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Jan 20, 2012 12:19 PM

When cooking shows give bad advice and bad techniques.

Just watched one of the cooks (and I use the term cook on purpose) on FN take a chicken out of brine and toss directly into a roasting pan and then add a rub mixed with butter under the skin and over the skin that has an additional Tsalt.

Now I love my salt, but you rinse a brined bird, and do not add another Tb of salt under and over the skin.

What stupid advice, recipes and techniques have you seen? I know I've seen a LOT.

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  1. This Anne Burrell recipe has a brined turkey that includes butter, rosemary, sage, and kosher salt (to taste) worked under the skin. She also has directions to pat the bird dry, but doesn't say anything about rinsing.

    This Michael Chiarello recipe has a chicken brined, patted dry, and coated with a spice rub that includes salt.

    5 Replies
    1. re: FoodPopulist

      Chiarello should know better!

      Edit: actually so should Burrell. Wasn't she a prep on Iron Chef? I'd say that takes her out of the 'cook' category into the professionally trained.

        1. re: Bellachefa

          perhaps applying salt at two or more different times in the preparation of a dish, or "flavor layering/development" isn't so "stupid"....?

          i've seen lots of poor knife work, overreliance on unnecessary gadgets, bad technique like adding ingredients and oil to cold pan, then turning burner on. lots of overthinking procedures which should be simple.

          1. re: Bellachefa

            I'm inclined to think you might be wrong.

            There is a school of thought out there that you shouldn't rinse a brined bird because the salt and sugar make the skin better. I would want to experiment before I dismiss the idea that this is a valid option. I've also seen the argument that you don't have to rinse unless you have saltier-than-normal brine.

            If not rinsing off the brine is not a mistake, then I doubt there is any harm to adding a bit more salt to a rub.

            1. re: FoodPopulist

              Well we have changed the direction of my intent, but

              If you don't rince the bird and dry it, the cavity will still be filled with brine mixture. Now you might properly drain the brine and dry the bird, but to pull it out of the brine and toss it on a roasting rack is wrong either way, and shove heavily salted butter rub under the wet skin is not a technique I would think is embraced in the culinary world.

              I'm of the school of brining, rinsing thoroughly in cold running water, drying uncovered in the fridge overnight to help the skin crisp and letting the bird rest at room temp for an hour.

        2. I don't recall which chef/cook it was but recently saw one of FN's teachers in all things culinary take a steak out of the fridge and immediately toss it on the grill after seasoning.

          5 Replies
          1. re: Bellachefa

            Sometimes they will do that to keep the interior cooler so that a nice crust forms on the outside while the interior stays rare. This was talked about on another thread, cooking frozen steaks without thawing.

            1. re: wyogal

              I'm not going to take issue with the rinsing of brine and the addtional seasoning with more salt. That's almost common practice where the brine isn't rinsed away for a saltier (percieved flavorful) taste. There's a double standard, especially in the news media that touts the PC horrors of high fat and sodium in fast food and retail processed foods for headline shock value, yet the entertainment and fine dining segements praise the culinary creations of the trendiest bistro's who's celebrity chef's are serving up cardiovascular and diabetic nightmares by comparison.

              The ones that irk me are the behind-the-scenes kitchen interviews with the chefs. Commonly seen are warped commercial aluminum, teflon coated, frying pans tended on high pressure burners by the staff and then the contents plated revealing a teflon pan with a totally bare aluminum center. There's no attempt to use any plastic or wood utensil, just commercial steel or stainless tools on the surface. Every commercial Lincoln or Volrath frying pan I own warns against high heat and using metallic utensils on the surface. Where's that toxic teflon going? Ever watch how a single ladle or ungloved hand makes it way through several 1/9th pans containing prepped ingredients,stock,and sauces by multiple line chefs?

              1. re: DawnT

                Point? I was referring to the cold steak, no the brine. I'm assuming you were replying to the OP.

                1. re: wyogal

                  The point was the apparent hypocricy.

                  1. re: DawnT

                    I was referring to the reply being directed towards me/my post. Not sure where hypocrisy entered my post.

          2. To get back to the general thrust of this thread, I think that it is stupid when chefs push an authenticity or freshness fetish too far.

            I would consider Anne Burrell saying that she would rather leave her food unseasoned rather than use dried herbs because they taste like dirt to be silly. Sure, if I were running a restaurant, I would use fresh herbs because that is part of the image that I am selling, but for cooking at home, it's shouldn't be looked at as a sin against food.

            1 Reply
            1. re: FoodPopulist

              Thanks for the response FoodPop. As a person who grows over a dozen herbs each spring, I use plenty of dried herbs all year long. What a ludicrous comment that dry herbs taste like dirt. In many dishes they are far superior to fresh herbs.

            2. So far I am seeing disagreement, but no cases of clearly bad advice or bad technique.

              Thinking the chicken will be too salty is one thing, actually following the video and print versions, and finding that the result is too salty is quite another. It would be more definitive if multiple comments on the web recipe report the same problem.

              1. To rinse or not to rinse depends upon brine strength.

                For example, the recipes posted by FoodPopulist shows two extremes.
                Anne Burrell uses 7 quarts of water to 3/4 C Kosher salt.
                7 quarts to under 1 cup of kosher salt makes for a weak brine. In fact, I would salt again before baking.

                While Chiarello's recipe uses 2 quarts of water and 7 C of Kosher salt.
                This to me is crazy talk and an obvious error. Will 7 cups of kosher salt even dissolve in 2 quarts of boiling water?

                I believe I emailed FN about this recipe when it came out. Their response was the recipe was provided by Chiarello so they posted as-is.

                This is the Chiarello's correct recipe -