Margins for error

As much as I wish it weren’t true, I cook proteins inconsistently. Lack of repetitions must matter. Amassing repetitions is exactly how restaurant cooks learn to cook consistently. In other words, practice makes perfect. The corollary is that it would take several lifetimes for me to cook as “perfectly” as a restaurant cook. So I’ve consciously adjusted my home cooking.

I’ve already written about one adjustment. Low-temp cooking improves consistency because temperature is precisely controlled by a machine and the windows for properly removing meats from the stirred bath are very large. The latter suggests there are similar gains to more heavily relying on braises.

Another adjustment I’ve made is to use brines. They work gradually, making the window for removing meats from brines very large. One type of brine makes it impossible — provided the recipe is correct — to overseason. (I’m drafting a post on this in case you’re interested. If you need to know more right now, check here.) Finally, brines put moisture into meats, providing some insurance against overcooking.

One final adjustment worth mentioning is moving from measuring by volume (e.g. cups and tablespoons) to measuring by mass (e.g. grams). Using a scale is much more precise. I’ve noticed the difference in my stocks already.

Of course, I won’t abandon techniques requiring more finesse. I’ll make different adjustments as I learn and (hopefully) improve. But practicality matters, and these are some of the most practical adjustments I can make right now.

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