Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Cooking Myths: Recipes With Alcohol

Cooking Myths: Recipes With Alcohol -

Cooking With AlcoholThis weekend I was watching reruns of Alton Browns Good Eats (one of my all time favorite cooking shows), and I caught an episode that was completely dedicated to cooking with alcoholwell, mainly wine and beer. Lately I have taken an even more increased interest in incorporating these flavors into my own cooking, so I quickly hit the record button on my DVR. Coincidentally, Alton proceeded to breakdown the science behind two specific recipes that I have been experimenting with extensively myself; wine marinated lamb steaks and beer bread. But that wasnt the nugget of information that piqued my interest.

Weve all seen those cooking shows, live demonstrations, or even have a drunk uncle who glugs a hearty dose of bourbon whiskey into a barbecue sauce and says dont worry, the alcohol will cook off. Its easy to see where this general assumption would come from, as the boiling point of alcohol is significantly lower than the boiling point of water, but the cold hard fact is that you can never cook off the entire amount of alcohol that is added to a dish. You can get close, especially with longer cooking times, but you might be surprised to find out how much of the alcohol content ends up residing in the food you ingest:

Time/Process Alcohol Remaining
Immediate Consumption: 100%
Boil & Remove: 85%
Flamed: 75%
15 Minutes: 40%
30 Minutes: 35%
1 Hour: 25%
2.5 Hours: 5%

For the sake of full disclosure I should let you know that Im nowhere near opposed to having a hearty dose of booze in my food, but I do think it merits attention to know its there. Everyone that cooks and shares meals with friends and family knows that you inevitably encounter individuals with certain dietary restrictions. Being in tune with your ingredients, and how they react during the cooking process, will make you that much more of a versatile grill master. So go ahead and tuck this little tid-bit of information in your back pocket for the time being, as you may need it at some point in the future.

Alton BrownAnd in case youre interested in sampling some of those boozy recipes that Alton was featuring on Good Eats, heres the links to his full rundown over on the Food Network site:

Cheddar Cheese Beer Bread
Lamb Shoulder Chops with Red Wine

Just a fair warning though. If youve never had beer bread, be prepared to become addicted. One taste and your mind will run wild with all the different flavor combinations to pair with your favorite brews.

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