New recipes

Shacktoberfest Returns to Shake Shack

Shacktoberfest Returns to Shake Shack

Celebrate Oktoberfest with burgers, brats, and beer

The Shacktoberfest menu will be offered at all Shake Shack locations from Oct. 4-13.

It is officially October, which could only mean one thing: Shake Shack is hosting their 8th annual Shacktoberfest.

From Oct. 4-13, be sure to look out for Shacktoberfest offerings at all U.S. locations, as well as the Covent Garden outpost in London.

Shake Shack has posted the special menu on their website. There will be a selection of bratwursts and sausages served on a potato bun, including Polish sausage with German-style slaw, currywurst with crispy marinated shallots and curry ketchup, Bavarian brat with spicy mustard, and cheddar brat stuffed with cheese.

Shacktoberfest will also feature the Brat Burger, which is topped with cheddar bratwurst, crispy marinated shallots, and Shake Shack’s famous ShackSauce.

Save room for specialty frozen custard, too. The German Chocolate Pecan Concrete is chocolate frozen custard with coconut-pecan caramel and chocolate truffle cookie dough. Or there is the Apfelstrudel Shake with vanilla custard, apples, caramel, and spices.

And of course, it would not be an Oktoberfest without beer. Order the Shacktoberfest Bier Stein and you get to keep the 25 oz. mug.

Now that it’s finally October, we can’t wait to go to Shacktoberfest, even if it means standing in a ridiculously long line.

Shacktoberfest Returns to Shake Shack - Recipes

Love is blind (to lines). Love knows no boundaries (my arteries are clogging from all this custard). Love is. my current mental state when it comes to Shake Shack.

PSA, darlings: Today is the ABSOLUTE LAST day of Shacktoberfest. As of 11pm tonight, you'll have to wait until next year to get the following items:

Polish Sausage with Cranberry Horseradish Relish and Shackmeister-braised Red Cabbage (eh, really good for a nice hot dog)

Cran-Apple Strudel Concrete (I failed to taste the apple half of the equation, would be great for Thanksgiving too hint, hint, wink, wink)

German Chocolate Cake Concrete (mmm, whole walnuts, tasty coconut, chocolate. May have been better with real pieces of, oh I don't know, chocolate cake, but still delicious)

In other Shack news, the Pumpkin Pie Oh-MY! will be available almost every day through at least the end of the month and maybe through to the end of the year. I had also been wondering, in all the UWS Shack Shake news, if they would deviate on custard calendars. A quick look on the new website says no. There are also now three new concretes to try out, the Upper West Slide, Natural History "Crunch-stellation", and Shacky Road. Oh, and new wines too. Now can someone go and cut down that branch obscuring the Shack cam? If anyone will watch my back, I do have a saw and I'm not afraid to use it.

1. Its creation is rooted in Madison Square Park's rebirth

Shake Shack wouldn't exist if New York City hadn't decided to rebuild Madison Square Park, which had fallen into a state of disrepair, back in 2000. Restaurateur Danny Meyer helped launch the Madison Square Park Conservancy to redevelop the park, and one of its first promotional efforts was an art exhibit called "I <3 Taxi" in 2001.

Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG) then opened a hot dog cart at the exhibit, which was run by its director of operations Randy Garutti. The cart delivered food from the kitchen of USHG's Eleven Madison, and it became extremely popular over the following three years. In 2004, New York started taking bids on running a kiosk-style restaurant in the park.

The Snackdown Review: Shake Shack Jewel Changi Airport

True love waits, which is what you'll be doing a lot of if you're after a Shake Shack burger.

Harken to my wisdom, mere mortals, for this week I bring glad tidings.

The Snacktivist has finally visited Shack Shack at Jewel Changi Airport.

Now, that already should be cause for celebration—the Snacktivist weighing in on what is undoubtedly the hottest fast food commodity in town.

Or at least until Five Guys decides to open up an outlet here. Which, if the rumour mill is to be believed, should here by the end of this year.

Yes, I know I'm leaving it kinda late, and it's a similar story with A&W, because the Snacktivist doesn't normally queue for food, but he's done it for you. A demi-god doesn't queue up like one of the proletariat or have to deal with piffling mortal concerns like I don't know, mortality.

But I have this time, because it's good for a god to live among his people from time to time. Climbing down from my ivory tower sort of thing, except in this case, my tower is made of fries, held together with nacho cheese and has bacon for walls.

The Snacktivist doesn't normally queue for food, but he's done it for you

In that sense I am like Death from The Sandman , except I'm male, am significantly more surly and am decidedly not a perky Goth girl.

“One day in every century Death takes on mortal flesh, better to comprehend what the lives she takes must feel like, to taste the bitter tang of mortality: that this is the price she must pay for being the divider of the living from all that has gone before, all that must come after.”

That's me, except substitute being the anthropomorphic personification of death for the anthropomorphic personification of junk food or something like that.

Speaking of fast food, Shake Shack doesn't bill itself as such. It actually calls itself a “fine casual” establishment, which if you speak marketing, is code for “we’d like to charge you almost 15 bucks for a burger, lul”.

Also, if you have to wait a combined total (queuing plus food prep) of over 10 minutes, it can’t exactly be called fast food, because you know, it ain’t fast anymore. AYY LMAO.

In all fairness, not all of Shake Shack’s burgers cost that much—just the Double SmokeShack (some sorta cheeseburger-y thing with bacon) and the Shack Stack, a cheeseburger with a breaded, deep-fried portobello in it. Still, a standard single-patty ShackBurger will still run you SGD9.20, though.

But back to the “fine casual” thing. While that conjures up images of flying premium economy, the reality is closer to a budget airline, in that everything is an optional extra.

So that means no ‘upsai’ [sic], but the minor upshot to this is people won’t look mildly panicked if you deviate slightly from the preset menu. Because, uh, there’s no preset menu to deviate from .

Fries start from SGD4.50 (going up to SGD5.90 if you slap on the cheese), the Singapore-exclusive Pandan Shake is SGD7.80 and soft-serve is SGD5, with frozen custard (fustard? frostard?) desserts starting from SGD7.50.

A bill of SGD30 is entirely possible, which qualifies the fine dining part, at least. As for the casual bit, well, let’s just say don’t expect metal crockery and porcelain plates.

So, this is what I had after enduring a 40-minute wait in line for (already a very short wait, by most accounts), plus another 10 minutes or so for my order to get prepped: a Shack Stack, fries sans cheese and washed down with a Pandan Shake.

I hesitate to say washed down, given its has a viscosity similar to treacle-infused lava. If the Pandan Shake is doing any washing, it’ll be doing so very, very slowly. And even then, you’d have to help it along with a spatula.

Not while you’re drinking it, of course, unless you’re into ramming kitchen implements down your oesophagus during meals. Although that might not be a completely bad idea to help clear your throat, since the Pandan Shake is literally chokingly sweeet.

Okay, so you know one of those old-school pandan chiffons? Yeah. Then you chuck in some gula melaka and coconut bits… then you douse the entire thing in syrup. Which pretty much sums up what the Pandan Shake is.

Reality-altering levels of sweetness aside (I swear I was hallucinating a little, either that it's the mother of all sugar highs), the Pandan Shake is really, really good. Do you remember McDonald’s having that pandan soft-serve from a few months ago? Well Shake Shack’s Pandan Shake makes that look like it’s just got green food colouring in it.

Pandan Shake is a pandan-infused smack to the face, a pandan beast delivering a spine-tingling roar into the pandan void.

But perhaps it’s the high bar set by the Pandan Shake that Shake Shack’s burgers and fries (like, the reason why you’d go there in the first damn place) can’t really compare. While Shake Shack will make much of how its products are crafted—the whole “fine casual” thing—it still is a mass-production burger chain.

Pandan Shake is a pandan-infused smack to the face

That said, for a mass-production burger, the Shack Stack scores a solid 7, losing points because the deep-fried portobello colours the taste of the patty, which again, is a cut above (that was a meat-based pun, applause por favor ) what you’d expect from a mass-production item.

A little too much char, if I’m being nit-picky, but then I always am. I have standards to uphold.

And the bun, too. Oh, that bun. A delicate crust hides the pillowy, springy bread underneath—a diaphanous wedding veil rendered in bread. Many places overlook the bun (hey A&W, are you listening?), but then most places and people are bloody daft, so there you go.

Anyway, since we’re on the topic of starch, we have to talk about Shake Shack’s vaunted crinkle-cut fries. I mean, as fries go, they’re alright, I guess? Nowhere near the standard of McDonald's crack-filled golden straws, but in all honesty, few things can compare to that.

As far as thick-ish fries go, some credit has got to go to Shake Shack, because while some thicc fri bois tend to end up a little too powdery on the inside, these are airy. Which is exactly what you want from fries, which funnily enough, is the exact opposite of what you want in a bun.

Studied have shown that there’s is a very strong correlation between liking insubstantial buns and liking biscuit-like prata or pizzas that have wafer-thin crusts. The same studies have also shown that if you like all the above, there’s also a high chance you might be a serial killer/international war criminal.

But you’re not here to debate the merits/demerits of bread, you’re here to read what the Snacktivist thought of Shake Shack. Unfortunately, there’s no way to rate it without taking queue times in to account. I rocked up at 10am on the dot and it still took me nearly an hour to get my fingers greased up with all-American calorie bombs.

This is a great time to talk about what I overheard in the queue from the couple in front of me. The girlfriend was trying to explain to her boyfriend that the law of diminishing returns also applies to waiting in line for food.

She posited that after a certain amount of queueing, your enjoyment of said food will diminish, no matter how good it is. To which her boyfriend responded that the law of diminishing returns only applies to situations that involve money.

Look, guys. You’re both wrong. Firstly, that’s not exactly how the law of diminishing returns works, and secondly, you know how they say time is money?

Quod erat demonstrandum .

I get what she’s trying to say, though. As it stands, Shake Shack gets a couple of arbitrary internet points knocked off because of the wait, even before the first calorie is consumed. Had I spent another half an hour in line, Shake Shack would have gotten a Meh.

And thus concludes the Snacktivist’s Gospel of Shake Shack. A bumper edition this time (mostly of rambling incoherence), but you don’t need to thank me. I am, after all, a beneficent, gracious god.

Plus, it’ll give you something to do while waiting in line while discussing such topics as “does excessive queueing diminish the enjoyment of good food?” and “where does this moron live? I would very much like to beat him to death.”

See? Told you I was beneficent in many ways.

10-word review: Excellent shakes, decent burgers, meh-ish fries, along with ridiculous queues
Best paired with: This review open on your phone and read while you wait, because rambling incoherence is an excellent aperitif.


KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A day after chaos erupted at the County Club Plaza, it’s back to business as usual.

Witnesses said they heard five shots go off in front of Shake Shack, leading police on a manhunt for hours Tuesday.

On Wednesday, the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office charged 18-year-old Quinton Shelby in connection with the shooting. Police say Shelby tried to hide evidence but did not fire a weapon.

A witness said several people, including Shelby, were walking in the area when one person in the group fired shots at two other men. According to court documents, the person who fired the shots handed a gun to Shelby who hid it in some mulch.

Kansas City police said what happened Tuesday was not random. The people involved knew each other.

That’s why most Plaza shoppers and employees said they don’t think it will happen again. The line at Shake Shack was out the door Wednesday at lunch time.

“We felt fine, and we feel fine now,” said Chris Aller, who had lunch at Shake Shack with his 13-year-old daughter. “We’re nice and full with a lot of good Shake Shack food.”

Twenty-four hours ago police tape blocked Shake Shack’s entrance.

“I feel that it’s secure,”said Carmen Kuznik, who is visiting Kansas City from Miami. “I don’t feel in danger. It feels like it’s back to normal. ”

Maria Pennington and her son Nate were worried Tuesday, but they were back to the Plaza the next day.

“We got into town around lunch time, and they said they had just opened their doors up because of the shooting,” Pennington said, “which of course made us quite nervous that we had a little boy with us.”

Although people didn’t worry about gunfire Wednesday, some question the response from police and Plaza security.

“Anything can happen, so no, I don’t believe they should have allowed people to just walk freely or have stores open,” Kuznik said about Tuesday’s activity.

Although some stores wouldn’t let anyone inside following the shooting, others stayed open for business. Topsy’s manager Rhonda Lake said although there could be more security during the week, the Plaza does a good job keeping people safe.

“If I call them for any reason, they usually respond really quickly,” Lake said.

She had quite the scare Tuesday when she says the suspects who are now in police custody ran past her store. She described them to Shake Shake’s manager.

“I told them what they looked like, and he knew who they were. He said two of them he had fired last week,” Lake said.

Police won’t confirm the suspects’ connections to Shake Shack. But the targeted nature of Tuesday’s gunfire is what makes Lake feel safe to return to work.

“For me it was kind of like they were waiting for someone to pull up they knew was coming,” she said. “That’s why I think it was an isolated incident.”

Plaza officials gave FOX4 the following statement when we asked if they would increase security: “Safety is our top priority. In an incident such as this, we deploy many security tactics, both seen and unseen, to ensure our guests are secure.”

Kansas City police said officers patrol the Plaza routinely and will continue to do so.

Shake Shack’s Area Director Michael Hammer sent FOX4 this statement: “Everyone is safe, and we commend and thank our team members and guests for how they handled the situation. We’ll continue to work with the authorities in any way that’s helpful.”

Shake Shack's new book drops a major hint about a possible new menu item

Shake Shack's new cookbook is far more than just a collection of recipes.

The book, which hits shelves on May 16, is full of fun tidbits about Danny Meyer's burger chain. Did you know Shake Shack could have been called Custard's First Stand? Or that you can make your own ShackSauce simply by combining Hellman's mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, Heinz ketchup, kosher dill pickling brine, and cayenne pepper?

But the most interesting nugget of information has to do with, well, nuggets (pun intended).

Towards the end of the book is a section entitled "The Taste of Things to Come." It gives a behind-the-scenes look at the Shake Shack tasting kitchen in Brooklyn, where a team meets every three months to try out new recipes.

"Chicken tenders are universally applauded," the book says, cryptically, under a photograph of bite-size pieces of fried chicken.

(Chicken tenders in Shake Shack's test kitchen.Shake Shack)

A few pages later is a recipe for Chicken Bites, which the book describes as "the obvious extension of the Chick'n Shack" sandwich.

The Chick'n Shack is the fried chicken sandwich that Shake Shack launched in January 2016, just a few months after Chick-fil-A opened its first store in New York City.

Chicken has become the hottest item on fast-food menus in recent years. As Business Insider previously reported, three of the five fastest-growing restaurant chains in the US are chicken restaurants, and every chain appears to be jumping on the trend. Just this week, Taco Bell rolled out fried chicken "chips" — its own take on chicken nuggets.

We reached out to Shake Shack to see if they had any more details about a possible rollout of chicken tenders.

"We have no plans at the moment, but it was something we tinkered with and wanted to share it in the cookbook," Edwin Bragg, Shake Shack's vice president of marketing and communications, told Business Insider in an email.

We have high hopes for Shake Shack tenders, but until the chain makes these a reality, we'll have to rely on this recipe from the cookbook:

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We’ve all had that chicken or turkey that really tasted dry and tough and chewy after smoking. Ever had leftovers that were dry? Brining may be one solution to help you with these problems.
Brining gets a lot of questions and interest and this is my attempt to try and help you learn about it. I’m not an expert, just someone who’s been doing it a while and I’ve learned a lot through research and trial and error. I’ll provide information and sources here hopefully to help you understand why you WANT to do this for your next piece of poultry.
If you want more information, please see the links in “references.”
If you already know about brining, skip the “background” and go to the next chapter.

Brining is not new. Soaking food in salt water has been used by cooks and restaurants for many years. Lately however, with the advent of the Internet, we’re able to share information and learn about new methods much easier and faster and Brining has now become a “hot” topic.
According to the Food Safety and Inspection Service1 the verb "brine" means to treat with or steep in brine. Brine is a strong solution of water and salt. A sweetener such as sugar, molasses, honey, or corn syrup may be added to the solution for flavor and to improve browning.
The brining of meats is an old process used for food preservation. Before refrigeration, heavy amounts of salt were used to preserve meats for long periods of time. Now, we use much smaller quantities of salt, mixed with other spices and herbs, achieving increased flavor in the meat as well as other benefits. Brining in a saltwater mixture before you smoke typically will add flavor, tenderness and typically reduces cooking times. Our poultry and pork have much less fat than they used to, which means they tend to dry out more quickly when cooked and to be less flavorful than in the past.
Brining is chemistry in action. The chemistry behind brining is actually pretty simple.

Meat already contains salt water. By immersing meats into a liquid with a higher concentration of salt the liquid is absorbed into the meat. Any flavoring added to the brine will be carried into the meat with the saltwater mixture. And because the meat is now loaded with extra moisture it will stay that way longer while it cooks.

Brining alters the chemical structure of proteins by breaking some of the bonds that give proteins their shape. The salt denatures the meat proteins, causing them to unwind and form a matrix that traps the water. According to David Krauss, a professor of biology at Boston College, those bonds are sensitive to changes in temperature, acidity and salinity, causing the proteins themselves to break down a bit in brines and allowing the salt, sugar, and other flavoring agents to permeate the food's flesh.

Salt has a couple of efforts for poultry, it dissolves protein in muscle causing the to change and trap more moisture. Combine Protein Modification and Salt and you get a reduced moisture loss during smoking.
The results: juicier, tender and more flavorful.

There are a lot of brines out there that include “cures”. Cures are also from the old school before refrigeration, you needed to cure the meat to store it. Bacteria LOVES to grow in meats when they are in the temperature range of 40°F to 140°F and cures help prevent this growth. If you are not sure you can guarantee that your brine will stay below 40°F during the brining soak, you may want to use a brine with a cure in it. Cures go by the names of Tenderquick, Prague Powder, and others.
According to Morton Salt2:
Brine curing is also popular for curing meat. This method is also called a sweet pickle cure. Brine curing involves mixing the curing salt with water to make a sweet pickle solution. The meat is cured with this brine by injecting the brine using a meat pump or by soaking the meat for a specific time. Curing takes place in the refrigerator and the meat is cooked after curing. Often larger cuts of meat and poultry such as hams and turkeys are injected with a sweet pickle cure. Smaller products including whole chickens and fish may be soaked in a curing brine solution.

Brining actually provides a cushion for cooking, so you can even overcook by a few degrees and the item will remain moist
Instead of seasoning outside - brining puts the flavor inside
Because water is a heat conductor you will typically find that a brined item will cook faster than an non-brined item.

Question: "What's the difference between brining and marinating?"
Answer: Brining involves salt and osmosis to exchange the fluid in the brine with the water inside the meat. Marinating used acidity to break down the texture of the meat. You can actually do both if your marinate has salt in it.

Question: Can I adjust the amount of salt in the brine without affecting the brining process?
Answer: Yes. As long as you follow the basic and have a salty solution, Osmosis will have the desired effect. Although if you adjust it below 1 cup or 3/4 cup, you’re just “soaking” in salt water, not brining. Just because a brine has salt in it, however, doesn’t mean you’re going to get a salty end product. Try two things.
One: rinse the meat really well to get the salt off the outside (remember, Osmosis puts the salt solution inside so you’re not washing off the flavors).
Two: add a sugar (white, turbinado, brown) to your solution to cut the salt, try for example 2/3 cup of Kosher salt and 2/3 cup of white sugar to a gallon of water.
I recommend starting with a recipe and it’s amount of salt, try these two tricks and see if that gives you the desire effect. Remember, brining requires a specific concentration of salt to water. Don’t cut back too far.

Question: The end product, after smoking, tastes over-seasoned and looks “mushy.” Why?
Answer: See the discussion about the effect of acidity on a brine solution. Also, anything left in a brine too long will taste over-seasoned. Keep good logs and what you brined, how long it was brined and the results. Next time you’ll know how long is “too long.”

Question: My brine doesn’t have sugar in it and sometimes the chicken comes out so off, uh, gray looking.
Answer: Add some sugar to your brine. The same reason that you use sugar for carmelization in regular cooking will work here. But be careful, if you add too much sugar to a brine and use it on pork - you’ll get a hammy taste. A sugar brine is what is used by many companies to create their hams. Now you know!

Question: Can you change flavors with brine? Can you add additional flavors to the brine easily (herbs, spices, etc.)?
Answer: Once you’ve tried a brine, experiment. Just like any recipe, feel free to modify the other flavorings and spices, but the salt/water mixture/ratio shouldn’t be modified significantly.

Question: If you can keep your brined fowl down below 38°F the entire time, and are always cooking to an internal of 160°F+, is TenderQuick necessary?
Answer: Possibly. The purpose of TenderQuick is food safety. If you keep your brine below 40°F, you’re not in the Food Safety DANGER ZONE of 40°F to 140°F.

Question: Why do I have to let the solution cool before I add the meat?
Answer: See answer above about temperature. Remember, remember, remember the DANGER ZONE for 40°F to 140°F. Avoid at all cost! If you add a hot solution and create a brine that’s in this range (mix a hot solution and cold water and it WILL be in this range) you’re asking for trouble. And, NO, you can’t add it to a really hot brine - then you’re cooking!

Question: Why Kosher Salt? Can’t I use table or regular sea salt?
Answer: There are some very significant differences in the amount of salt, by weight in kosher salt vs. regular salt. You can’t substitute them one for one. I suggest the larger, coarser Kosher so that you get a more consistent brine. If you MUST use regular salt, I would recommend decreasing salt by ½ the amount to start with.

Question: I can't find Tenderquick or Kosher Salt at the local grocery store's. I found some Morton's Pickling & Canning Salt, Will this work? What does TenderQuick do, are there replaceable products? Do I need a “cure” in there or just use salt?
Answer: Cures are NOT required in brines. I always used them early in my brining trials because that is what the recipe called for. But in doing a lot of research, it’s not required. It is a cure and as such, is typically used in places where you’re worried about the Food Safety DANGER ZONE of 40°F to 140°F. You don’t have to have the cure if you’re sure of your temperatures. Keep it below 40°F. Pickling Salt will work. Don’t use other salts than Kosher (keep reading, there is more info below). You can find it, believe me, it’s in every store.

Question: What is the cook's reason to brine, anyway?
Answer: See the section on Brining Background and you’ll understand why it is something you should try.

Question: How long to brine and is there too long? Can you brine too long? Does the weight of the bird matter?
Answer: See the brine time section for recommended times. As far as the bird just follow the directions in the basic brine times and adjust if your bird is bigger. You can brine too long, so follow the recommended times, or less, never add more time.

Question: Does the strength of the brine matter (dilution factor)?
Answer: Yes, if you don’t have a high enough solution of salt to liquid, you’re just soaking. I haven’t seen a specified percentage, but the minimum I usually see is 3/4 cup of Kosher salt to 1 gal or water. The scientist out there can tell us if that’s 20% solution or not.

Question: Can you brine a frozen bird?
Answer: No. The brine and osmosis won’t be able to work on a frozen product and if you let the bird since in a salty solution longer than recommended, you’ll have a less than good quality bird - mushy and over-seasoned.

Question: Should I use a rub if I brined my bird?
Answer: You don’t have too. It will depend on the flavorings of the brine. A lot of times I do, so that the outside gets a nice flavor from the rub and the insides gets more flavors from the brine.

Question: How scared should I be brining & cooking a bird for a party of 15 if I've never brined before? In other words, how hard is it? And, is it easy to screw up?
Answer: I’ve seen you cook and you should be real scared. No, really. Okay, I’m teasing. I always recommend practicing before any large party. You may not like the particular herbs/seasonings in a particular rub. Get to know the effects and flavors of brining before your party. Remember the first time you smoked a brisket - would you feed that to your friends? Practice, but don’t tell them when you do it and see if they notice - they will.

Question: Can you brine and inject?
Answer: You don’t need to, if you’re going to inject the brine. Osmosis works for you - so you don’t have to. Now, if you want to inject your own flavorings after the brine, feel free.

Question: Should you pay attention to lowering the salt in your rub, if you use a traditional salt brine?
Answer: Good Question. Many cooks don’t realize how much salt is in everything they’re using. By using a brine, you’re adding more. As I always recommend, you’ll have to be the judge, so if you’re worried about being too “salty”, cut back the salt somewhere. Most of my rub recipes have little to no salt in them for this reason, so I can add salt as needed.

Question: Food nutritionists say honey breaks down at 160°F,so should you wait till after you boil the brine and it cools some to add the honey?
Answer: I’m not a food nutritionist, but I haven’t notice a lack of honey taste in my Honey Brine because I put the honey in when it was too hot. I mix my brines by putting the salts and sugars into solution and bring it to a rolling boil. Then I take it off the heat and add the honey. If you want, wait until you solution cools below 160°F before adding your honey.

Question: Can the brine be used for a second time for the same food type?
Answer: Food Safety 101 - Don’t every reuse a brine once it’s had food in it. I’m sure the food scientists out there can tell us how and when and why you might be able to, but I don’t recommend doing it. The whole issue is cross-contamination, do you want to get food poisoning? Nope, not me. If you feel you can accomplish food safety and reuse a brine, it’s all up to you.

Question: Instead of water, can I use something else, like Coca-Cola, Orange Juice, Apple Juice, Beer, Etc?
Answer: Trick question, but a good one. Yes you can substitute other liquids for the water that is the base for a brine - BUT - and this is a big but, don’t make the solution acidic. Remember that a brine uses osmosis and marinades use acid. If you make your solution acidic (like using a orange/citrus juice) you’ll actually get a mushy exterior on the meat. The reason is the length of time your brine works vs. the length of time for a marinade. You can use a little acid, but if you add too much, watch out for the effect that acid has on your meat. If you do add acid, reduce your brining time accordingly.

Question: My refrigerator isn’t big enough to hold the brine in a big bucket, what do I do?
Answer: Get another refrigerator! (Sorry, bad humor). Be creative, but remember two things: temperature and air are your enemies. Keep the temperature below 40F° and the meat completely covered by brine. Once the solution is made, you can break it up into smaller quantities. For example, take a zip lock back, put 4 to 6 chicken breast in there and add brine to cover, close it after squeezing out the air and you’ll do fine. For turkey, I’ve see people add the brine to a larger garbage bag (clean one of course) add the turkey, seal it. Then place this inside a larger bag, incase the first one leaks. Just keep temperature and air in mind.

Question: Can I brine pork?
Answer: Since the worm that causes Trichinosis is no longer present in American pork, it is now safe enough that it doesn't have to be cooked well done. However, Jim McKinney, chef-owner of Club Grotto in Louisville, KY, couldn't convince his customers of that. "If they see pink in a pork chop, they think they're going to get sick," he says. By brining his 12-ounce pork chop for 24 hours in a mixture of kosher salt, brown sugar, fresh rosemary and juniper berries, some of the blood is drawn out and McKinney can cook it to just 140°F degrees without hearing any complaints. "And the flavor it packs is incredible," he says. His brine is 28 percent salt and 10 percent brown sugar3.

It all depends (don’t you love that answer)? The size of the item your brining, the relative strength of the brine and your individual preferences will all make a difference. I highly recommend you experiment, keep good notes and you’ll determine your own answer. Before you experiment, read the Questions and Answers chapter for some ideas and concerns about changing times and solutions.
These are “sample” times. Feel free to adjust -SLIGHTY- but remember:
If you’re worried about your first brine, go with a time in the middle of the range. If that was too salty, try lowering your time. After that, you can adjust your solution if you still think it’s too salty (see the Q&A section for more).

Item Brine Time
Whole Chicken (4-5 Pounds) 8 to 12 hours
Chicken Parts 1 1/2 hours
Chicken Breasts 1 hour
Whole Turkey 24-48 hours
Turkey Breast 5-10 hours
Cornish Game Hens 2 hours
Shrimp 30 minutes
Pork Chop 12-24 hours
Pork Tenderloin (whole) 12-24 hours

If you’re new to brining, read all the information in the Q&A section for some of the common mistakes and concerns.
To prepare your solution, there are two methods. Remember that whatever your mixing needs to be thoroughly into solution before using.
Measurements “How much is an Ounce?”
2 tablespoons = ounce
6 teaspoons = ounce

Method 1: Cold. Dissolve salt in a cold or room temperature water, add other ingredients and mix thoroughly. All solution to set overnight. Then use.
Method 2: Heated. Mix salt, sugar and water in a pot and bring to a low/rolling boil. Take off the heat and add other flavorings. Let cool.

When brining, always use stainless steel, glass or food-grade plastic containers.
Totally submerge in solution and store in a refrigerator for the recommended time.
As a general starting point, take one gallon of water and add 3/4 cup (preferable - but you can use up to a cup) of salt (Kosher is best), 1/2 cup of sugar and then the rest is up to you. Sliced onions are nice, a few cloves of crushed garlic add a nice flavor and then there's the spices and herbs.

1/2 cup Kosher salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 gallon water

3/4 cup Kosher salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 gallon water
1/4 cup coarse black pepper

1 gallon water
1 cup coarse Kosher salt
3/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
4 tablespoons black pepper
3 - 4 tablespoons chopped garlic
1 teaspoon Allspice
1 oz. Morton’s Tenderquick (optional)
Heat water/salt/sugars to rolling boil. Take off burner, add other ingredients. Allow mixture to cool before placing meat into solution.
Place 10 - 12 lb. turkey in non-reactive container and cover with brine. Refrigerate for minimum of 24 hours, preferably 48 hours.
Load smoker’s wood box with 4 oz. hickory wood.
Remove turkey from the refrigerator and discard brine. Rinse turkey three times, pat dry and lightly rub skin with mayonnaise. Apply light coating of Cookshack Spicy Chicken Rub. Place turkey in smoker and smoke cook at 200°F for one hour per lb. I like cherry or apple wood for my turkey. Smoke until internal temperature of breast reaches 160°F to 165°F. Remove from smoker and allow to sit for 30 minutes before slicing.
Note:About the “optional” Tenderquick. If you smoke a turkey at temperatures of 180° to 225° F., you might want to consider using the Tenderquick. The turkey will be spending a lot of time in the DANGER ZONE of 40°F to 140°F, so just be aware of this. If in doubt, use the Tenderquick.

1/2 gallon will do 2 turkeys 2 oz each leg, 2 oz each thigh, 4 oz each breast.
1 gallon water
1 cup pickling salt
1 oz tender quick (2 tbsp)
1 cup honey
3 bay leaves
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp pickle spice

1 gallon water
1 cup kosher salt
1 ounce Tenderquick
1 cup honey
3 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon pickling spices

1 cup Kosher salt
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup cracked black pepper
1/4 cup crushed red peppers
2 tablespoons minced garlic

1 gallon Water
1/2 cup coarse kosher salt
1/2 cup white sugar
3 bay leaves
1 whole onion, cut-up
Rub Ingredients:
3 tablespoons garlic
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
3 tablespoon whole peppercorns
Try this with pork chops. Brine for eight hours, using the largest pork chops you can find (reduce for smaller pork chops). After brining, sprinkle the pork chops with the rub and let sit for one hour. Smoke or grill to an internal temperature of 130°F to 135°F.
Option 1:
Use a piece of flattened out tenderloin (or even chicken tenderloin). Since you’re using a smaller piece of meat, brine for 2 hours. Bread and cook as you would a normal tenderloin=delicious.
Option 2:
Add 1/4 of Bourbon to your brine.


Tip: Because water is a heat conductor you will typically find that a brined item will cook faster than an non-brined item

Tip: If you want your poultry to have a golden and crispy skin it needs to sit in the refrigerator for several hours after you remove it from the brine so that the meat can absorb the moisture from the skin. Whole poultry is the exception however. To get a crispy, brown skin whole birds should be removed from the brine, wrapped in foil or plastic and put in the refrigerator overnight or for at least 12 hours.

Tip: The saltier the brine, the shorter time is required. And the brine will penetrate a chicken breast or pork chop much faster than a large thick muscle like a whole pork loin or turkey.

Tip: Water is optional. Any liquid will do for brining just keep in mind my discussion about it being too acidic. You can substitute some or all of the water with whatever you heart desires. Wine, beer, fruit juices (especially good is apple), or vinegars all make a good liquid base for your brine. Just remember our discussion about making the brine to acidic. If you add more acid to your mixture, I would decrease the brining time.

Tip: Any herb, spice, sweetener, fruit, vegetable will work let your imaginations run wild. Think of a brine as a soup, there can be a lot of complexity in soup or just simple ones.

Tip: You need enough brine to completely submerge the meat without any part being out of the liquid. Some items might need to be weighted down to stay under.

Tip: How much liquid will you need? Take the meat you plan to brine and place it in the container. Cover with liquid. Now you know! Measure the amount and you’ll know how much brine to make.

Tip: Almost any container will work as long as it’s non-reactive to salt.

Tip: You don't want the brine cooking the meat, always add your meat to a cold brine, not a hot one.

Tip: You don’t need to boil the entire gallon of liquid to create your brine. Start with a quart, add your salts and sugars and create a super saturated solution. After boiling, mix your remaining liquid, thoroughly this way you don’t have to use a really big pot to boil with. If you need to cool this super solution down quickly, mix with ice water.

Tip: Lighter more tender meats needs less brining time.

Tip: Denser meats like pork, need longer times.

Tip: Remember that the longer you brine the stronger the flavor will be.

Tip: You do not need to rinse unless you were using a high salt concentration in the brine.

Tip: Want to preserve the color of the meat? Add 1 tablespoon of Cure (Saltpeter, Tenderquick, Prague Powder) per gallon of liquid This will help. Another trick used by chefs is to add 1 tablespoon of Saltpeter per gallon of liquid. If the color is important to you, consider the cure.


There are so many people throughout the Internet that have “helped” in the production of this, by asking me questions and providing information. I’d like to thank them all, but I can’t. I have tried to credit those who have provided significant information.
Special thanks to the Members of the Cookshack Forum for all their questions and help!
Special Thanks to Shake for my very first brine was Shake’s Honey Brine

Shake Shack's cheese fries

To combat the chances that you will get the aforementioned soggy fries at Shake Shack, do yourself a favor and just get their cheese fries. Shake Shack melts American cheese over their regular fries and the result is something that will taste good enough, no matter if the fries themselves are crispy or not.

The restaurant posts a tongue-in-cheek warning on their website that their cheese fries are highly addictive. While that's too far over the top, their cheese fries are a definite upgrade over their regular fries. They're still the same frozen, crinkle-cut fries, but the American cheese makes all the difference. It's the identical high-quality cheese that is on a number of their burgers, so the taste upgrade is undisputed.

You can still get a side of ketchup to go with your cheese fries but it'd be a waste of time, as you will have an ample supply of cheese to dip your fries in. You don't need to worry about naked fries slipping through the cracks, they will all get their fair share of cheese love.

Massimo Bottura: Never Trust a Skinny Italian Chef Massimo Bottura

Price AUD$85.00 Price CAD$84.95 Price &euro55.00 Price £45.00 Price T64.95 Price USD$64.95

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Osteria Francescana is Italy’s most celebrated restaurant. At Osteria Francescana, chef Massimo Bottura takes inspiration from contemporary art to create highly innovative dishes that play with Italian culinary traditions. It’s an approach that has won him three Michelin stars and the number one place on the World's 50 Best Restaurant list.

Never Trust a Skinny Italian Chef is a tribute to Bottura’s twenty-five year career and the evolution of Osteria Francescana. Divided into four chapters, each one dealing with a different period, the book features 50 recipes and accompanying texts explaining Bottura’s inspiration, ingredients and techniques. Illustrated with photography by Stefano Graziani and Carlo Benvenuto, Never Trust a Skinny Italian Chef is the first book from Bottura - the leading figure in modern Italian gastronomy.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Size: 290 x 214 mm (11 3/8 x 8 3/8 in)
  • Pages: 296 pp
  • Illustrations: 250 illustrations
  • ISBN: 9780714867144

Massimo Bottura is the chef patron of Osteria Francescana, a three Michelin star restaurant based in Modena, Italy. Massimo grew up in Modena and developed an interest in cooking from a young age after watching his mother, grandmother and aunt in the kitchen preparing family meals. In 1986 he left a law degree to open his first restaurant and subsequently went on to develop his love of food with stages for Alain Ducasse at Louis XV in Monte Carlo and Ferran Adriá at elbulli. He opened Osteria Francescana in 1995.

Featured on the Netflix documentary series Chef's Table

"Massimo Bottura is the Jimi Hendrix of Italian chefs. he takes familiar dishes and classical flavors and techniques and turns them on their heads in a way that is innovative, boundary-breaking, sky kissing, and entirely whimsical, but ultimately timeless, and most importantly, deliciously satisfying." —Mario Batali

"A pioneer of modern Italian cooking, Bottura possesses both a deep respect for local traditions and a drive to keep blowing them up" —The Wall Street Journal

"Never Trust a Skinny Italian Chef is an incredible book, as rich with inspiration as Massimo’s dishes are with flavor." —Cindy Sherman

"Never Trust a Skinny Italian Chef demonstrates that food has indeed morphed into an element of high culture." —The New York Times Book Review

"This is more than just a conventional map of how to cook it is the best study yet of how a highly original and creative chef thinks and works." —The Economist

"The genius of Bottura lies in his ability to transcend opposites. In his inventive new book, Never Trust a Skinny Italian Chef, he offers a mix of recipes and memoir, with striking photography by Carlo Benvenuto and Stefano Graziani." —Food & Wine

"The book is a wonder - full of photos of food, setting and whimsy. Fascinating windows into the workings of one of cooking’s greatest minds." —LA Times

"Massimo Bottura is a luminary of the culinary avant-garde." —The New Yorker

"Energetic, engrossing, and often quite funny. Hard to put down." —Tasting Table

"Bottura is part of a new word order of chefs, intently focused on their terroir, but global in reach." —GQ

"A heady trip into the thoughtful mind of the three-Michelin-starred culinary genius." —

"A tribute to the 'Jimi Hendrix of Italian chefs'. Not only does it tell the story of his special journey with food it also features 50 of his amazing and inventive recipes." —Elle Decoration (South Africa)

"Bring a bit of Italy to UK shores. Will teach you to cook in a way that will make your old nonna proud." —Shortlist


Last week, I turned 40 years old. Two weeks before that, my life changed.

The past three weeks have been exciting, terrifying, and filled with emotion. Marking a fortieth birthday—a real milestone, like it or not—in the midst of it all has seemed in equal parts perfectly fitting and totally ridiculous.

“How am I going to tell people about this?” has been the predominant question on my mind for a few months now, and I apologize in advance to friends of mine (including some very close friends) for whom this post will come as a shock. Please understand that I did not shut you out—I shut myself off. Sometimes that’s what you need to do in order to get through.

So, here’s the deal: I moved. Like, really, really moved. As in I moved to New Mexico moved. Yeah. Yeah! After forty years of living in New York, I now live in New Mexico. How about that!

Yes, this also means that after 17 completely awesome years of working for Simon & Schuster, I have left my job. I’m still a book cover designer, of course (much like they say about Marines, a book cover designer is a book cover designer for life), but now I’m a freelance book cover designer! It’s bananas, you guys. PAJAMAS ALL THE TIME. (Just kidding. I’m not wearing pajamas all day. But I’ll write about freelance life in another post.) I’m still designing other stuff, too, so if you need any stuff designed…you know where to find me.

I DON’T LIVE IN NEW YORK ANYMORE, OMG. OMG! I live in New Mexico. Specifically, I live in a part of New Mexico commonly referred to as being “in the middle of nowhere.” That would be Portales, home to Eastern New Mexico University and a whole lot of peanuts.

I realize this information opens up a whole lot of questions, and I’ll do my best to answer them in a way that is in keeping with my need for privacy. Yeah, I know there’s a whole lot of self-contradiction in writing about needing privacy on your blog (FFS, Dorfman), but you know what I mean. To preemptively answer some of the questions I know are coming, here goes…

Evan and I have separated, amicably. He still lives in Brooklyn, and he’s still an important part of my life. Out of respect for his privacy, that’s all I’m going to say on that subject. Bruno lives with Evan in Brooklyn, and Fritz lives in New Mexico with me. So far, that seems to be the best solution for everyone—most importantly, the best thing for the dogs. Both dogs will be learning how to Skype. I did indeed hire a moving company to truck a bunch of stuff out here, so I’m not starting over from scratch or anything. I also hired automobile movers, so as of yesterday I have a car, which is blowing my mind. I NEED TO LEARN HOW TO DRIVE. I am 40 years old, and I have never driven a car. Ever. This should be interesting! I’ve also been cooking about 95% of what I eat, since Portales isn’t exactly a hotbed of vegan cuisine.

You can expect lots of posts about what I’m cooking, how the whole driving thing is going, and, most exciting of all, how my new HOUSE is looking! I’m renting a small, one-story house that I think was probably built in the 1940s, and I’ve been given the landlord’s blessing to make improvements. I CAN’T WAIT! The walls are currently the color of a shiny band-aid, and…well, I’ll post photos in another post. Just trust me that this is going to be a FUN makeover, and this house is going to be crazy cute when I’m done with it.

How ya like them apples? Here’s to the next 40, Life. Cheers!

Watch the video: Фаст-Фуд Shake Shack Обзор с Илюхой (December 2021).