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Working the grill, any advice? - Page 2

post #31 of 119

A glorified icepic. Even a nail would work

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #32 of 119

BDL  you can't agree  on everything, I know you would not stick a steak with anything . I suppose most people here would not cut steaks with a laser either?

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #33 of 119

touch is the only way that works efficiently ... nobody should be working the grill that can't do it. i didn't know what a cake tester was either, seems pretty impractical. i guess if it worked that great it would be called a steak tester. i agree about not jabbing the meat and that if you absolutely have to a thermometer would be a better method. i also don't agree with pre- cooking, pre -searing or pre- marking steaks and i've worked in some very busy places. you should have enough feel to know when to throw on a medium well or well without it being called. in the case of the $5.99 special i'd think that you would just have steaks cooking the entire time ,especially if most were well done.the poster that said that the busier the grill the easier it is was absolutely correct; it becomes instinct. i had a kid that wanted to learn how to cook steaks properly and we had a steak night on monday or tuesday. i had him touch every steak, for the first 100 i told him how they were cooked, for the second hundred i got him to tell me how they were cooked, and then he cooked the remaining 250 without one coming back. i left shortly after that and he worked steak night for the next two years. he did have a natural feel for cooking though but almost anyone can learn. 

post #34 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by chefedb View Post

A glorified icepic. Even a nail would work

Yes, a nail would work, what's the point?

 

I wouldn't, and don't use cake testers. Using the comparison of a nail vs a cake tester that is probably 4x smaller is comical, though.

post #35 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by rbrad View Post

 i guess if it worked that great it would be called a steak tester.

 

lol.gif

 

 

Quote:

he did have a natural feel for cooking though, but almost anyone can learn.

Sure, but like any other talent or skill that people possess, most people either have it, or they don't. In my experience, this has been the case.

post #36 of 119

oh i agree, it's just that some people get it right away and it can take some others a long time and a lot of work from themselves and the the other cooks they are working with for them to finally get it. i guess the advantage of taking the time to train them is that they tend to be pretty loyal and will usually stay a lot longer and will do it the same way every time. the disadvantage is that they don't accept change well and if someone new tries to show them a better way they resist. staying on the topic, if you get one of those long term guys that you spent a long time with and put him on the grill they become an expert and you rarely have a steak come back but once again the disadvantage is that sometimes they can't work a different station or jump in to help someone else who is in the weeds ..... it's a trade off and obviously isn't the case for everyone in that situation ; i've seen the hard to train guy become the best cook in the kitchen over a period of a couple of years.

post #37 of 119

why not use a toothpic to test cakes as people have done for years and years ? I have never seen a cake tester used in an commercial kitchen I have ever been in in over 50 years.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #38 of 119

i've been in kitchens since 1986 and i've never seen one before either. why is it better than a toothpick or skewer? does that plastic thing pop up when the cake is done?

post #39 of 119

They're definitely used in commercial kitchens.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12Dt7j4a4Is

post #40 of 119

Maybe in kitchens you have been in in Boston area, but not in NY or Florida or Europe as far as I have seen. Most use a cheap toothpic, ist throwaway

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #41 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rambo View Post

Touch.  Touch?  Really, chefs?  Touch?  Do not poke that meat, do not squeeze it, do no touch.  Do not touch your index finger to your thumb and touch that muscle on your hand.  Do NOT touch.  Get a cake-tester.  Get 20 cake testers (you'll lose them).  Put that cake tester into the center of your protein, meat, fish, a scallop if you must.  Then take it out and only then do you TOUCH it to the most sensitive part of your wrist- if it's cold, it's raw, closer to body-heat: perfect rare, once rested.  Warmer than your wrist, med-rare, if it starts getting hot, you're already in mid-well to shoe-leather stage.  Cake tester, young man.  The rest of you, shame...

I really hope you're just trolling.

post #42 of 119

I think the point of using a cake tester is that it retains heat so you can touch it against your lip to get an accurate gauge of the meat's internal temperature. 

 

In answer to Ed's question... He's right about me.  I never probe a steak; there's too much pressure in a hot piece of meat and it loses too much moisture.  That doesn't mean an instant read isn't useful for some big meat things. 

 

Remember that I'm purely a home cook now, so this isn't a recommendation for you line apes, but...  When I cook indoors, I can rely on a fairly constant oven temp so can use time per pound with excellent accuracy... if I remember the start time; and when I cook big meat in the smoker, and the meat starts and goes through the entire cook with the probes in. 

 

BDL

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What were we talking about?
 
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post #43 of 119
Thread Starter 

Anyone have good reads or videos on cleaning short loins, tenderloins, large salmon etc?  I've already done all of these in the new kitchen and can do them again but I'm looking for something to read/watch over and over.  I know mostly it's only going to take practice but I need to get faster.  I'm going to buy new good knives for these things.  I think that if I can't step it up and do these things quicker they'll replace me in a week or two.

post #44 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by chefedb View Post

Maybe in kitchens you have been in in Boston area, but not in NY or Florida or Europe as far as I have seen. Most use a cheap toothpic, ist throwaway

The first time I heard/saw of someone using a cake tester for meat was when I was working in Florida. lol.gif

 

Like I said, I don't and won't ever use one, but you're delusional if you don't think people adopt this method.

 

Here's a NYC Chef cooking fish, and using a trussing needle to "temp" the fish for doneness.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aupPmDtdmNI

post #45 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by GarrettJames View Post

Anyone have good reads or videos on cleaning short loins, tenderloins, large salmon etc?  I've already done all of these in the new kitchen and can do them again but I'm looking for something to read/watch over and over.  I know mostly it's only going to take practice but I need to get faster.  I'm going to buy new good knives for these things.  I think that if I can't step it up and do these things quicker they'll replace me in a week or two.

Where were you a sous chef? i'm still boggled how you had a sous job somewhere and don't have the knowledge of breaking down meat and whole fish?

 

FYI- youtube has videos of everything regarding meat and fish breakdown.

post #46 of 119
Thread Starter 

I cooked sous at an establishment that only had four cooks, a small budget and lower volume.  It's not something I boast about, it was merely a job that I worked my way into because I had more determination and creativity than the other cooks.  The chef didn't have a lot of skills that I didn't have, I learned everything that I could and that was when I had to leave.  They ordered in their meats broken down aside from salmon which was broken down all I had to do was pull pin bones and skin.  It wasn't my choice not to learn these things, I simply had never seen it done and had never had it put in front of me.  Also, I'm twenty years old with four years experience and no family in the industry.  I like to think I'm doing alright and that I'm on the right track! I have of course been searching the web non stop since I got the job, just wondering if any of you seasoned guys had specific "classics" that would be good reads for me.  Thanks guys

post #47 of 119

You are not alone many younger fellows today never learned to break down carcasses or whole undressed fish because it came already doneI was lucky I learned from the old timers of my day. Today some of the instructors in the culinary schools don't even know how. Just like many things are coming already made as is the meat being boxed or pre broken down from the primal cuts. Today many places have to buy bones because nothing is cut on premise . A good fast butcher can save a place a bunle of money even if he only works 2 or 3 days a week.I was not that fast as the butchers or some of the guys I worked with but I could break down 30 to 35 Primal ribs a day into 109s or export . Or 40 or so lamb racks split trimmed and frenched same with Veal Rax. I had great teachers  unfortunatly they are all gone now. The High School I went to was in the 14th street wholesale meat market in New York  back in the 50s and early 60s when the meat was put on a dirty apron and slung over your shoulder from the truck to the cutting room. Health Dept for all intensive purposes did not exist. like it does today. Even some of the delivery trucks short runs were not refrigerated. Funny that less people got food poisoning then then today??

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #48 of 119

There are still great teachers out there.

 

I was lucky enough to get in with two old school Chefs, young at that.  It's a shame places are bringing everything in cryo and fish already cleaned. How in the world are people supposed to learn the basics if they can't be hands on with these products?

post #49 of 119

Make an appointment with a good fish monger, get up early and go to his shop for a couple of days and LEARN.  Do the same with a good custom butcher. 

 

Some fish are complicated, salmon and most other torpedo shaped fish are not. 

  • Scale and wash the fish.  Remove all scales from your board.
  • Slit the belly, make an angled cut behind the gills up to the spine, turn the fish, make another angled cut going through the spine and remove the head, gill structure and all the guts with it. 
  • Clean the cavity with plenty of water.
  • Lay the fish flat, trim the fins from the back and side.  Starting at the head, run a sharp knife along the ribs with the tip touching the back bone all the way to the tail.  Lift the fillet up so you can see the cut clearly and finish it with your knife flat along the backbone, cutting through the rib cage and freeing the fillet from the tail. Do the other side the same way. 
  • Take one fillet and cut out the rib cage completely.  Use your fingers to feel for pin bones, and a pair of needle nose pliers to remove them.  Do the same with the other. 

 

FWIW there are a zillion videos on youtube.

 

BDL

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http://www.cookfoodgood.com
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What were we talking about?
 
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post #50 of 119

Hey, I'll back up Rambo 100%. A cake tester is an much needed tool in the chef's arsenal, IMO. I use them all the time. 

 

On the hot line, obviously, we don't use them for cakes. It's a very simple and accurate method. You get a great cross section of the temperature of the meat. Like Rambo said, if it is cold in the middle, well, still RAW. Cool to blood temp in the middle, rare. Slightly warm in the middle, mid rare. Warm, medium, etc. 

 

Really guys, it works great. I couldn't imagine working a station without one. It can also be used to test whether food is hot or not. Re-heating a braised short rib? Stick the tester in, wait a few seconds, and test it. Easy way to tell. With something like that, all the "touch" in the world can't tell you if it is hot in the center. Maybe a good squeeze will tell you if it is still hard in the middle, but a cake tester is much more accurate and removes all doubt. 

 

I'm an advocate of using both touch and cake testers. I mean, touch is great, but every steak is slightly different. Some Filets have a looser grain, or the meat is softer/mushier. These steaks temp different than a "normal" filet. Some of these steaks feel MR when they are closer to MED. Touch works well and has it's place, but so does a tester. 

 

Works great for fish too. Fried things? Hell yeah. Is my big arancini hot in the middle? I dunno, let me probe it. 

 

Moisture/juice loss is EXTREMELY minimal. Never, ever, ever been a problem. I would argue that the minimal amount of liquid lost (and, again, it really is very very little, if any at all) is of much less concern than over/under cooking a protein and having to re-fire or even replace it. A properly cooked, well rested steak is the goal. I mean, the probe is probably a little less than the width of a paper clip if you unwound it...very thin. I've done this quite literally thousands of times and have never seen a gush of liquid come out of the tiny hole I made after I probed it. In fact, a rare/MR steak let out no discernible liquid, and the only bits I might see on a MED/MW steak is a few drops of red blood/juice form around the hole. Like I said, I've never seen more than a few drops of liquid come out, at most. 

 

A cake tester isn't nearly as thick as a insta-read probe. I know that when you stick a probe in meat like that a lot of juice come out of the hole (we've all done it on a roast or turkey I'm sure) but I'm telling you guys, a cake tester doesn't do it. 

 

Lol, actually, at my current job that I started like a year and a half ago, I walked in on my first day and unpacked all my stuff. The other cooks wondered why I had a cake tester with me...thought it was stupid. They didn't get it--but man, I was on fish station and I couldn't imagine working fish without one (it's how I learned). I continued to use mine, taking my lumps from the guys. Slowly but surely, over the course of a year or so, cooks would ask to borrow my cake tester for various things. A few months ago, we had a new head chef start, and he brought his sous with him. They wondered why I was the only cook in the kitchen with a cake tester...now it's standard issue for everyone on the line. Kinda felt like a trailblazer, and I felt a bit vindicated in the end. 

 

Just kinda funny to me that they started out thinking it was stupid, but now see the light. 

 

Rambo, keep it up!

 

I will also add that it seems to be a high end fine dining technique/method, and I don't know how widespread it is. But in like 4 of the 5 kitchens I've ever worked in, we used testers. Also, words like "jabbing" and comparing them to "nails" is pretty silly. I mean, that video that SquirrelRJ posted featured one of the best chefs in the world, so take that how you will. 

post #51 of 119

Just to clarify one thing; early on, when I talked about dragging a steak off the hot spot for a minute while you get your bearings I certainly don't advise "sandbagging" at all.  I very rarely do this, but it's preferable to idle a few things for literally just a couple of minutes than burn everything up and have to start over (losing all the meat & and starting over at full-time).  While ChefEd's suggestion is probably excellent for banquet cooking I really don't need to do this on a daily basis at my job.  But it's certainly the norm at some times for some items.  For instance, if I'm getting railed out balls-deep I'm gonna count chix breasts on my tickets and then toss on one or two more in the assumption that I or someone else missed one.  I have no worry that I'll sell it within a few minutes if it turns out to be long.  And if I don't, Scooby Snacks!lol.gif

"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
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"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
post #52 of 119
Its definitely about finding a balance for the volume that you do. When I have 15 burgers and a few steaks and salmon on during a rush I'll often pull stuff and "idle" it just like you said so I don't lose track and overcook anything while I'm plating. I organize grill space by meat temp but sometimes you just need an all day count so you can fire ten things them figure out temps as each ticket comes up.

On a side note the chef asked me last night if I had a cake tester since I was picking up a grilled chicken leg in the oven. Probing it to make sure it was heated through was the idea.
post #53 of 119

A Chicken leg that was just being reheated? If anything, Chicken is the one thing I certainly wouldn't trust a cake tester on.

post #54 of 119

FWIW the needle probes from Thermoworks are about as thin as a cake tester, and they read in around 2-4 seconds...probably as fast as using the skewer.

 

One thing you'll also work out as you get used to the particular grill as that you're cooking by the clock in your head and appearance of the item as well.  Given consistent cuts (especially the way we cut our tops) I don't generally even need to touch them to know the temp.  Also, while I do agree that touch isn't an accurate method of temping something like prime rib it's pretty accurate for most steaks unless you're a steakhouse that has some enormous cuts.  A really large chateubriand might also be a little dodgy.

"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
post #55 of 119

Yeah thats a good point too. On a big, bone in ribeye (25-28oz), Porterhouse etc. all benefit from a cake tester. Racks of lamb can be tricky sometimes too...

 

I'm telling you guys, its a great technique. 

post #56 of 119

I suppose it is a good technique, but I already own 2 Thermopens...

"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
post #57 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by GarrettJames View Post

Anyone have good reads or videos on cleaning short loins, tenderloins, large salmon etc?  I've already done all of these in the new kitchen and can do them again but I'm looking for something to read/watch over and over.  I know mostly it's only going to take practice but I need to get faster.  I'm going to buy new good knives for these things.  I think that if I can't step it up and do these things quicker they'll replace me in a week or two.

I don't know if everyone does it this way, but most of the breaking down of tenderloins I do with my hands. Even the silverskin you can fit a finger in and separate it from the beef without cutting the loin and wasting product. I don't really ever put my knife to it until it needs to be trimmed between the side muscle and the loin. Also ask your chef if you're to take the little notches on the underside off. Some places take them off completely for a leaner steak, some leave them on for flavor and bulk

 

Strips and ribeyes are easy. After you cut enough you can pretty much tell the weight by how thick you're cutting. Some strips are a bit interesting going from very wide to very very narrow, so you'll have to pay attention to each of the last cuts. Trim the fat off however your establishment does and tag it and store

 

T-bones and porterhouses just need a saw and a trim. You'll probably also need to clean the crevice in the bone too, so watch for that

 

Fish can be tricky. You've got to be confident with your cuts. If you hesitate, the underside will show it. Take one or two large slices as opposed to several small ones. boar_d_laze pretty much covered the rest of that

 

I'm not sure what cuts you guys break down, but those are the big 5 steaks right there

post #58 of 119

The 1000's of tenderloins i've broken down, i've never been able to use a finger, or even attemped for that matter, to get silverskin off, i'd be far too afraid of ripping the meat itself.

 

I'd like to see a demo of someone breaking down a whole, uncleaned tenderloin with basically just their hands.. it just seems like extra work when you can just use a knife.

post #59 of 119

i have been on vacation  for  a while and now reading all the posts at once for the first time.   makes me miss north american cooking on a line.  not too much call for the steak cooking in austria.  but some great advise.  the cake tester is interesting might give it a try next time i do a grillteller for the tageskarte.  

post #60 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by SquirrelRJ View Post

A Chicken leg that was just being reheated? If anything, Chicken is the one thing I certainly wouldn't trust a cake tester on.

Your statement makes no sense. I needed to know if it was hot in the middle.
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