Watch Cooking Channel

A Chef’s Perspective on Preparing America’s State Dishes

Young Sun Huh discusses a dish with the culinary team.

By now you’ve seen our list of 50 dishes (plus one for D.C. and an election year-themed cake) that represent American cuisine, and have read our behind-the-scenes blog post all about the creation of this huge project. (Oh, you haven’t? Trust us — it’s worth a couple clicks.) Our chefs up in the Kitchens were super busy (and sometimes super stumped) preparing regional dishes from all 50 states, from classics like peach pie and lobster rolls to some crazy-sounding dishes like Lefse, Pastys and Chislic.

We sat down with Chef Young Sun Huh to walk us through her recipe development process, and share some of her favorite memories from this fun collaborative project.

Cooking Channel: You prepared and tasted a lot of dishes. Which one were you most surprised to find yourself going back for second (or third) helpings?

The dish that stole everyone's hearts (and stomachs).

Young Sun Huh: I was most surprised by the Funeral Potatoes from Utah. Based on the morbid-sounding name, I honestly didn’t know what to expect! This dish — traditionally served at the meal for grieving mourners after a funeral — turned out to be the ultimate comfort food: a creamy, cheesy, downright delicious casserole. Though I don’t normally cook with a lot of convenience products, I found that it’s much easier to use frozen potatoes and the dish is no less delicious for it.

CC: What was the biggest challenge you faced in trying to replicate a local dish’s authentic flavors?

Can't get to Nebraska? These hand-held meat pies are the real deal.

YSH: I was assigned the task of developing a recipe for Runzas, a meat-stuffed pocket bread from the Nebraska-based food chain, but had never eaten one before. Fortunately there are a lot of passionate Nebraskans who try to re-create their favorite state dish at home and like to blog about it online. Of course, there are just as many opinions about what ingredients make up a definitive Runza — beef only or beef and pork? Cabbage or sauerkraut? — so I just tried to create a basic but tasty recipe that covered most of the bases. Still, I didn’t know whether I had an authentic-tasting product on my hands. Luckily, we managed to find a native Nebraskan on staff who just happened to be available to taste my attempt at the Nebraska Handheld Meat Pie. When she gave it the thumbs up, I knew I could rest a little easier!

CC: Which was the easiest dish for you to develop?

This sandwich is all about the assembly.

YSH: The easiest dish to develop was the Pork Roll Sandwich With Egg and Cheese from New Jersey. There are so few ingredients that the hardest part about writing this recipe was describing how to construct the sandwich. Also, I could confirm every detail — the type of bread, the cheese, the meat, how to cut the meat, etc. — with Ali Clarke, a born-and-bred New Jerseyan who works with me in the Kitchens.

CC: Choosing one recipe from this project, can you walk us through your process of recipe writing, development and testing?

It might look simple, but salmon candy was a real stumper for the culinary team.

YSH: The Salmon Candy for Alaska was an interesting recipe to develop. The first step was to research salmon candy in books and online. We have an extensive cookbook library and it is an excellent resource for such projects. The research unearthed different recipes, techniques and flavor preferences, so my main goal was to develop an authentic recipe that tastes good and makes sense culinary-wise.

Salmon candy is usually cured first and then smoked and basted at very low heat for a long time in a smoker. Since most people don’t have a smoker, we decided to develop a recipe that’s more accessible for the home cook. Instead of a smoker, the salmon in this recipe is dried out slowly in a regular oven.

Before I start cooking, I always begin by writing the recipe. It’s best to think through the recipe and get all your thoughts organized on paper. When I reach this phase of the process, I try not to consult specific recipes, since I don’t want to copy someone else’s recipe. I want to make it my own. Once the recipe is written, I send it to the project head for review. Next, I send a shopping list to our purchasing department. Once all the ingredients are in, usually by the next day, I can start cooking.

I try to follow my written recipe, but I’ll make changes if I sense that something isn’t going to work. For example, I originally didn’t have any soy sauce in the recipe, but I found that the salmon needed this salty, umami component to offset the sweetness of the maple syrup and brown sugar. Once I had finished a first pass of salmon candy, I took a picture of the finished dish for a visual reference and scheduled a tasting for later in the day.

The culinary project head, director of the test kitchen, and members of the Cooking Channel Web team attended the tasting and made comments. We decided that the salmon was a little too crumbly in texture and the glaze should be cooked onto the fish a bit more. We discussed extending the curing time from four hours to 12 hours and basting the salmon earlier in the oven-drying process. I revised the recipe, ordered more salmon, and attempted a second pass the next day.

Once the second batch was ready, the same group gathered and tasted it again. This revised batch was approved and the recipe was then moved to the cross-testing phase. I handed off the approved recipe to the cross-tester, in this case Ali, who approached the recipe from the perspective of the average person. If anything was confusing or didn’t work, Ali took notes on how the recipe should be modified. Then another tasting was scheduled to taste the cross-tested salmon candy. I believe Ali had to cross-test this recipe twice. The culinary editorial team then proofread the recipe for punctuation and grammatical errors and to make sure it followed the Cooking Channel format.

For even more behind-the-scenes content, check out these photos of the recipe development and photo-shoot process.

See all 50 dishes and the completed project here: Across the Country in 50 State Dishes.

Tags:

Comments (3343)

  1. Herbal Smoking Blends posted 01/24/2013

    Great website…

    […]we like to honor many other internet sites on the web, even if they aren’t linked to us, by linking to them. Under are some webpages worth checking out[…]……

  2. slot machines posted 01/24/2013

    Check this out…

    […] that is the end of this article. Here you’ll find some sites that we think you’ll appreciate, just click the links over[…]……

  3. coconut oil posted 01/24/2013

    coconut oil…

  4. dubturbo posted 01/24/2013

    dubturbo…

    […]one of our visitors a short while ago encouraged the following website[…]…

  5. the tao of bad ass posted 01/24/2013

    the tao of bad ass…

    […]very couple of internet sites that occur to become detailed beneath, from our point of view are undoubtedly effectively worth checking out[…]…

  6. Serviced office singapore posted 01/24/2013

    Great website…

    […]we like to honor many other internet sites on the web, even if they aren’t linked to us, by linking to them. Under are some webpages worth checking out[…]……

  7. short term loans posted 01/24/2013

    short term loans…

    […]the time to study or stop by the content material or websites we’ve linked to beneath the[…]…

  8. Rainbow riches app posted 01/24/2013

    Sites we Like……

    […] Every once in a while we choose blogs that we read. Listed below are the latest sites that we choose […]……

  9. Sober Living posted 01/24/2013

    Sober Living…

    […]we came across a cool site which you may possibly get pleasure from. Take a search in case you want[…]…

  10. Cheap deals posted 01/24/2013

    Cool sites…

    […]we came across a cool site that you might enjoy. Take a look if you want[…]……

  11. buy cheap facebook fans/likes posted 01/25/2013

    buy cheap facebook fans/likes…

  12. Charger Gadget posted 01/25/2013

    Charger Gadget…

    […]usually posts some very interesting stuff like this. If you are new to this site[…]…

  13. plumbing jobs seattle posted 01/25/2013

    plumbing jobs seattle…

    I discovered more a new challenge on this weight-loss issue. One issue is that good nutrition is vital any time dieting. A tremendous reduction in bad foods, sugary food items, fried foods, sugary foods, pork, and white flour products could be necessar…

  14. roofing seattle posted 01/25/2013

    roofing seattle…

  15. plumbers posted 01/25/2013

    plumbers…

    Hello! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any problems with hackers? My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing months of hard work due to no back up. Do you have any solutions to protect against hackers?…

  16. iphone repair denver posted 01/25/2013

    iphone repair denver…

    Thanks for the distinct tips discussed on this web site. I have realized that many insurance firms offer clients generous reductions if they opt to insure many cars together. A significant quantity of households possess several cars these days, specifi…

  17. iphone 4 repair denver posted 01/25/2013

    iphone 4 repair denver…

    It is really a great and useful piece of info. I am glad that you shared this helpful information with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing….

  18. Injury Lawyer Seattle WA posted 01/25/2013

    Injury Lawyer Seattle WA…

    […]Every once in a whilst we decide on blogs that we read. Listed beneath are the newest internet sites that we opt for […]…

  19. Frank Lonardelli posted 01/25/2013

    Visitor recommendations…

    […]one of our visitors recently recommended the following website[…]……

  20. click through the next website page…

    […]very few internet sites that come about to become in depth beneath, from our point of view are undoubtedly nicely worth checking out[…]…

  21. Health and healing retreat posted 01/25/2013

    extremely worthwhile…

    We’ve detected that engine insurance vendors understand an individual’s autos which is susceptible that will injuries in addition to various hardships. In add-on, they determine what kind of autos will bigger threat utilizing the larger threat they n…

  22. phim 18 posted 01/25/2013

    You should check this out…

    […] Wonderful story, reckoned we could combine a few unrelated data, nevertheless really worth taking a look, whoa did one learn about Mid East has got more problerms as well […]……

  23. Calgary Family Therapists posted 01/25/2013

    Online Article……

    […]The information mentioned in the article are some of the best available […]……

  24. pipe fittings posted 01/25/2013

    pipe fittings…

    […]just beneath, are quite a few completely not related web sites to ours, on the other hand, they are surely worth going over[…]…

  25. best gaming website posted 01/26/2013

    best gaming website…

  26. Climb out of elo hell posted 01/26/2013

    Climb out of elo hell…

    […]Here are several of the websites we advocate for our visitors[…]…

  27. text messages online posted 01/26/2013

    Cool sites…

    […]we came across a cool site that you might enjoy. Take a look if you want[…]……

  28. zoloft death posted 01/26/2013

    zoloft death…

    […]Sites of interest we have a link to[…]…

  29. dating posted 01/26/2013

    Visitor recommendations…

    […]one of our visitors recently recommended the following website[…]……

  30. dragon power rendelés posted 01/26/2013

    dragon power rendelés…

    […]one of our guests lately suggested the following website[…]…

  31. movie download posted 01/26/2013

    movie download…

    […]always a big fan of linking to bloggers that I like but do not get lots of link adore from[…]…

  32. primal burn fat burner system review…

    […]always a big fan of linking to bloggers that I really like but do not get lots of link appreciate from[…]…

  33. Bank Soal posted 01/26/2013

    Awesome website…

    […]the time to read or visit the content or sites we have linked to below the[…]……

  34. empower network posted 01/26/2013

    Websites we think you should visit…

    […]although websites we backlink to below are considerably not related to ours, we feel they are actually worth a go through, so have a look[…]……

  35. mobile website design adelaide posted 01/26/2013

    Gems form the internet…

    […]very few websites that happen to be detailed below, from our point of view are undoubtedly well worth checking out[…]……

  36. free ipad posted 01/26/2013

    free ipad…

    […]Wonderful story, reckoned we could combine a few unrelated information, nonetheless actually worth taking a look, whoa did one particular find out about Mid East has got far more problerms too […]…

  37. windows 8 review posted 01/26/2013

    windows 8 review…

    […]Sites of interest we have a link to[…]…

  38. rollstuhl kaufen posted 01/26/2013

    rollstuhl kaufen…

    […]just beneath, are numerous completely not related websites to ours, however, they may be certainly really worth going over[…]…

  39. northern ontario natural gas posted 01/26/2013

    northern ontario natural gas…

    Youre so cool! I dont suppose Ive read anything like this before. So nice to find somebody with some unique thoughts on this subject. realy thanks for beginning this up. this website is something that’s wanted on the net, someone with somewhat origina…

  40. Antique Jewellery Online posted 01/26/2013

    Antique Jewellery Online…

  41. scommesse binarie posted 01/26/2013

    Sites we Like……

    […] Every once in a while we choose blogs that we read. Listed below are the latest sites that we choose […]……

  42. video production los angeles posted 01/26/2013

    Links…

    […]Sites of interest we have a link to[…]……

  43. los angeles video production posted 01/27/2013

    Visitor recommendations…

    […]one of our visitors recently recommended the following website[…]……

  44. Serviced office posted 01/27/2013

    Check this out…

    […] that is the end of this article. Here you’ll find some sites that we think you’ll appreciate, just click the links over[…]……

  45. Victoria, BC posted 01/27/2013

    Victoria, BC…

    […]below you will discover the link to some web-sites that we consider it is best to visit[…]…

  46. Links…

    […]Sites of interest we have a link to[…]……

  47. web design malaysia posted 01/27/2013

    web design malaysia…

    […]always a big fan of linking to bloggers that I enjoy but really don’t get lots of link adore from[…]…

  48. top rated posted 01/27/2013

    top rated…

    […]although web-sites we backlink to below are considerably not related to ours, we feel they are in fact worth a go by means of, so possess a look[…]…

  49. webdesigner posted 01/27/2013

    webdesigner…

    […]just beneath, are various completely not connected web-sites to ours, even so, they’re surely really worth going over[…]…

  50. supplements posted 01/27/2013

    supplements…

Post a New Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

c