A Whirlwind Tour of US Barbecue

A Whirlwind Tour of US Barbecue - CookinGenie

03 Mar 2021

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A Whirlwind Tour of US Barbecue

“Southern barbecue is the closest thing we have in the US to Europe’s wines or cheeses; drive a hundred miles and the barbecue changes. 

 John Shelton Reed, sociologist, writer, and all-around expert on all things Southern.  

 At its most basic, barbecue is meat that’s cooked low and slow over a smoky fire. But barbecue aficionados will tell you that “authentic” American barbecue is so much more—and, just like the wines and cheeses of Europe, the answer to just what real barbecue is will vary state-to-state, even region-to-region, with each area insisting that their version is the one true style. 

 The variations by region can be dizzying. Some swear barbecue needs a vinegar-based sauce, others swear by a tomato-based sauce. Some sauce their meat with mustard, some with mayonnaise. Up your barbecue IQ by taking a quick tour of American BBQ with us and learn about just some of each region’s specialties.  

North Carolina

You’ll find not one but two distinct styles of barbecue in North Carolina. In the Eastern method—which John Shelton Reed calls the “original” American barbecue—whole hogs are smoked and then chopped and served with a vinegar-and-pepper-based sauce. Further west another style of barbecue, known as Lexington-style, emerged. Here, just the pork shoulder is smoked and it’s served on a sandwich with a bright red tomato-based sauce.  Confused yet? Hang on, we’re just getting started… 

South Carolina 

South Carolina is just one state to the south, but their take on barbecue is worlds away. Like its neighbor to the north, pork is largely the meat of choice but South Carolinians put their own spin on the sauce. A very specific condiment developed in the area stretching from Charleston to ColombiaAccording to the South Carolina Barbecue Association, German settlers brought a love for mustard with them to South Carolina, and were soon pouring golden, mustard-based, vinegary sauce they christened Carolina Gold on their pulled pork.1  

Texas 

Deep in the heart of Texas, barbecue is all about the beef—brisket specifically—smoked low and slow over oak, mesquite, pecan, or hickory wood for up to 20 hours until it’s so tender it falls off the bone. How it’s served depends on where you are: in East Texas, brisket is marinated in a sweet tomato-based sauce, while in South Texas, the sauce is molasses-based. Near the Rio Grande, Mexican-style barbacoa dominates, while in Central Texas they do without sauce altogether and settle for a simple rub of salt and pepper.2  

Kansas City 

In Kansas City, all kinds of meat are smoked—beef, pork, chicken, or sausage—but what makes it unique is the thick sweet molasses- and tomato-based sauce that the smoked meat is smothered in. The most famous specialty of KC barbecue is burnt ends, the crunchy, caramelized, intensely smoky ends of brisket. Once considered a throwaway piece of meat, these tasty nuggets have become a favorite of barbecue enthusiasts.  

Memphis 

Hold the sauce in Memphis! Here, another style of barbecue developed: slabs of pork ribs are flavored with a dry rub of garlic, paprika, chili pepper, cumin, and other spices and cooked over a hickory fire. And in Memphis, they like to think outside the box: barbecued meat is added to nachos, pizza, and even spaghetti.3  

Alabama 

Last but not least is Alabama, famous for its unconventional white barbecue sauce. This combo of mayonnaise, vinegar, apple juice, and cayenne pepper has been served with smoked chicken since the 1920s and has gradually gained national attention. In fact, Texas Monthly declared 2015 “the year of Alabama barbecue.”4    

 Our virtual road trip through American barbecue just scratches the surfaceSt. Louis, Kentucky, Georgia, and more.. they’ve all developed their own local barbecue traditions and have their own share of passionate fanatics who swear their regions are the best 

 Our newest Genie, Ryan Pascoe, brings his passion for BBQ to your home. Choose one of Ryan’s falling-off-the-bone, slow-smoked specialties and he’ll arrive at your house in the morning to set up his smoker in your backyard, driveway, or garage and get your meat going, then come back later that day to finish it off. He offers everything from traditional finger-lickin’ favorites like Saint Louis Ribs smothered in a homemade barbecue sauce, to a tender, Coffee-rubbed Brisket, to a decadent Smoked Prime Rib with Blue Cheese Mashed Potatoes. Let us know when you like the food done and we will work the right start time with you. Ryan brings the smoker with him. And takes it away – no cleanup for you. All you need to do is to find a dry spot for the smoker and a regular power outlet. Fresh meat from the nearby butcher shop, slow-cooked to perfectionIit’s not raining, even a chilly February day will not hamper an outdoor smoking event from CookinGenie 


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A lady with groceries for cooking - CookinGenie blog for personal chef

20 Oct 2021

In our hectic, fast-paced world, we all need a little help getting through our daily lives. As the work, chores, and tasks pile up, it can be helpful to hire someone to take something off your plate for you.

For many, this can include hiring a personal chef to handle their cooking for them. But what is a personal chef? How does a personal chef differ from a private chef? And what are the things you need to know before hiring a chef for a great dining experience? Where can you hire a personal chef, anyways? Find out all that and more in our complete guide to hiring a personal chef.

What is a Personal Chef?

A personal chef is hired by a family, household, or company and is always on the go to prepare meals according to their clients’ dietary needs or preferences. They work on a freelance type of basis and travel around to cook for different customers. This arrangement proves to be valuable for clients who want to save their time and energy, especially during extremely busy days. For many people, hiring a personal chef on a semi-regular basis is an affordable way to help prepare food.

What Does a Personal Chef Do?

Planning for a meal, shopping for ingredients, adapting to client’s dietary needs or preferences, cooking delicious meals, and keeping a clean, organized kitchen are the basic responsibilities of a personal chef. Typically, a personal chef will service multiple clients and they may have an arrangement where they cook once a week at a given clients house and may cook for other clients throughout the rest of the week. Oftentimes, a personal chef will be hired for a one-off event such as a dinner party or holiday get together.

For larger events, a personal chef may also play the role of a caterer as they manage a team of cooks and/or servers, particularly during a special occasion or dinner party. These events can be anything from a formal sit-down dinner with multiple courses to a casual backyard barbecue or buffet.

To serve their clients better, personal chefs have to collaborate closely with their clients to tailor a menus that works for them, both in terms of taste and dietary needs. A personal chef needs to have a solid understanding of nutrition and how to cook delicious foods while also adhering to the dietary guidelines set forward by their clients. Some clients may follow very specific diets or have particular allergies that a chef must navigate. Because of this, there are many personal chefs that specialize in specific diets such as vegetarian or raw food diets.

Personal & Private Chefs – Key Differences

Duties- 

While they are similar, there are some key differences between a personal and private chef. Both a personal chef and a private chef are highly talented professionals that can cook delicious, dietary-tailored meals in a client’s home or business.

But unlike a personal chef, a private chef has full-time employment for one client or family in a private residence, hotel, or yacht. A private chef is much more exclusive, and often reserved wealthier clients who can afford to pay someone full-time to cook for them. Corporate titans, professional athletes, and high-ranking government officials are some of the people who typically employ full-time private chefs.

Private chefs are required to be on call, which is why the common setup is that they live in the residence of their employers or even travel with them on holidays or business trips. This arrangement makes private chefs almost part of the family, and as such, they have to hold confidentiality, win trust, and be able to respond to all food requests of the family.

Private chefs that cook exclusively for one client are fully responsible for almost everything their client eats and are required to manage the kitchen at all times, including doing all the shopping for the week and monitoring the inventory of the fridge and pantry. Live-in private chefs may be tasked with packing school lunches for the family’s children, manning the grill at a backyard cookout, or cooking a chic multi-course meal for a fancy dinner party.

In most cases, a private chef has to collaborate with other professionals like butlers and maids employed in large homes. This environment requires a private chef to have specific skills to function well with other professional support staff.

Is Hiring a Personal Chef Worth it? 

For most ordinary people, employing a full-time private chef may not be affordable or practical. However, hiring a personal chef to help you with meal prep or just to cook for you for special occasions can be a great way to take away some of the stress and time commitment of cooking. A personal chef can save you time, help you eat healthier, and even teach you tips and tricks to improve your own cooking. The cost of hiring a personal chef can vary in different cities and even vary between different chefs, but many are reasonable enough for most middle to upper middle-class families to afford on a regular or semi-regular basis.

How do I Hire a Personal Chef? CookinGenie is How.

When looking for a personal chef, you may know a friend who’s had a particular chef cook for them or you can browse the internet for chefs in your area. Some personal chefs work through agencies, and others are solo operations, often with their own website and business cards. But if you don’t know of any chefs by word of mouth, it can be hard to know where to look. In short, hiring a personal chef can be a pain.

But with CookinGenie, the whole process is a breeze. CookinGenie is a digital platform that displays a network of pre-vetted personal chefs available for you to hire. There is a wide variety of different foods that cater to different diets and tastebuds. After hiring, a genie will arrive at your home with everything they need to cook you a delicious meal and clean your kitchen afterward.

Their services can be used for everything from meal prep to dinner parties. The healthy, from scratch food, can be great for leftovers and can allow you to explore exciting international cuisines, even in this age of travel restrictions. The best part? It all happens in your kitchen. There’s no driving, no shopping, no cooking, and no cleaning. All that adds up to more you time, and these days, we could all use that.

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26 Apr 2021

“All that I am, or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” 

—Abraham Lincoln 

The second Monday of every May is dedicated to the women (Mother’s day) who take care of us the other 364 days of the year: Moms.  

 And don’t they deserve a day just for them? In many homes, moms are the ones who get it all done: making home cooked meals, buying groceries, packing lunches, folding laundry, organizing schedules, running the carpool, and so much more. Even in today’s more enlightened times, with a generation of dads who take on more than any group before them, a Gallup poll showed that women still shoulder the primary responsibility for doing the laundry, cleaning the house, and making meals.1  

 So this Mother’s Day, how can you show that special mom—your own mother, the mother of your children, a mom-to-be, or a special mom in your life—that you care? Sure, flowers and handmade cards are great. But this Mother’s Daywe’ve got a better idea: get her a Genie, and leave the meal shopping, prepping, cooking, and cleaning up to us.  

Whether you want to treat her to brunch, lunch, dinner, or a week’s worth of meals prepped and ready to go for the days ahead, CookinGenie can arrange for a chef to show up at the door with all the ingredients needed to make a fresh, home-cooked meal from scratch. Our Genie will prepare and plate the food and leave the kitchen as clean (or maybe even cleaner!) as it was before they arrived. 

 Not sure what to order? Check out this sample Mother’s Day menu 

How about starting your meal with Genie Michael Booth’s decadent Baked Brie, a show-stopping starter of creamy brie wrapped in crisp, flaky puff pastry and topped with a nutty bourbon glaze.  

 

Or maybe begin with a springy Arugula Salad studded with marinated red onions, shaved Parmesan and toasted walnuts, and tossed with a refreshing lemon vinaigrette. 

 

For the main course, try a light and refreshing Cioppinoa delicate seafood stew in an aromatic tomato-fennel broth— 

 

or, if you want something more hearty, Filet Mignon with Fingerlings, Broccolini and Chimichurri. 

 

And end on a sweet note with a Fruit Crostata topped with a dollop of homemade whipped cream.  

Don’t see mom’s favorites on our menu – message us and we are going to put a custom home cooked meal together for the special mom.  

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Charcuterie - CookinGenie blog

26 Apr 2021

Whether it be displayed out at your dinner party, the beginning of date night, or accompanying your favorite bottle of wine, a charcuterie board is a perfect accouterment. Charcuterie (pronounced “shahrkyut-uh-ree) is the French word for the art of cookery dedicated to the preparation of preserved meats, typically pork. The name charcuterie dates back to 15th-century shops which sold many different styles of pork, from terrines and pâtés to hams and sausages. They also specialized in confit, another preservation style involving slowly cooking protein in its rendered fat, for other delicacies like foie gras, a preparation of fatty duck or goose liver. The chef that runs the establishment is referred to as a Charcutier. In a more modern French kitchen, charcuterie is typically handled by a Garde Manger, a chef who is in charge of cold items like salads, cold soups, fruit, and charcuterie.  

Before they got to dinner parties: the origins of Charcuterie 

Charcuterie started as a way of life for people who were looking to preserve what they had excess of. Someone could take and eat what they could fresh from their kill and smoke or cure what they couldn’t currently use or didn’t want to go bad. Early examples of American cookbooks have recipes for a preserved culinary survival food called Pemmican, which is a loaf of dried beef, berries, and tallow to form a high-energy, simple food source. This was introduced by Native Americans and then eventually adopted by European fur traders and then found its way to the arctic as it was easy to prepare and would last for a long time before going bad.  

In modern kitchens, when you see a charcuterie board on a dinner party menu, it refers to an artisan-level crafted assortment of meats and sometimes cheeses that seek to work as something to nibble on before the main course. It is often selected with the flavor profile of the wine, menu, or season in mind. In the summer, a cool and crisp Moscato will cut through a razor-thin slice of a rich prosciutto or serrano ham. Likewise, spicy dried chorizo or soppressata will help finish that bottle of bold, tannin-rich Cabernet Sauvignon on a cold winter night.  

In general, charcuterie typically has three main branches: whole-muscle, pâtés, and cured sausages. Whole muscle typically refers to a whole loin of muscle, cured in salt and sometimes spices. It can include anything from American Bacon, Prosciutto, Speck, Jamon Serrano, Country Ham, Pancetta, Bresaola, Cappocollo, Guanciale, and Lardo. Pâtés can be any type of culinary preparation of forcemeat, herbs, fats, and spices. The most famous one people would know by name is probably pâté de foie gras, made from the livers of fattened geese, but most cultures around the world have their own takes on meat-pastes. Cured sausages cover anything from the pepperonis and salamis that you find in your local deli to finely crafted dry-aged Spanish Chorizo or French Saucisson.  

Nowadays most specialty grocers, Mediterranean wine bars, and some high-end pubs will carry a varying assortment of curated meats and cheeses. In Cleveland, we even have access to locally made craft cheese and charcuterie. Places like The Brooklyn Cheese Shop and Astoria Cafe & Market, produce many varieties of their old-world preparations and recipes. If you are looking to assemble a charcuterie spread for your dinner party guests, CookinGenie can help. There are many Genies who can create this incredibly classy looking starter for your guests.  

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