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How to learn how to cook?

OK there are allot of great threads on here on great looking dishes. I can not come close to making these.

I can cook pork butts, briskets and spatchcock chickens/turkey no problem.  Chilli in CO dutch oven comes out good.

But allot of simpler cooks are not good

I see allot of stuffed meats (pork loins, chicken) that I can not do for the life of me.  Everythign oozes out all over the Egg (another story).  Can not figure out to stuff and keep everything in.  Unless I am supposed to use only one spinach leaf only.

I can not cook a steak right and that come out good.

Tried prime ribs - never come out good - lack of taste and tenderness. Pot roast came out like cardboard.

Ribs I did better last time I tried but need work.

Where did you learn to cook?  How can I learn? 

_______________________________________________________________
LBGE, Adjustable Rig, Spider, High-Que grate, maverick ET-732, Thermapen,


Garnerville, NY
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Comments

  • MickeyMickey Posts: 15,310
    Rob please call me. 254.289.1877  Mickey
    Salado TX Egg Family: 2 Large and a very well used Mini, just added a Mini Max +++ 5th Salado EggFest is March 14, 2015 http://saladoeggheadgathering.blogspot.com

  • My Mom taught me she said I was such an a**hole I better learn no one would live with me lol.
    Clyde Texas
  • If you can get a brisket to come out good, routinely, you are doing something right. Mickey will look after you and start you on the road to success. 

    Prime rib is usually an easy cook. I use Amazing Ribs Cow Crust or Penzey's English Prime rib rub. Bones off, tied to be circular. Cook at 225-250º until IT is either serving temp or 10º below if you plan to sear. PR does not a sear, many like it without a charred crust. 

    good luck!
    Delta B.C. - Vee-Gan: old Indian word for poor hunter. 
  • calikingcaliking Posts: 5,864
    Well I learned how to cook many things from my mom, but bbq I learned from the internet :) Hung out on forums like this one and learned what I could from helpful people. When I read something that I thought was a good tip, I wrote it down in a small notebook, so that the next time I wanted to make ribs, I could turn to the ribs page and see how I should go about it. 

    Practice is key, of course. Maybe you can start with one thing that you would really like to cook right? Spend a few days planning your cook, then go for it. Taking notes worked for me, but maybe I'm just geeky like that. After some time, once I had learned some basics and techniques, I felt much more comfortable.

    #1 LBGE December 2012 • #2 SBGE February  2013 • #3 Mini May 2013
    A happy BGE family in Houston, TX.
  • EggcelsiorEggcelsior Posts: 9,784
    One thing to try may be the America's Test Kitchen Cooking School. It's online video-based instruction and you can pick topics you want to learn. They send me free videos from time to time and they are pretty good.
  • Try watching some cooking shows (not just bbq related). One that I have watched in the past is "Chef at Home". He never does anything too fancy and gives a lot of practical advice.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Well, "spa-Peggy" is kind of like spaghetti. I'm not sure what Peggy does different, if anything. But it's the one dish she's kind of made her own.
    ____________________
    Aurora, Ontario, Canada
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 16,258
    i try and NOT cook the way mom would, seems to work
    :)) if your steaks are bland, up the salt before searing infact practice the steak cooks with salt only and try alll the methods a few times each til you nail the one you like.
  • Try watching some cooking shows (not just bbq related). One that I have watched in the past is "Chef at Home". He never does anything too fancy and gives a lot of practical advice.
    Don't think big Michael is on in the US. He's an egger too.

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

  • For a couple of hundred bucks, get yourself The New Professional Chef by the Culinary Institute of America. It explains everything from a students point of view. It's the best investment I've ever made for cooking.

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

  • henapplehenapple Posts: 12,469
    Just come spend a week with me.. We'll find someone to teach us both. Either mentally or in a journal document your cooks. Try something different if it's not working. Don't give up. After several pizzas I'm still disappointed but I'll learn... Might waste $100 worth of King Arthur flour, but I will learn. What's wrong with your steaks. Also how long have you been egging?
    Green egg, dead animal and alcohol. The "Boro".. TN 
  • robnybbqrobnybbq Posts: 1,625
    edited September 2013
    I've had the Egg for 1.5 years,  I like it and the food is allot better than in the house but can not compare to dining out for flavor allot of times.

    I went out Saturday night and order a NY strip steak that was tender and FULL of flavor.  The last one I tried at home just tasted like plain ground beef - waste of $20 on a butcher cut steak.  Did not have that nice rich steak flavor on the crust - I even used the spider in the fire pit.

    I am just missing something in the cooking.  I prepare the whole recipes exactly how they are written and some come out OK but not WOW - that was a great meal.  I try and use fresh vegetables, herbs, spices but it does not make a difference. 

    Now with the low-carb crap I am eating its getting to me more and more that all my flavors are gone.  Made meatballs last night (without breadcrumbs) - Let's just say I will not be making them again.  Lost allot of weight but its not going to last because I need more flavor in the meals.

    Another thing is I have ground meat at home, brisket, chuck, pork, and the burgers are OK but they fall apart.  Whats the secret compared to store bought ground beef?

    Mickey - I will try to call later.



    _______________________________________________________________
    LBGE, Adjustable Rig, Spider, High-Que grate, maverick ET-732, Thermapen,


    Garnerville, NY
  • vidalia1vidalia1 Posts: 7,091

    If you live in the Atlanta, GA area my wife and I do cooking classes through the Cook's Warehouse. Our classes specialize in Big Green Egg cooking....look online for the class schedule..we hope to see you there...

     

  • robnybbqrobnybbq Posts: 1,625
    I got a Thermopen - The be honest I have used it to cook steaks and they still come out over/under cooked.


    _______________________________________________________________
    LBGE, Adjustable Rig, Spider, High-Que grate, maverick ET-732, Thermapen,


    Garnerville, NY
  • EggcelsiorEggcelsior Posts: 9,784
    How do you test the temp? Go in the side of a steak. IF you go in from the top you can get wildly different temps as the probe can get near the edge of the meat.
  • @Eggcelsior  I've never even considered measuring temps from the side of the meat.  That's especially helpful.

    @robnybbq  I hear you man.  I think the bar is set exceptionally high around here. It's unfair to compare yourself to the heavy hitters on this forum.

    Before I got the Egg, I would ruin steaks one after the other.  Even a year after I got the Egg, I struggle.  There are so many variables, to include cut of meat, thickness, meat quality, cooking temp, and apparently now...even where you take the temp of the meat. I've done a huge 2.5lb Cowboy steak, and nailed it.  I've done 1.5" thick, dry aged NY Strips and they turned out awesome. But, I've also done 10oz ribeyes and turned them into roof shingles.  It's a process, and by no means am I anywhere near 100% success.  It's better than it used to be though. 

    If you're already using a Thermapen, the only other advice I can give is to make sure you're letting the steak rest.  I typically cook them hot and fast, and pull them about 5-8 degrees before target temp.  It will climb up on its own after you pull it.  Once the temp stabilizes and begins to come back down, you're set.  Best of luck! 

    LBGE since June 2012

    Omaha, NE

  • The best lesson I've learned and tried to hand down to the next generation is be fearless in your cooking. Try it; analyze it; tweak it; and try again. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

    Start slow and build. Getting to know the BGE and it's tricks; next is rubs; followed with playing with the flavors of smoke and the various meets you like. Next up is brining and injecting (learning myself).

    Finally, coach was right: Practice Practice Practice (Corollary: lots of good meals with friends and love ones.)

     

  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 16,258
    that perfect steak is out there, you just need to pay attention to details and not what works for me but what works for you. for me a thick steak gets trexed, a thin one gets hot tubbed. little details are big steaps for me, i sear with only salt on the egg, i blotter dry the steak just befor the sear as it helps in building the crust. pepper goes on after the steak is cooked for me, i like tellicherry fresh cracked pepper. after cooking a steak. make sure to rest it, not on a plate but on a rack, the cold plate seems to suck the juices out of a steak.  tougher cuts get pulled off the egg at lower temps, a fatty tender cut can be cooked a few degrees higher, the little things count.  slt shakers dont work for me, i have salt in a container and use my hands, salt goes on before the sear, i figure some falls off so i put more on after it comes right off the grill so it melds in during the rest. take some notes of your steak cooks
  • SMITTYtheSMOKERSMITTYtheSMOKER Posts: 2,091
    edited September 2013

    read/practice/read/practice/read/practice/read/practice/read/practice

     

    I'm convinced the good cooks simply have more experience. There are no shortcuts to gain experience. IMO

     

    -SMITTY     

    from SANTA CLARA, CA

  • robnybbqrobnybbq Posts: 1,625
    Same with chicken - Spatchcock - Great and fill of flavor/juicy.  Breasts - Cardboard - Tried brine-ing as well - no difference.  Tried stuffing thighs - most of the cheese/spinach was in the drip pan. 

    It also not just the Egg it all cooking.  The Egg should just make it better. 

    Same with vegetables - always dry and bland - better off boiling them.

    _______________________________________________________________
    LBGE, Adjustable Rig, Spider, High-Que grate, maverick ET-732, Thermapen,


    Garnerville, NY
  • robnybbqrobnybbq Posts: 1,625
    And on top of all of this I need to get lo-carb (less than 5 carbs total) incorporated.  This makes it very tough to add lots of flavor to foods without sauce.

    _______________________________________________________________
    LBGE, Adjustable Rig, Spider, High-Que grate, maverick ET-732, Thermapen,


    Garnerville, NY
  • CookinbobCookinbob Posts: 1,340
    You can learn a lot watching food network, and you can get a lot of ideas.  I like Guy Fieri (DD&D), Restaurant Impossible, Chopped, and Iron Chef among others.  Lots of recipes are beyond me, but you learn technique too.
    XLBGE, Small BGE, Homebrew and Guitars
    Rochester, NY
  • Don't forget to have fun while you are learning! Tonight is my first pizza on the egg. My wife is cooking hers inside because she is not feeling adventurous.
    I've just begun like you but I'm having a ball good or bad.

    Good luck and keep at it.
    Nowhere Indiana
  • allsidallsid Posts: 371
    I am going to go out on a limb here and guess you are not comfy with seasonings, especially salt.  Make sure you are salting meat, and also at appropriate times.  From a seasoning perspective, if you do not already have some dizzy pig seasonings, treat yourself to some.  You can get samples on the website for a reasonable cost which will allow you to try some out without breaking the bank. 

    Unless I am feeling gutsy, or super lazy, I will never cook even a $ 5.00 steak without a temperature probe inserted.  I almost always reverse sear, but that is just a good method for me.

    Cooking is just like any new hobby-  keep at it, you will get it!
    robnybbq said:

    I went out Saturday night and order a NY strip steak that was tender and FULL of flavor.  The last one I tried at home just tasted like plain ground beef - waste of $20 on a butcher cut steak.  Did not have that nice rich steak flavor on the crust - I even used the spider in the fire pit.
  • njlnjl Posts: 784
    One trick that can help big time with NY strip (which could otherwise be a little tough) is a Jaccard meat tenderizer.  It's a few dozen tiny blades that you jab into the meat before cooking.  It tenderizes and as a side effect, the holes created speed up cooking...so watch out if you're used to certain cooking times for meats of a given thickness.

    I did giant NY strips tonight, which I was quite happy with.  One was 1.8lbs, the other 1.85lbs.  I sat them out on the counter at least an hour, jaccarded them, gave them a good sprinkling of my salt mix (mostly kosher salt, a little fresh ground black pepper and paprika), and cooked them indirect about 40min @300F flipping/and rotating them at 10, 20, 25, 30, 35, and finally removing them at 40min.  At the 25min mark and each flip time after that, I stuck one or both with a thermapen to check their internal temp.  At 40min/117F, they were ready for searing.

  • robnybbqrobnybbq Posts: 1,625
    I have DP rubs. Cow lick is good and when I use it the outside if the steak has the cow lick rub flavor but not much flavor throughout the meat. Same with pork loin. The edges taste good but he rest is bland.

    _______________________________________________________________
    LBGE, Adjustable Rig, Spider, High-Que grate, maverick ET-732, Thermapen,


    Garnerville, NY
  • robnybbqrobnybbq Posts: 1,625
    And your right about other spices. I don't have a clue on how to use them to induce great flavors.

    _______________________________________________________________
    LBGE, Adjustable Rig, Spider, High-Que grate, maverick ET-732, Thermapen,


    Garnerville, NY
  • Take some cooking classes. Focus on techniques and not on specific recipes. I watch every cooking show on PBS esp. Americas test kitchen and cooks country. Invest in some of their cookbooks since they tell you why a recipe works and not just a list of steps
    XL, large and small. Hartwell GA on beautiful Lake Hartwell.
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 16,258
    if you like chicken spatchcocked then cook the breast the same way and split them after cooking, its the only way ill cook those. i sauced these later but didnt have to, it was sopping juicy. with the steaks have you tried the hot tub method, salt it with kosher, bag it, submerge it in hot water for 2 hours, the flavor will get in there

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