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March 03, 2020
TEMPERATURE: THE MOST IMPORTANT VARIABLE IN COOKING.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Time and temperature - two incredibly important variables when cooking. Think BBQ competitions, a place where chefs use exact science to produce mouth-watering results that only come from following consistent cook times and cooking temperatures. The meat is monitored with multiple probes as it cooks to perfection. Two minutes two long, or five degrees too cool, and the meat is ruined, dry, or stringy. When preparing to boil seafood, we prepare the wallet. An expensive occasion, we shell out hundreds of dollars at the grocery stores and seafood markets but ignore an imperative variable when cooking for our family and friends… temperature
Tossing hundreds of dollars of ingredients into our pot, we follow an age-old technique and recipe that is entirely based on a time sequence. We think potatoes… fifteen minutes, mushrooms… eight minutes, crawfish...three minutes. What about temperature? Sure, we all know boiling water is 212 degrees, but we don’t want to overcook our seafood. So, why do we think throwing a bag of ice or a few ears of frozen corn into the pot is going to accurately drop the temperature so as to prevent overcooking of that seafood? It won’t. We are married to a time sequence, but I’m here to tell you there is so much more to it.
Putting it simply, you have to drop the temperature quickly following the cooking of any food in order to prevent overcooking and maximize flavor. Seafood meat is no exception and, in addition, is incredibly delicate. It cooks quickly, and seconds lie between a ruined meal and a hearty cajun feast. It is imperative that we drop the temperature quickly. No ice, no frozen corn, no spraying the pot with a single hose stream. You need 360 degree cooling power to drop that temperature quickly and maximize your flavor, and as you rapidly cool the water (preparing to soak), your seafood will contract and take on the flavorful liquid and stock you have placed them within. As the temperature continues to drop, the seafood will sink and cease cooking. The temperature in which seafood meat will stop cooking is 150 degrees fahrenheit. Monitor your temperature drop well, cool the water, and produce incredible results.
So, time AND temperature. It is imperative that we think about both variables when boiling to create a consistent process every time. As your friends and family say, “That was the best batch I’ve ever had” remember the two variables that can make every batch exactly the same. Dropping the temperature quickly following the cook time of your seafood makes all the difference between a tough and flavorless crawfish tail and one that slides out easily and is packed with juicy flavor. Monitor and drop your temperature quickly using the most effective temperature control products in the boiling game from the Boil Boss.
February 11, 2020