Georgia's State Flags,
Home of Good Eats
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.
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
use a heavy pot with a fry thermometer.
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
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,
[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.
GUEST: Paul, Humble Apprentice
[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.
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?
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.
[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
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.
GUEST: Alton Brown, Sensitive Man
[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.
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!
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
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.
[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!
|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.
[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.
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.
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.
[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]
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.
FP: [player who tackled AB earlier sits at picnic table and licks plate]
Transcription by Elctrowolfe
Last Edited on 08/27/2010