About Balance-Some Spices,Herbs, Just Don't Work Together

Discussion in 'Chefs Corner' started by shooterrick, Nov 13, 2011.

  1. shooterrick

    shooterrick Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    We often here "this recipe is well balanced"   Why?  Will this profile work?  
  2. I have found that in cooking and brewing, mostly brewing, that a recipe is balanced when all the flavors kind of combine into one great flavor. Not too sweet. Not too bitter. Not too tart. With very subtle hints of the individual ingredients being detected. And not having one single flavor dominating the flavor. That's my take on it.
  3. shooterrick

    shooterrick Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I agree for the most part.  Some recipes like Sage Sausage certain flavors are pronounced though.  I also have developed a only ok recipe and added another spice to tweek and ended up with dog doo doo.  LOL. 
  4. You are correct. There are dishes that do depend on one dominant flavor. Breakfast sausages being one. But if you put too much sage it will over power it and throw it out of balance.
  5. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I have found that keeping a record of your recipes is one of the best  ways to develop your recipes.You may have to tweek it some,but you record each to realise you shortcomings until you get the flavor you are looking for,be it for your taste or a compensation for Other's(like Family)taste. Just my 2cents.
  6. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Early on I made many a mistake by blending spices and tasting them before adding them to whatever I was cooking. It was amazing the how moisture or proteins can change the flavor of the seasonings. 

    Sometimes though, you can just read a recipe and you know it is going to work together AND what you can do to make it your own by changing or adding a spice or two

    It always amazes me how certain things just work together no matter what you put them into
  7. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    What a great place to hang out... Chefs teaching flavor profiles etc... I need to be here and suck up all your knowledge and share what little I have...

    I developed a spice mix for chicken that I affectionatly called GOSPL..garlic, onion, salt, pepper & Lawry's seasoned salt... I thought it was awesome... It made the chicken flavor jump out at you without any particular spice being prevalent....

    I tried it on pork, beef and fish and it was not good... me thinks each meat needs it own accompanyment of spices to enhance its own particular flavor... I do not know how to get there... I got lucky with the chicken...  g-1, o-1, s-1, p-1, L-6.... The chix was cooked 32" above the fire on alder or maple... seasoned liberally throughout the cooking process and initially also.... Dave 

    See there.... after reading Chef JimmyJ's post I learned something.... DOH !! .. My recipe is by volume for those interested and originally was made with table salt...
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2011
  8. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Balance takes practice...as a young Chef I was hired in a high end Diner to train and manage staff and to work with the Owners 80 year old mother to convert her, "Little of this...a little of that..." recipes into those that can be documented and repeatable...One of the hardest was her Coleslaw...She made 100lbs at a time and would just dump and pour in Mayo, Vinegar, Spices and Sugar until she was happy...The first batch I made the owner had me Tweaking and Tasting it for over 2 hours until He and I had it at the perfect Balance of Sweet and Sour...This REALLY drove home the concept of Balance...

    Another critical Balancing Act is Recipe Conversion...While it is no big deal to take Mom's recipe for 1 Gallon of Chicken soup and convert it to a 20 gallon batch for a big Gig...Volume measurement of Salt, Herbs and Spices DO NOT convert by simple Multiplication like Pounds of Carrots...What starts out as 1Tbs Salt in 1Gal is way too much at 1 and 1/4 Cups in 20 Gallon...Volume of salt compacts under it's own weight as the volume goes up!...Do the conversion, then start with HALF the amount when you make the New Recipe...You can always add more!...Same thing happens with Ground Spices...1tsp of Ground Glove in 1pound of Butt Rub will over power the mix in 50 Pounds of Rub for a Big Competition Cook...The fix is to convert all your recipes to Weight with a good Scale...Pound for Pound your Ingredient Proportions stay the same...JJ
  9. shooterrick

    shooterrick Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Yes oh Yes!  I have slowly been converting all my sausage recipes to weights for this reason.  Thanks JJ for the reinforcement of my suspicions. 
  10. solaryellow

    solaryellow Limited Mod Group Lead

    A great point that not many get JJ. Weight is the key when scaling a recipe, not volume measurements.
  11. chefrob

    chefrob Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    i never measure anything unless i am curing or baking.........i go by taste, feel,texture, sight and body. first by taste, ingredients can and will vary from supplier to supplier. some may be saltier some may be fresher and some may be flat and need more of something. feel, texture and sight all play into the senses that effect perception........what is the end goal i am trying to acheive? if a sauce is to loose it might need to be tightened up.....this is a judgement call and cannot be "measured". i have seen too many cooks (and chefs) who NEED a recipe in order to produce a dish. if you know the end result desired and what it takes to get there when CREATING a dish and you have demonstrated your knowledge of food and the undestanding of applied techniques.......then you are a true "chef". unfortunately i just don't see as much of this as i used to when i first started out.............

    i just want to say that i am not against measuring.......the above is directed to an art and craft that seems to be loosing it's way in today's professional kitchens.
  12. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    OH Hell Yeah....Not many students, and to an extent Pro's, can be given a Mystery Basket and make anything Great...That takes knowlede and good technique...JJ
  13. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Definatly,JJ. , different areas of the Country like different levels of "Spiceyness" and a reduction of the mixes ingrerdients need adjusting.[​IMG]

    Living in Texas,I had a nice toasty rub I liked and my co-horts enjoyed the 'Capsian tingle' , but the In-Laws need a mellower taste, so to appease them and satisfy me , I lowered the heat factor and satisfy myself, I add my Original Texas blend Or open a jar of Serannos to peak my tastebuds.Everyone is happy[​IMG]

    Have fun and...
  14. shooterrick

    shooterrick Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I plan on making some compound butter for my bird this year.  Any Suggestions? 
  15. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I make a # at a time and I mix a cup of fresh herbs a couple of cloves of garlic some salt and pepper.

    I use equal amounts of fresh





    I roll it up in parchment and chill it well. I also use it in pastas and for breads
  16. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

     One Tablespoon each Fresh Minced ( 1 teaspoon DRY )...Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, Thyme, Marjoram, Chives....1/2 teaspoon ea... Ginger, Black Pepper, Garlic....1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg and Cayenne to taste...Mix All into 2 Sticks Room Temp Butter...Massage under the Skin.   The Fresh Herb Compound Butter will be great under the skin but I would hesitate to use it ON the skin for fear of Burning...JJ
  17. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Shooter, evening... Bride roasts garllic and mushes it.. adds finely chopped rosemary and roasted onion powder...mix all together into butter and glomps it onto waxed paper... rolls it into about 3/4" tube and freezes it for future use for anything.... that is what she rubs under and over the skin on the bird.... I suppose one could add chipotle or darn near anything to their liking... maybe even old bay or McCormick fowl seasoning too would be good.... Hey, enjoy turkey day.....   Dave
  18. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I know at least one chef here who could give us an inside track on what one of the premier culinary schools is doing these days.

    My understanding is that some of the better schools are doing a good job of teaching method over recipe. I have long felt, maybe through experience, that mastery of a method will lead to the understanding of recipe.  Even further, that mastery will open up a world of recipes that are limited only by the imagination of the cook.

    I do measure when baking because I am horrible at it.  Even so, appreciation of the proper consistency of a batter or dough help me more than the recipe which hopefully put me in the ballpark.

    I also measure when curing and making sausage in general.  As mentioned, if I think a recipe has merit, I carefully note modification ideas for future attempts.

    The balance versus main ingredient one is an interesting question.  In some dishes the perfect balance or blend while in others one the main ingredient takes the lead.  Still, some balance or common ratios come into play to get us in the ballpark.  Maybe that is why they made tasting spoons?

    Thanks to the chefs here.  Your input is valuable and very appreciated!
  19. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    A well respected Chef and friend once told me..." Cooks follow Recipes...Chefs WRITE Recipes..."  You have to have an understanding of how things go together to create something new...In the beginning there are a lot of missteps  but with time and practice you learn what works...JJ
  20. big twig

    big twig Smoking Fanatic

    I have to agree 100%. I went to culinary school because I love cooking, especially creating and happened to be blessed with a creative mind and an amazing palate. My first day they handed out our knife kits and 9 people cut their selves [​IMG] [​IMG]  

    I took some amazing classes like meat cutting (loved breaking down whole animals) soups and stocks, and baking and pastry ( was mad I had to take it but loved learning how to make breads and desserts which now come in handy). Then the classes I had were literally following recipes to a T. I mean bland disgusting food. A couple of times here and there I would make whatever I was chosen to make that day taste good and Chef would taste (you could see a look of damn that's good) but say STICK TO THE RECIPE [​IMG] [​IMG]. After many times of being yelled at for making food taste good, I finally quit and switched my major. I felt like I was becoming a cook instead of a chef and losing what I had learned from other chefs in my life. Later down the road I found out from friends who continued on and graduated with 4 year + culinary degrees that they start you off making bland food to teach you the basic basics because most people who go for these degrees couldn't make toast to start out. Then they teach you how to create and grow into your own style so you can then go out into the world with an understanding on the path you want to take.

    I still to this day wish I would've stuck it out because I know there are a lot of things I missed out on (if I could afford to I would go back and finish my degree). I did train under some decent chefs, watch a lot of TV, constantly try to learn something new, and I will try just about anything edible.

    Either way I spend all of my free time creating recipes and conceptualizing new dishes because this is my one love (besides my wife [​IMG])

    I see you watch chopped Chef JJ (mystery basket). My wife pauses the TV (DVR) right when they say whats in the basket and asks me what I would make, 9 times out of 10 someone makes something very similar to what I said, she swears I could win chopped, I swear I would get cut in the first round.

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