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Georgia's State Flags,
Home of Good Eats
and Myself


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The Man Food Show

SCENE 1
The Kitchen

    [AB reads newspaper. In foreground sits a breakfast tray with a tall beaker of orange juice, objects covered with colorful cloth napkins, and a pink zenia in a vase.] Oh, hi there, food fans! I just want to say to all the ladies in the house that I've got some good news and some bad news. The good news is today's episode of Good Eats is all about teaching your significant other how to prepare and to present unto you a breakfast in bed that will rival the room service of the finest six-star hotel.
    The bad news is that, well, this wouldn't really be much of a surprise if you watch the show. So, just this once, I'm going to ask you to kind of clear out. Go read a book, take a soak in the tub, take a hike, I don't care. But give us guys a little bit of private time. You'll be glad you did.
    Okay guys, while the ladies head on out, I want you to gather up a pad and a pen or pencil, because we're going to cover a lot of territory today, and you're going to want to take notes.
    [quietly] Are they gone?
    [normal volume] Good! Let me tell you something, fellas. [pulls cold bottle of beer out of the orange juice and wipes it off with a towel.] The last thing on Earth you want to go messing around with is breakfast in bed. You want to know why? Because all it does is raise expectations. Pretty soon, you're going to be expected to share and cuddle and take out the trash.
    Nope. What we really need to spend time doing [removes vase and flower from the tray, sets beer on tray, removes napkins to reveal plate of food and a TV remote control] is working on our man food skills!
    [picks up tray and heads for the other room] Now why did I run them out of the room? Simple. They want you to watch what you eat. They want you to watch your cholesterol intake, your sodium intake, your fat intake, your intake intake! They want you to watch your waist. And that's all fine and good. But you know, sometimes a man has got to eat what a man has got to eat. And I'm here to tell you that these guilty pleasures, besides tasting good, really are ...

SCENE 2
Jon Luehr's Spectacular Attractions: Decatur, GA - 8:34 pm

GUEST: Corn Dog Vendor

AB: [taking corn dog to walk around the carnival, to CDV] Thanks a lot, Shawn. Bye!

    You know, most Americans have their first and last corndogs here, among the rickety rides and the shabby sideshows, the questionable gaming and general cotton candy cacophony of the carnival. And it makes sense. I mean, after all, this is the natural habitat for the corndog. And I don't say that just because this is deep fried and has a stick shoved into it. Truth is, the corndog was born here. Well, not here exactly, but at a carnival. [looks up at Ferris wheel] Excuse me. [gets in Ferris wheel seat, the ride starts]
    Okay, so it wasn't actually a carnival. It was a fair. A state fair. The Texas State Fair. It was 1942 when Neil and Carl Fletcher, brothers who were vaudevillians turned concessionaries, had a real "2001" monkey-touch-the-monolith moment, and dipped a dog into batter, into the fryer. Now, although that may be the first dipped dog on record, there is evidence to support the argument that the corndog is much older. It could be that German sausage makers invented it when they moved to San Antonio, Texas, around the turn of the century, maybe even the late 1800s.
    Personally, I could care less who invented this thing. I'm just thankful they did. Can you make them at home? Oh yeah, with a little know-how and the right technology. And I don't mean a Ferris wheel.

SCENE 3
Cook's Warehouse: Atlanta, GA - 9:02 am

    Faithful fans may recall that in earlier frying forays, I eschewed the use of a deep fryer in favor of a heavy-duty pot. Of course, back then, most fryers made for home use were nothing more than lightweight pots with heating elements welded onto the bottom. I do not like these devices, Sam I am, because they don't actually heat the oil. The element heats the pot, then the pot has to heat the oil, so they are slow, they are hard to control, and obviously very dangerous to the touch. And if something happens to snag the cable ... [fryer tips off surface, onto ground] Just imagine if that had happened with a few quarts of 350 degree oil inside. Not only would you spill your french fries all over the floor, but you'd be screaming like a banshee.
    Luckily, modern manufacturers take their cue from restaurant fryers, okay? Take a look at this. The heating element actually goes down inside the oil, so it's heating the oil and not the pot. There's a nice, big, digital control here, to hold the temperature exactly, precisely where you want it. And this just slides right on to the easy-to-clean fry area, which is nice and big. There's also a basket, which allows you to get food in and out very quickly, and a bracket to drain it from. Heck, you might as well build yourself you own drive-through window here.
    Now, there's a lid that is vented, which is nice because it lets steam out during cooking and that means you can leave the lid on, and that's a lot safer. Oh, speaking of safety, this whole thing fits down inside a stainless-steel chassis that remains cool to the touch, even during long fry sessions.
    Oh, and remember that pesky cable a minute ago? Well, all of these models come with special break-away cables. Barely give them a tug, and they pop right off. Nice and safe.
    Now, when trying to decide between these models, I look at a couple of different criteria. One is capacity: I want a fryer that can hold at least five liters of oil. And I want a really nice, wide temperature grading, okay? This one goes from about 160 to 385. This one tops out at 360. A little low for me. And this one makes it up to 375, but it's not a digital control, so, uh ... [grabs middle fryer] Come to daddy.

SCENE 4
The Kitchen

    Now I'm starting with a gallon of peanut oil, here. You know, one of the biggest mistakes that novice fryers make is that they don't use enough fat, because they assume that more oil means greasier food.

1 Gallon Peanut Oil

    However, truth is, the inverse is true. You see, the more oil there is, the more residual heat there is, okay? So when you put the cold food into the fryer, the temperature in the fryer rebounds, or recovers, quickly, which is a good thing.

    Now, I like peanut oil, because it stands up well to high heat, and it degrades slowly, so I get several fry sessions out of one change of oil. If peanut oil is not available in your area, or if you have a peanut allergy in the house, feel free to use one of these fine fats.

Canola Oil
Safflower Oil
Soybean Oil
Corn Oil
Sunflower Oil

    Now, I am going to put on the lid for safety, and set this for 375 degrees. And now, time to let the dogs out.
    Although any sausage, cooked sausage, the approximate size and shape of a wiener can be employed in the construction of corndogs, I like plain old beef franks.
    By the way, the word 'wiener' comes from 'wienerwurst,' which is German for 'Vienna sausage', which is American for 'little meat stick you feed kids who don't know any better but to eat them.' The word 'frankfurter' was dreamed up by a guy from Frankfurt. Hard to believe. He supposedly invented the hot dog bun. Of course, we don't need no stinkin' hot dog buns. We do, however, need sticks.
    [opens a drawer full of various flat wooden sticks, paws through it] Popsicle sticks, stirrers, tongue depressors, coffee things, [closes top drawer, moves to second drawer containing shiny-frilled drink stirrers and red-wrappered chopsticks] disposable knitting needles .... Heck, I've tried them all! But I have never found a better [takes pair of chopsticks in red wrapper, closes drawer] corndog handle than the sticks [pulls wrapper off] that you get with Chinese take-out. The secret is to leave them connected. Next up, we batter up.

If you don't want to buy a deep fryer,
use a heavy pot with a fry thermometer.

SCENE 5
The Kitchen

GUEST: Alton Brown, Renaissance Man

    [grunts and strains as he reams and squeezes an orange half over a large pitcher of juice that is almost full to the black 'fill line'] Phew! Well, hand-squeezing orange juice certainly takes some time and it's a fair amount of work, but I'm willing to bet your better half's worth it! Speaking of better halves, I'm willing to bet a few of them have crept back in the room for a peek. Now Ladies, we made a deal! You've got to scat on out of here, okay? Now go on, go back to your book or wherever. Give us guys some private time. Bye bye. Bye bye.
    They gone? Phew! [chucks reamed orange half into pitcher] Good.
    And now back to our batter. If you've ever made cornbread, this software's going to look pretty familiar. Let's start with the dry team.

    In a very large bowl, combine 1 cup of cornmeal with a quarter of a teaspoon of baking soda, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, one half teaspoon of cayenne pepper, 2 teaspoons of kosher salt, and last but not least, 1 whopping cup of all-purpose flour. Stir to combine, and set aside. 1 Cup Cornmeal
1/4 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
2 tsp. Kosher Salt
1 Cup AP Flour
    In another mixing bowl, we place 2 tablespoons of minced jalapeno pepper, one third of a cup of grated onion, the contents of one 8.5 ounce can of cream of corn, and one and a half cups of good old buttermilk. Stir to combine. 2 Tbs. Jalapeño Pepper,
   Seeded & Finely Minced
1/3 Cup Finely Grated Onion
8.5 oz. Can Creamed Corn
1 1/2 Cups Buttermilk

    Now, you can make the batter, up to this point, hours, days, probably weeks ahead of time to no ill effect, but once you do this [pours wet team onto dry team] you are committed. Now stir this as few times as possible, just enough to bring it together. Remember, lumps are not important, but letting this rest for 10 minutes before you use it is. That way, all the little flour granules and all the cornmeal can soak up some water. There. I'm going to leave this alone. Oh, I am going to put it into a drinking glass, though.
    [gets ready to pour batter into a drinking glass, hesitates, reconsiders, folds a paper plate into quarters, cuts off tip of resulting wedge with scissors, unfolds plate to find square hole in center, places hole in plate over drinking glass as a spill-guard, pours some batter through hole, uses scraper to push what got on the plate through the hole and into the glass, removes plate to reveal mostly-full glass of batter with no mess]

[puts cornstarch in a pie pan, shakes it so it spreads out]

4 Tbs. Cornstarch

    [holds frankfurter, inserts pair of still-conjoined chopsticks, pointy ends first, shows off frankfurter that stays firmly on sticks no matter which way it's held]
    [slides the drain rig, a cookie sheet with a cooling rack in it, onto counter]
    Time for final fry-station checklist. Eight skewered wieners, check. Cornstarch dredge, check. Glass full of batter, check. 375 degree oil, check. Drain rig, check. Gentlemen, we are ready to begin our sequence.
    First, take a wiener. Second, roll it around in the cornstarch. Make sure that it is evenly applied, and then tap off all of the excess. This is an important step. Why Because you want the starch layer to be as thin as possible. If there's too much starch on there, the batter will just slide off into the fryer. Now speaking of the batter, straight in the cup, [dunks wiener in batter] a quick swizzle, and straight up and into the fryer. There. Now, I wouldn't put more than two of these in the fryer at one time, or you'll overload it. Oh, and see those bubbles? Those are important. Why? Well ... come on.

SCENE 6
Field

GUEST: Paul, Humble Apprentice
            Football Players

    [finishes making a chalk line down center of field, 4 "football" players line up on either side] Okay, just bear with me a minute, here. Let's pretend that the guys on the right side of the line represent the water inside the corndog batter. And the guys on the left side of the line represent the hot oil that we're about to put the corndog in. Oh, and in the quarterback position, my apprentice, Paul.

|
       Oil    |   Corndog
|

P: [on right 'corndog' side of line] Hike!
FP: [teams grapple, scene freezes]

    Okay, as long as the oil stays around 350 degrees, the water inside the corndog batter will turn into vapor and try to push out. Therefore, the forces will be equal, and the food will cook until it is golden-brown and delicious, but it will not be greasy.
    Problem is, two things can go wrong here. If the food is left in the oil too long, there just won't be enough vapor. Or, if the oil drops in temperature, then there won't be enough heat to generate vapor in the first place. In either case, this is the result ...

FP: [scene unfreezes, Paul's 'vapor' team is pummeled as the 'oil' team crosses over the line to the 'corndog' side]

    Grease marches into the food. Greasy eats, not good eats.

AB: You okay over there, Paul?

SCENE 7
The Kitchen

GUEST: Thing

    In four to five minutes, you have a golden-brown and delicious corndog. [sets hot corndog on drain rig, picks up a cooler one] And these are as good as ... Well, you know what? They're the best corndogs in the world, I guarantee. Just let them drain and then serve while hot with mustard and/or ketchup.

4-5 mins. Later

AB: [to T] Now, take this, would you? I've got more manly manual labor to manage.

SCENE 8
Dunk n' Dine: Atlanta, GA - 2:44 pm

    [with toothpick in mouth, standing at the diner's grill with square patties sizzling in the background] Although the firepower of a commercially-minded deep-fryer is indeed muy macho, when it comes to kitchen-based electrics, I think that the griddle is the ultimate expression of the Y-chromosome. Maybe it's the wide-open range of steel. Maybe it's the fact that manly amounts of the world's most masculine food are born here.
    Hamburgers! I'm talking the original hamburger here. Little bite-size jewels that you stack up in a basket and consume in a manly gulp. Call them sliders, call them belly-bombs, call them gut-grenades. I call them good eats! And to make them right, you need one of these.

The first mini-burgers sold for 5¢ at White Castle in Wichita, Kansas in 1921.

SCENE 9
Cook's Warehouse: Atlanta, GA - 3:37 pm

GUEST: Alton Brown, Sensitive Man
           Lady
           Kid
           Dad

AB: [puts finishing touches on napkin folded into a swan] Then all you have to do is pull out these corners to make the feathers. And there you go. The perfect decoration for a breakfast in bed tray.
LADY: That is just adorable.
AB: Yeah.
L: I'll try that at home! [leaves]
AB: Good. Bye bye!

    Oh! Ladies, you're not supposed to be in the room! How are the guys going to surprise you with these lovely little tips if you're snooping? Go on. Bye bye.
    Are they gone? Pfft! Good! [shakes out napkin swan, blows his nose in the napkin and throws it at the camera]

KID: Gee, Dad! My first griddle! Do you think I'm ready?
DAD: Well, son, I was about your age when I got mine.
K: Come on! Let's go home and sear something!
D: You betcha, Sport! Listen, uh, let's not mention this to your mom.

    A beautiful moment, wouldn't you say? Now I can remember the day that my dad took me down to the kitchenware store to get my first griddle. It was exciting! It looked just like this. [small griddle] Although, now that I look at this, this is kind of puny, isn't it? I mean, it's only [measures it out] 10 inches by 15 inches. Kind of lightweight. Underpowered, too. Definitely a boys' grill.
    But you know? You grow up, and you need bigger tools. [moves to a larger griddle] Now this is what I'm talking about! [measures it out] We've got 21 inches by 12 and a half inches. And I'd say about a solid inch of aluminum. That means that not only do we have the space to cook, but we've got enough mass to really soak up and hold some heat.
    Hey, let's look under the hood, shall we? [lifts griddle so that underside can be seen] Oh yeah, nice big heating element, and a high-volume grease tray. It's important for a guy. And, when things get really, really messy, a snap-on backsplash! Come to Papa!

SCENE 10
Harry's Farmers Market: Marietta, GA - 3:55 pm

GUEST: Ed Cifu, Butcher

    Great burgers start here [taps 'chuck' on beef diagram]. Chuck, which has great flavor and just enough fat to keep things juicy. 20%, plus or minus a point or two. Chuck    Rib    Loin
                             Round
    Brisket         Flank
Shank    Short Plate

    Try to use leaner meat, and your burgers will be dry and crumbly. Now, I usually like to grind my own, but I have to admit, I don't always have the time, and I suspect neither do you. But don't worry. This guy's [butcher] got the time and the skills.

ED CIFU: [takes chuck from the meat case]
AB: Yeah, yeah! Medium grind on that, okay?
EC: You got it.

    Perrrrfect! Now, if you have to resort to pre-ground, know that things are not always what they seem. Although, by law, a package of 80%-lean ground chuck can contain no more than 20% fat, it doesn't necessarily have to be 100% chuck. Strange, but true. So, I think you're better off picking out a nice chuck steak and having it ground to order. If the butchers in your market don't want to bother, then don't bother with them.

EC: [places package of ground chuck on top of meat case]
AB: Thanks a lot, Ed!
EC: You're welcome, Alton!
AB: See ya, Ed!
EC: See ya, Alton!

SCENE 11
The Kitchen

    Set your griddle to 350 degrees, and then take a moment to contemplate your buns. 350°
    Now, I like my basket burgers to be perfectly proportioned, so I choose the bread and then shape the patties to fit. Now, I like these little potato bread rolls. Soft, but not too soft, and just the right size for a two-bite burger. Just wrap these in a little bit of foil, and put them into a 250 degree oven for about 10 minutes. And now, the main event. 250°
    [voice over] Line your favorite jelly roll pan or half sheet pan with parchment paper, and then plop down your one pound of ground chuck. Top that with plastic wrap, and then roll it out with your favorite rolling pin, or an empty wine bottle, which is what I had. The goal here is to roll the meat until it completely fills the bottom of the pan. Now, this will be a very, very thin layer, indeed. 1 lb. Ground Chuck

    Then season with a combination of a half teaspoon onion powder, a half teaspoon of garlic powder, half teaspoon of black pepper and a half teaspoon of kosher salt. 1/2 tsp. each onion power, garlic powder, freshly ground black pepper, and kosher salt

    Fold the paper over, thus folding the meat in half, and then just kind of trim it up. You know, clean it up there. And then cut it into eight even patties with your pizza cutter. Then, straight to the 350 degree griddle.

    Mmm. [inhales scent of cooking patties, sighs] Yeah, I know they're small, but look at it this way. They only take about two minutes to cook on each side, and they're seasoned all the way through, so every little bite's going to be delicious. And heck, they're so small you could eat twenty or thirty without getting that bloated, overfed feeling.

2 - 3 mins. Per Side

    Besides, large burgers have distinct disadvantages. And when you've got a whole lot of meat, you've got to manage the heat so that the inside will cook through but the outside won't overcook, and that takes time. And time is not known for being very, um, polite to ground meat. Why? [catches football thrown from off-camera] Simple.

SCENE 12
Field

    [gets into quarterback position] Okay, let's say for a second that we sic some really high heat on a big honking hamburger.

AB: Hut! [takes ball and moves away quickly]

    First, juices start running out all over the place, right? [slows down] But then all this connective tissue starts ... [Opposing player grabs AB around the waist for a dramatic tackle, as AB screams and the camera tilts to the sky]

1/3 of Americans have consumer ground beef in the last 24 hours.

SCENE 13
Field

GUEST: Alton Brown, Manly? Man

    [from the bottom of a pile of players as the players slowly get up off of him] Where was I? Oh yeah. The connective tissue draws up so tight that your nice little flat patty turns into this big, nasty pile of flesh. An orb, so to speak. It's almost impossible to keep a hamburger bun on it.
    Of course, you could take care of that by just continuing the cooking process in the presence of a little bit of liquid, but it would take a long time and by then the damage would be done. The meat would be dead and lifeless, kind of like me.

SCENE 14
The Kitchen

    Whew. Well, it's been two minutes, and it's time to turn. Your best tool for the job, a flexible plastic or silicone spatula. This can scoot under the meat without scratching the nonstick surface. So, we're only going to do one turn. Always try to turn the meat over onto a bare spot of griddle. Mmmm. Nice crust. Remember, we're only going to be doing this once.
    As anyone who's ever tried to put a hot one of these [patties] onto a hot one of these [buns] can tell you, the juices from this [patty] can often turn this [bun] into mush before you get the finished device to the table. The answer is a thin coating of mayonnaise. See, since it's 100% fat, the mayonnaise will create, basically, a watertight barrier between the burger and the bun. That way, this device will stay handle-able for five to ten minutes ... if they last that long.

SCENE 15
Field, Picnic Table

    [Places large platter of burgers and corndogs on picnic table, takes burger for himself] Mmm, mmm, mmm! [smacks lips]

AB: Come and get it!
FP: [rush in and attack the burgers]

    Geez! Well, fellas, I really think that in the last half hour we've raised the bar on a couple of man-food classics: Corndogs and gut-grenades. You know, the way I figure it, if you're gonna to eat 'em, you might as well make 'em good. Eats, that is.

    [someone off-camera yells "Go!"]

 FP: [leave table, revealing empty platter]

    Animals!

SCENE 16
Behind a row of flowers

    Okay, guys, you can let the girls back in now, okay? [romantic music starts, takes the safety catch off a pair of pruning shears, gestures for camera to tilt down at colorful flowers] Flowers! The flowers!
    [clears throat] So, gentlemen, [cuts off a couple pink flowers] if you can just remember to balance color [cuts a couple of yellow flowers] with contrast, [cuts red flower] aroma and shape, well, heck, [puts cut flowers together to make a small bouquet] you're a shoe-in for creating a beautiful morning bouquet for the one you love.
    Well, that's about all the time we have for this week. See you next time, on Good Eats.

Outtake
Field, Picnic Table

FP: [player who tackled AB earlier sits at picnic table and licks plate]

horizontal rule

Transcription by Elctrowolfe

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Last Edited on 08/27/2010