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Looking for unusual cooking techniques and ideas? Pics included.

JB BANNISTER Jul 9, 2012 12:00 AM

I enjoy cooking things in a very unusual way or with unusual equipment. I am looking for ideas to keep my friends entertained.

Somethings I have done.

Smoked Salmon in a cardboard box (Alton Brown method)

cooked hot dogs and bun by setting a 1/2 gallon milk carton on fire.

Cooked a whole Llama over open fire also did a Cow whole and a bunch of other animals all whole.

Cooked chicken and fish wrapped in clay.

Lots of big Dutch Oven cooking over open fire and coals.

Cooked Salmon in foil by Placing it on my car engine.

Glazed my Thanksgiving ham with a "Super Sized" blow torch

Huge 26inch paellas over fire

Just to name a few.

I am open to all ideas just please be realistic.

Does NOT have to be just Big Stuff.

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  1. JB BANNISTER RE: JB BANNISTER Jul 9, 2012 12:05 AM

    Here is the cow, the large paella, Orion cookers, la caja china

    1 Reply
    1. re: JB BANNISTER
      darrentran87 RE: JB BANNISTER Jul 11, 2012 05:35 PM

      omg that is freakin' awesome!!!

    2. y
      youngmodernist RE: JB BANNISTER Jul 9, 2012 08:27 AM

      Have you tried foil-lined pizza box ovens? car dashboard cooking? eggs on hot stones? dishwasher cooking? these aren't huge or very elaborate, but still very interesting things I've heard of.

      2 Replies
      1. re: youngmodernist
        JB BANNISTER RE: youngmodernist Jul 9, 2012 08:41 AM

        I have poached fish in a dish washer and my try cooking cookies in the dash of my car soon. Egges on Stone?

        1. re: JB BANNISTER
          drongo RE: JB BANNISTER Jul 9, 2012 04:14 PM

          Here's a pic of cookies baked on dashboard: http://failblog.org/2012/07/05/white-... (rather a judgmental URL, btw).

          It took that person 3.5 hours to bake them... must be someone from New Jersey or some such place with wimpy summers -- in SC I'm sure they'd cook in less than an hour!

      2. splatgirl RE: JB BANNISTER Jul 9, 2012 09:14 AM

        This falls into small but fabulous: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnBF6b...
        The technique works whether you cook it in the microwave or not. SO GREAT and fast.

        P.S. I have that size paella pan and use it quite regularly. I call it the sled.
        Your whole animal cookery is AWESOME. If I had easier access to whole beasts, I would SO be that girl that digs a cooking pit in her back yard. For sub 100lb. stuff, my wood-fired oven is the go-to apparatus.

        3 Replies
        1. re: splatgirl
          KitchenBarbarian RE: splatgirl Jul 9, 2012 07:49 PM

          Is this (corn in the husk in the microwave) REALLY news to people? I've actually never done it any other way - though I don't waste a big chunk of the corn by slicing the bottom off. I just grab the husk and in two pulls it's shucked and de-silked. And I haven't wasted so much as a niblet.

          Seriously, I thought EVERYBODY did it this way. I guess I should have made a youtube video YEARS ago, LOL!

          1. re: KitchenBarbarian
            drongo RE: KitchenBarbarian Jul 10, 2012 05:59 AM

            The point of the technique was not the microwave (as splatgirl mentioned) but cutting the stem end off and shaking out the corn to leave the silk behind.

            1. re: drongo
              KitchenBarbarian RE: drongo Jul 10, 2012 06:51 AM

              So? My method removes the silks and is quicker and easier, involving no sharp implements and wasting none of that luscious corn.

              I really don't get the appeal of that video, but then I've been enjoying painlessly de-silked corn for decades.

        2. drongo RE: JB BANNISTER Jul 9, 2012 09:26 AM

          Take a look at Adam Perry Lang's new book called "Charred and Scruffed". He's intent on inventing (maybe reinventing?) different ways of cooking. For example, "clinching" involves blowing the ash off the hot coals (e.g. with a hair dryer) and then cooking meat right on the coals (not inches away -- right up close). The name "clinching" is by analogy with boxing where you can't get hit if you clinch with your opponent -- and similarly, if the meat is "clinched" right on the coals you have less chance of a flare-up... and so you get some crunch without excessive charring. "Scruffing" involves roughing up the surface to better hold seasonings and bastes. "High and Slow" is a variation on low and slow -- rather than using a small heat source, he uses an intense heat source but with the meat held far away... the goal being that you still get the aromatization from drippings onto very hot coals (and you can also move the meat close to the very hot coals at the end to develop a crust).

          I admit that I have not tried these techniques yet....


          5 Replies
          1. re: drongo
            1POINT21GW RE: drongo Jul 9, 2012 10:48 AM

            Instead of "inventing" or "reinventing", maybe a better word for some of those methods might be "reintroducing". Cooking directly on coals is hundreds, if not thousands, of years old.

            1. re: 1POINT21GW
              Gio RE: 1POINT21GW Jul 9, 2012 11:00 AM

              I understand that cooking directly on hot flat rocks is the nouva trend...

              1. re: 1POINT21GW
                drongo RE: 1POINT21GW Jul 9, 2012 04:06 PM

                Yes, you're right... and cooking some things (such as potatoes) directly on the coals has always been popular. Still, I give APL credit for his experimental approach to playing with fire.

              2. re: drongo
                travelerjjm RE: drongo Jul 10, 2012 09:28 AM

                Alton Brown did the "clinching" thing on his show some years back. I have yet to try it as I only have a gas grill.

                1. re: travelerjjm
                  porker RE: travelerjjm Jul 10, 2012 11:39 AM

                  My buddy did it but wasn't impressed - it might possibly have something to do with him forgetting to blow the ash off....

              3. drongo RE: JB BANNISTER Jul 9, 2012 04:22 PM

                In South Africa, they have something called potjekos (pot food) - it's probably similar to your Dutch Oven cooking over fire and coals.

                I love this picture captioned "Curious wild dog looking for left-overs in our potjekos" ... that's not a "wild dog" in the usual sense, it's a Black-Backed Jackal.

                1. porker RE: JB BANNISTER Jul 9, 2012 04:58 PM

                  I had read somewhere about cooking weiners with electric current. Being somewhat bored on a rainy afternoon years ago I decided to give it a go.
                  A board-mounted 120v switch was coupled to a 100W light bulb and two "probes" (14 guage household wire) in parallel to the bulb all wired to a plug.
                  Weiner was placed on hot and neutral probe, switch thrown, light bulb turns on (the bulb wasn't needed - just a dressed up indicator) and the weiner starts to cook. 60 seconds later, cooked weenie.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: porker
                    KitchenBarbarian RE: porker Jul 9, 2012 07:56 PM

                    You mean like this?


                    1. re: KitchenBarbarian
                      porker RE: KitchenBarbarian Jul 10, 2012 03:31 AM

                      Yeah, but I didn't use an adjustable power supply or ammeter or alligator clips - just garden variety 14 guage household wiring.
                      I think I still have the contraption in my basement - will post a pict if I do.

                      1. re: porker
                        JB BANNISTER RE: porker Jul 10, 2012 07:03 AM

                        I can see doing this for kids at the next Bovinova. I really like this idea and want to try it with a good sausage.

                        1. re: JB BANNISTER
                          porker RE: JB BANNISTER Jul 10, 2012 11:45 AM

                          I saw a commercial one awhile back, something like this
                          I assume the lid opens and closes the circuit, acting as a safety kill switch.

                          I'll dust off my contraption and test a few sausages while lounging in the pool...

                        2. re: porker
                          travelerjjm RE: porker Jul 10, 2012 09:26 AM

                          In the 1970s this was common at our engineering open house in college.

                    2. drongo RE: JB BANNISTER Jul 9, 2012 04:59 PM

                      I grew up in Zimbabwe, and for 11 years I was shipped off to boarding school. The school food was awful -- so bad that some of the guys (not me) would eat grasshoppers (which were very common) rather than the school food. We didn't have stove etc., and fires would have attracted the discipline-minded housemaster and his prefects. So we became experts at cooking on light bulbs. We'd pay school employees to bring us meat and other food, and then cook it in our study room over the light bulbs in the desk lamps. With direct contact between food and light bulb, it works quite well (though I presume not with our modern fluorescent bulbs).

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: drongo
                        pdxgastro RE: drongo Jul 11, 2012 05:15 PM

                        You cooked ala EZBake oven! LOL

                        1. re: pdxgastro
                          drongo RE: pdxgastro Jul 14, 2012 01:19 PM

                          Hey, I just googled EZBake... and maybe we invented the EZBake Oven! This was back in 1960s or early 1970s. I guess it's an obvious idea (though perhaps not to a generation that only knows the new fluorescent bulbs).

                      2. porker RE: JB BANNISTER Jul 9, 2012 05:20 PM

                        Just today, I read about cooking mussels under a flaming bed of pine needles,
                        Apparently if done just right, the mussels take on a piney flavour, if done wrong, your house burns down.

                        Howsabout cooking fish in a dome of salt?
                        scroll down a bit. I like this technique with fingerling potatoes as well.

                        I've cooked trout in tin cans in the coals of a fire (OK not very dramatic - we didn't have anything else...


                        As kids, we'd collect mud out of puddles, cover an apple with with it, place it in the fire coals. 10 minutes later, the mud'd be hard and the apple a sauce-like dessert.

                        1. meatn3 RE: JB BANNISTER Jul 9, 2012 06:55 PM

                          Make a low-tech solar oven from recycled cardboard and start cooking!


                          1. j
                            Jibe RE: JB BANNISTER Jul 9, 2012 07:19 PM

                            I've never done this, but have always wanted to try - pit cooking where the food is covered completely underground. If you google it, ther are plenty of sites & info

                            1. t
                              tastesgoodwhatisit RE: JB BANNISTER Jul 9, 2012 09:57 PM

                              Duck confit in a rice cooker?

                              1. JB BANNISTER RE: JB BANNISTER Jul 10, 2012 01:42 PM

                                I get good ideas for here. http://www.youtube.com/user/BarbecueT...

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: JB BANNISTER
                                  travelerjjm RE: JB BANNISTER Jul 10, 2012 01:55 PM

                                  There is a Chinese technique just like the video.

                                  I have looked for a salt block and not found one -- I will need to look online. Instead I have used a pan of rock salt. I did shrimp that way and it was fantastic.

                                  1. re: JB BANNISTER
                                    Veggo RE: JB BANNISTER Jul 10, 2012 02:02 PM

                                    JB, with much admiration from a distance you have mastered the roasting of cloven hoofed animals and feathered friends of all sorts. Time now for fish. Suggestion: at my weekend initiation as an hermano to my 13 Mayan brothers in the Cozumel jungle, we baked a 3 foot redfish in banana leaves, with slices of limes, onion, tomato, chilies of various sorts, and achiote, in a pit. A delicious memory.
                                    You can do this if you can get the right fish.


                                    1. re: Veggo
                                      JB BANNISTER RE: Veggo Jul 10, 2012 06:00 PM

                                      We have talked converting the llama rack into a two sided Swordfish rack. We could easily do something 5 feet long.

                                      1. re: Veggo
                                        sunshine842 RE: Veggo Jul 11, 2012 04:17 AM

                                        Snapper in banana leaves was my favorite meal on a trip to the Yucatan way more years ago than I'm going to admit to.

                                    2. k
                                      kengk RE: JB BANNISTER Jul 10, 2012 02:03 PM

                                      You can get a compost heap hot enough to cook with.

                                      1. cowboyardee RE: JB BANNISTER Jul 10, 2012 07:16 PM

                                        A few ideas:

                                        Beer cooler sous vide has a kind of theatricality to it that normal, immersion circulator bath sous vide does not. And it's not a terrible way to make a steak or piece of fish, by any means.

                                        You could roast a pig underground. Sounds like it might be up your alley. Never tried it myself, though.

                                        Traditional haggis - cooked in a sheep's stomach - might be interesting.

                                        You also might like a garbage can clam bake.

                                        On a related note, oysters wrapped in seaweed and then roasted over an open smoky fire - a kind of traditional Native American technique I believe - make a pretty excellent party feast.

                                        You can also cook grains or boil water with a solar cooker - you could even make your own solar cooker if you read up on em. A solar box cooker can get hot enough to slow-roast some meats or do some kinds of baking.

                                        You can cold-smoke various items (fish, cheese, whatever) in a Weber grill using an aluminum can full of wood shavings with a soldering iron stuck inside.

                                        1. j
                                          justalex RE: JB BANNISTER Jul 10, 2012 07:29 PM

                                          This is certainly not new, but I remember my great uncle making rosin potatoes. He did it outdoors by boiling a huge vat of pine resin and dropping whole Idaho type potatoes into the bubbling goo.

                                          It's the one and only time I've ever seen anyone do that, so it's unusual to me though maybe not so much to other CH'ers.

                                          1. porker RE: JB BANNISTER Jul 11, 2012 03:41 AM

                                            Not terribly unusual, but I'm doing a riff on a caja china.
                                            We have friends who live downtown who enjoyed some whole hog of mine. I cook it in a cinderblock pit a la 3 guys from Miami pig roast. So these nice folks wanna do it at home with a lamb. They don't have a yard, only a small back porch off a back alley - no place for a pit.
                                            This gave me an excuse to build a caja china. Thing is, the caja is a simple box, cooking with convection heat. Not necessarily a bad thing, but no smoke flavor.
                                            I've seen people use a smoke generator and pump it into the box, but that wasn't appealing either.
                                            So, I'm building a modified caja china to burn charcoal on the inside. There will be charcoal holders in each corner with dedicated controlled vents to supply O2. Theres slots in each corner of the top to add charcoal as needed without opening the whole box. I'm planning 1 or 2 chimneys for air-flow (a bit of testing beforehand will determine 1 or 2).
                                            Actually, my goal is to make a portable pit. Like I say, not tres unusual, but I haven't seen too much of these around.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: porker
                                              Veggo RE: porker Jul 11, 2012 03:59 AM

                                              In Texas, contraptions similar to what you describe are fabricated from oilfield pipe and parts. They have trailer hitches, axles, and sometimes license plates and brake lights. Impressive, and do they ever produce great smoked meat!

                                              1. re: Veggo
                                                porker RE: Veggo Jul 11, 2012 08:41 AM

                                                I've seen some of these, and yeah, they go from bush league, back wood contraptions to huge feats of engineering.
                                                No trailer hitch for me, although its got an axle - I picked an old Schwinn stroller outta the dump and removed the wheels. Its going to have wheelbarrow-type locomotion.
                                                Will post pictures when done if anyones interested.

                                                1. re: porker
                                                  Veggo RE: porker Jul 11, 2012 05:28 PM

                                                  I'm interested - deal me in. This is a slice of what CH is all about.

                                            2. c
                                              Chowrin RE: JB BANNISTER Jul 11, 2012 05:30 PM

                                              steamed hams.

                                              1. pdxgastro RE: JB BANNISTER Jul 11, 2012 05:35 PM

                                                In Northern Italy (Brescia/Bergamo area), when they have a picnic in the mountains, they cook meat on a large, flat piece of slate (think flagstone) over a fire. Which in itself is pretty different and clever. But I like a dish they always save for later: on that same hot slate, they'll place pieces of leftover cheese: Grana Padana. It gets all hot and melty. They call it Formaggio StrinĂ¹. Yum.

                                                1. Kris in Beijing RE: JB BANNISTER Jul 11, 2012 05:40 PM

                                                  Bamboo? It's not very contraption-y, but good [although I'm not sure if you'd like my friend's favourite dish, which is rice paddy rat steamed in bamboo].

                                                  And a blog you might like to go with:

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