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What's Your Dirty Little Cooking Secret?

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    What's Your Dirty Little Cooking Secret?

    So, I presume that most, if not all, of us are generally the kind of cooks who usually do things the long, authentic and time-consuming way when we cook. We make our own rubs, sauces, marinades, stocks. We trim and butcher (to greater or lesser extent) the meat we cook. Many of us grow and can our own veggies, pickles, kimchi, etc. I know that many of us bake our own bread using time-consuming techniques such as making and maintaining our own sourdough starters and so forth. But, if any of us (and I know there are many) regularly prepare and cook the majority of the meals for our families (and even some who don't), have "dirty little secrets" - short cuts and such - that we use from time to time to get tasty dishes and meals cooked and on the table in a less time-consuming fashion. I thought it might be fun to list them here.

    I'll start:

    I have 2 that come immediately to mind: 1) Tonight's meal (pic in SUWYC) was smoked chili made with the leftover chuck roast from Saturday's #stayincookout meal. My dirty little secret is that I use a commercially packaged chili mix to make chili. I've been doing it for years. Yes, I have, on rare occasion, scratch made chili of one sort or another, but we like the packaged mix, especially after I doctor it up with a can of Rotel Hot Diced Tomatoes with Chilis, homemade beef stock, and a couple of Tbsps of my homemade American Chili Powder. It's really delicious and is ready in short order, compared to scratch.

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    My second one is what we call "Indian from a jar." I call it that because the base of the sauce is a commercially available jarred spice paste called Patak's Hot Curry Paste. I have been making 1 hour Indian using Patak's for at least 15 years (I started when I was living alone after my divorce.) Over the years, I have continued to develop and enhance my recipe. I think I have exhausted my ideas for changing/improving it. While I can, and often do, make many different scratch Indian/South Asian dishes, I make Indian from a jar about once every 2 weeks, even when not sheltering in place, and it has become one of our favorite dinners. We usually make it with boneless chicken thighs, but have used the Patak's as a base for both lamb and shrimp curry dishes. I have also used Patak's Vindaloo paste on occasion.

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    #2
    Here's a quick one pot meal:

    Crumble and brown 1/3 of a tube of breakfast sausage, ( I use Jimmy Dean Hot) and then make Zatarain's Red, (or Black), Beans and Rice according to the package directions in the same pot with the sausage. Don't use more than 1/3 of the tube because the sausage flavor will overpower the rice n beans if you use more.

    Comment


      #3
      Zatarain's jambalaya mix is mine. Hands down.

      Comment


      • Dewesq55
        Dewesq55 commented
        Editing a comment
        I used to buy the "hot" one, but I haven't found it lately in the supermarket.

      • Andrrr
        Andrrr commented
        Editing a comment
        Yep. It’s been a go-to quick meal for years.

      • Mr. Bones
        Mr. Bones commented
        Editing a comment
        Do it alla th time, also...
        "Slap Ya Mama" brand mixes are also very good, an equally convenient.
        Thanks, yer post reminded me I needs me some okra!

      #4
      Heh. I always have at least one jar of Patak's on hand. And cook with it two or three times a month.

      Comment


        #5
        Henrik uses Extract of Llama

        I don't cheat, unless I'm not being totally honest.

        Comment


        • Huskee
          Huskee commented
          Editing a comment
          Has an alpaca-like flavor

        • FireMan
          FireMan commented
          Editing a comment
          No, alpacas have an alpaca flavor, llamas maybe chicken?

        • HouseHomey
          HouseHomey commented
          Editing a comment
          Had to read this a couple times. Nice one Jerod. And Henriks Llama rubs like the others are Bomb!!!!

        #6
        My biggest is that I couldn't care less about a steady cook temp or a specific finish temp. Cook at low points of 201 and highs of 301, who cares. Take the brisket to 196 or 207, who cares. That's what everyone did before thermometers. Saul Goodman. Don't pet the sweaty stuff.

        Comment


        • FireMan
          FireMan commented
          Editing a comment
          Yeah! Who gives a rip! Son’s petty the sweat stuff!

        • Deaf Arty
          Deaf Arty commented
          Editing a comment
          Whew! I thought I was committing blasphemy! I've learned not to get so worked up about temps, simply out of self-preservation -- especially since I can never get my cooker probe and leave-in thermometer to agree. Thanks for the freeing "secret"

        • Bogy
          Bogy commented
          Editing a comment
          My wife did mention recently that my cooking has improved with better thermometers. But also because along with the thermometers I have learned here that a lot of things don't have to be cooked as done as I thought they did.

        #7
        Had to think about this one a bit. Oven-fry for chicken gets made a lot because the kids like it. That and the jambalaya mentioned above.

        Comment


        • Dewesq55
          Dewesq55 commented
          Editing a comment
          I do that (oven fried chicken) a lot, also. Deep frying is too messy for me.

        • ssandy_561
          ssandy_561 commented
          Editing a comment
          I like the oven fry for pork chops also.

        • Andrrr
          Andrrr commented
          Editing a comment
          ssandy_561 I’ve always meant to try it but regular pork chops are something the kids eat already so I haven’t had the need. I’ll give it a shot though

        #8
        505 Southwestern Hatch Red Enchilada & Tamale Chile Sauce. I’m hooked on the stuff. Works with beef, chicken, pork and more.

        Comment


        • Rfhd69
          Rfhd69 commented
          Editing a comment
          Just went to the website. Their products look amazing! Gonna try soon.

        #9
        Ginger in a squeeze bottle. I hate peeling it, and it's always woody. Way easier to let someone else do it.

        Comment


        • Dewesq55
          Dewesq55 commented
          Editing a comment
          Ooooh! I do that too! Garlic and lemon grass, too. But I don't do garlic very often.

        • Potkettleblack
          Potkettleblack commented
          Editing a comment
          Lemongrass and ginger in squeeze tubes, definitely.

        #10
        I actually like cooking in my underwear.
        But I do change them regularly. 😁

        Comment


        • RonB
          RonB commented
          Editing a comment
          Remember - it didn't happen without photos - Oh - wait! Never mind...

        • ofelles
          ofelles commented
          Editing a comment
          PLEASE, never mind the photos!!!!!

        • FireMan
          FireMan commented
          Editing a comment
          The cooking or the underwear?

        #11
        OK you guys got me, I often times find myself cooking in the nude. It's soooo exhilarating

        Comment


        • RonB
          RonB commented
          Editing a comment
          See my comment above. (10.3)

        • texastweeter
          texastweeter commented
          Editing a comment
          Al S. Wanna see my scar?

        • Troutman
          Troutman commented
          Editing a comment
          Well I do wear an apron guys, I mean come on. I'm known in the neighborhood as the Bare Assed BBQ Baron. Folks enjoy my meat !!!

        #12
        50/50 bottled bbq sauce and bottled Italian dressing on chicken thighs. You simply can’t make them better than that.

        Comment


        • Huskee
          Huskee commented
          Editing a comment
          Isn't that so good jfmorris ? Yumm.

        • jfmorris
          jfmorris commented
          Editing a comment
          Huskee it is great, and my go-to right now for grilled wings. Just gotta be sure its the RIGHT Newman's Own Creamy Caesar. I had "creamy caesar" on the shopping list and the wife brought home Wishbone or some other brand the other day. I'll just use that one on my salads, as I am afraid to mess with sucess when making wings!

        • Huskee
          Huskee commented
          Editing a comment
          jfmorris Right! That's why I included a pic when I shared that one since it's important to use Newman's Own.

        #13
        I prefer moist fall-off-the-bone pork ribs so I wrap them.....

        Comment


          #14
          I don't peel fresh garlic

          Comment


          • Dewesq55
            Dewesq55 commented
            Editing a comment
            DiverDriver - I bought a small jar on Sunday in a pinch since there was no fresh garlic in the store. It was so sour, I threw it away.

          • Andrrr
            Andrrr commented
            Editing a comment
            I was thinking about this as I was chopping garlic tonight. I should really get some of this as a backup

          • JGo37
            JGo37 commented
            Editing a comment
            DiverDriver try the roasted garlic in olive oil.

          #15
          Store bought chicken and beef stock.

          Comment


          • JCGrill
            JCGrill commented
            Editing a comment
            I do both. Never enough bones to have as much as I need.

          • JeffJ
            JeffJ commented
            Editing a comment
            I make my own stock but I do sometimes use the store-bought stuff.

          • jfmorris
            jfmorris commented
            Editing a comment
            Guilty. Or if I don't have the pre-made stock.... I add bullion cubes to hot water!

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