcuts. In which case, why bother to cook at home?




For myself, I like making soups and soup stocks from scratch. The effort is rewarding. (it’s not that hard, it’s fun to do, and it makes the house smell good) But like most people, regardless of what overpaid Food TV “Celebrities” think, I’m not above using convenient shortcuts, guilt-free, when I have eight dishes on my menu, and it’s a quick alternative for a side dish.

So, I wouldn’t call it the “height of bad cooking”, but there are better natural options that are not only much lower in sodium, but have vastly better flavor.

To make your own, use my recipe for Garlic Mushroom Cream Sauce, using whole milk instead of the heavy whipping cream:

Real Cream of Mushroom Soup recipe

Garlic Mushroom Cream Sauce

  • 2 strips apple-wood bacon, chopped
  • 8 oz white mushrooms, freshly sliced
  • 1 stick butter
  • 4 lg cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 Tbs. coarse black pepper
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Real Cream of Mushroom Soup recipeMix all ingredients, except cream, and roast at 350F until mushrooms are dark and leathery. Combine these ingredients with cream in a blender and puree until smooth.

Garlic Mushroom Cream SauceFrom: Pan-Seared Filet Mignon with Garlic-Mushroom Cream sauce

Enjoy!

~Chef Perry

chefperryperkins.com

 

 

 

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Perfect Pork Ribs in the Oven

Perfect oven pork ribs

Just because half of the country (and their grills) are currently buried in snow, is no reason to give up on ribs! And these ones always get rave reviews.

Firm yet tender, they pull off the bone with each succulent bite. For the sake of disclosure, I learned the amazing method from an episode of “Restaurant Impossible” with Chef Robert Irvine.

When I don’t have all day to slow cook my pork ribs in the smoker, this is my go-to recipe.

Preheat the oven to 225 degrees F. To prepare the ribs, remove the silver skin from the back or under the rib side.

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Then rub the trimmed rib racks with my Burnin’ Love dry rub (see recipe, below).

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Place the racks onto a sheet of plastic wrap, wrap tightly, and repeat with a second layer. Place in the oven (don’t panic, the plastic won’t melt at this low temperature) and roast for 2 hours.

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Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes. The plastic wrap will have filled with steam and “puffed up”, I try to let the ribs rest until the wrap has completely collapsed.

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Now you have a decision to make. You can sprinkle the ribs with more rub (this is how I like them…), and serve them as “Dry Ribs”, or….

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Unwrap, place on a cookie sheet and coat with BBQ sauce (see recipe below). Roast, in the oven set to broil, until the sauce is caramelized, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the sauced ribs and allow to rest, 3 to 5 minutes.

BTW…if you CAN dig out your Traeger, here’s my recipe for that…

 

Finally, portion the ribs into serving-size pieces, and serve.

Enjoy!

Chef Perry
chefperryperkins.com

1“Burnin’ Love” Dry Rub
¼ C sea salt
½ C light brown sugar
2 Tbs garlic powder
2 Tbs onion powder
2 Tbs Italian seasonings (spicy, if you can find them.)
2 Tbs smoked paprika
1 Tbs coarse black pepper
1 Tbs ground white pepper
1 Tbs hickory salt
1 teaspoon cayenne powder

Combine all in a tightly sealed glass jar. Store in a cool, dark area.

Dirty Little Secret Sauce
(If you need a diabetic friendly sauce, try this one!)
1 C “Sweet Baby Rays” (Brown Sugar, or Sweet & Spicy)

1/2 cup Thai-style sweet chili sauce
1/2 C apple cider vinegar
1/2 C Coca Cola
1/4 cup butter

Bring all ingredients to a simmer, blend well and allow to cool. Best after 48 hours.

I also like to serve my ribs with our simple tangy slaw, Low & Slow Baked Beans, and my all time favorite Southern side, Maque Choux with Bacon!


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Win a 7-Pc Professional Henckel Knife Set!

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The next 30 days are going to be all about the Home Chef YouTube Channel!

Lots of new technique and recipe videos, contests and giveaways, Q&A Chats, and lots more. My goal is to double my current subscriber count by March 15th.

61sLHLLuRYL._SL1000_To encourage new subscribers, on March 20th I’ll choose one random subscriber to win a set of 7 Professional Henckel Chef’s Knives*, valued at $300.00!

How to Enter:

1. Like and Share THIS post.
2. Subscribe to my YouTube Channel at: www.homechefvideos.com

That’s it!

Also, if you have any specific recipes, foods, or cooking techniques that you’d like to see a video on, let me know below.

Thanks Peeps!

~Chef Perry

*You can take a look at the Henckel knife set here.

Pork Ribs on the Traeger 3-2-1 Style

Today I’m going to show you how to make perfect baby back ribs in the Traeger, using the 3-2-1 method.


There you have it…perfect baby back pork ribs, as easy as 3-2-1

RECIPES:

3-2-1 Ribs

  • 3 racks baby back pork ribs (about 7 1/2 pounds total)
  • 1/2 cup yellow mustard
  • 1/3 cup apple juice
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 2/3 cup “Burnin’ Love BBQ Rub (see link below for recipe)
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup honey

Chef Perry’s Dirty Little Secret Sauce:

“Burnin’ Love” Dry Rub & Dirty Little Secret Sauce

Thank you for watching my video. Please feel free to like and share it!

Enjoy your ribs!

-Chef Perry

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Butter Steaks on the Traeger

Best Traeger Steak Recipe

I’m a big believer that bqq and grilling should be a part of everyone’s meal planning all year ’round. In fact, I find that my appetite is sharper when cooking in colder weather, and food out of the smoker, or off the grill… like these steaks, taste better.

Amazing Traeger Steaks Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 30 minutes smoke, 10 minutes cook Pellets: Oak 2 – 1 1/2 inch thick Rib-eye or New York Strip steaks Seasoned salt to taste Herb Butter (see recipe below.) Traeger SteaksSeason steaks on both sides. Start your Traeger on smoke with lid open for 5 minutes to get started. Close the lid and allow interior to heat up for an additional 10 minutes. Place your steaks on the grill in the SMOKE mode, and cook for 30 minutes. Then take them off the grill and set aside.

Turn your Traeger to HIGH. When the grill reaches 400 – 425 degrees put the steaks back on the grill, and sear for 5 minutes per side for rare-to medium rare. Because you’re cooking in an enclosed environment, you don’t have to flip your steaks, but I still do because I like the pretty grill marks. Traeger Steaks with Herb Butter Remove the steaks from the grill to a warmed platter, tent loosely with foil and let rest 5 minutes. Add a dollop of herb butter to each steak, re-cover, and let rest an additional 5 minutes.

Serve whole, or slice thinly across the grain, spooning melted butter from the platter over each steak.

Good accompaniment include: baked potatoes, roasted asparagus (both are very nice with the herb butter, see below), and a fresh Caesar salad.

Enjoy!

Chef Perry


...Grilling Cover - SmallGrilling.

It’s the most primitive of all the cooking methods.

Picture our ancient ancestors spearing chunks of raw meat on sticks and gathering around a communal fire to cook their meal.

What would summer be without the sights, and sounds, and smells of meat searing to perfection over glowing coals? The laughter of friends and family, and the sharing of a delicious, flame-kissed meal?

“Grilling: A Home Chef’s Guide” includes dozens of Chef-tested, fully-illustrated recipes, tricks, techniques, and resources for grilling just about Amazonanything you can cook over fire!

I guarantee that you will see an instant, and significant improvement in your outdoor cooking! No more wiener flambé, carbonized chicken, or particle-board steaks.

Clear your calendar, strap on your apron, you’re about to become the grilling-god of your family!