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 (3268)

  1. krav maga san diego facebook posted 01/31/2013

    Recent Blogroll Additions……

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

  2. bulk email software posted 01/31/2013

    bulk email software…

    [...]that will be the end of this write-up. Here you will come across some sites that we believe you?ll enjoy, just click the hyperlinks over[...]…

  3. Clinical Thermometer Manufacturer…

    [...]we came across a cool web-site which you may possibly take pleasure in. Take a appear for those who want[...]…

  4. airport taxi london posted 01/31/2013

    Websites worth visiting…

    [...]here are some links to sites that we link to because we think they are worth visiting[...]……

  5. online life insurance quotes posted 01/31/2013

    Bored at work…

    I like to surf around the online world, often I will go to Stumble Upon and read and check stuff out…

  6. Low Cost Web Design posted 01/31/2013

    Low Cost Web Design…

    Wonderful story, reckoned we could combine a few unrelated information, nevertheless genuinely really worth taking a appear, whoa did a single master about Mid East has got a lot more problerms too…

  7. small business opportunities in 2013…

    [...]we came across a cool web-site that you just might enjoy. Take a appear for those who want[...]…

  8. moving backgrounds posted 02/01/2013

    Recommeneded websites…

    [...]Here are some of the sites we recommend for our visitors[...]……

  9. comics posted 02/01/2013

    comics…

    [...]very couple of internet sites that take place to become comprehensive beneath, from our point of view are undoubtedly nicely really worth checking out[...]…

  10. Samsung Galaxy S3 posted 02/01/2013

    Samsung Galaxy S3…

    [...]check below, are some totally unrelated websites to ours, even so, they are most trustworthy sources that we use[...]…

  11. iphone app review posted 02/01/2013

    iphone app review…

  12. Dreambox Receivers posted 02/01/2013

    Sources…

    [...]check below, are some totally unrelated websites to ours, however, they are most trustworthy sources that we use[...]……

  13. cleaning chicago posted 02/01/2013

    cleaning chicago…

    [...]one of our visitors recently advised the following website[...]…

  14. zebra printer price posted 02/01/2013

    zebra printer price…

    [...]The information talked about within the write-up are several of the most effective available [...]…

  15. ukrayna turu posted 02/02/2013

    ukrayna turu…

    Excellent post. I was checking constantly this blog and I’m impressed! Extremely useful information particularly the last part :) I care for such info much. I was looking for this certain information for a very long time. Thank you and best of luck….

  16. erken rezervasyon posted 02/02/2013

    erken rezervasyon…

    [...]Here are a number of the web pages we suggest for our visitors[...]…

  17. green coffee bean extract posted 02/02/2013

    Links…

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

  18. Leinwandbilder posted 02/02/2013

    Leinwandbilder…

    [...]Wonderful story, reckoned we could combine a few unrelated data, nevertheless actually really worth taking a look, whoa did one learn about Mid East has got more problerms at the same time [...]…

  19. new braunfels driveway paving contractors…

    [...]please pay a visit to the web sites we adhere to, like this one particular, as it represents our picks from the web[...]…

  20. Likes kaufen posted 02/02/2013

    Wikia…

    Wika linked to this website…

  21. zebra thermal label printers posted 02/02/2013

    zebra thermal label printers…

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

  22. Orlando Swapp posted 02/02/2013

    Orlando Swapp…

    [...]Sites of interest we’ve a link to[...]…

  23. acguitar posted 02/02/2013

    Sites we Like……

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

  24. tava green tea posted 02/02/2013

    tava green tea…

    [...]The details talked about inside the report are some of the most beneficial readily available [...]…

  25. teeth whitening gel posted 02/02/2013

    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[...]……

  26. marketing strategies posted 02/02/2013

    marketing strategies…

    [...]the time to read or check out the content material or websites we’ve linked to beneath the[...]…

  27. skin care posted 02/02/2013

    skin care…

  28. rescue dogs posted 02/02/2013

    rescue dogs…

    [...]Here are a few of the web-sites we recommend for our visitors[...]…

  29. pokies posted 02/03/2013

    pokies…

  30. check it out here posted 02/03/2013

    check it out here…

    [...]we came across a cool site which you may love. Take a look in the event you want[...]…

  31. diet pills posted 02/03/2013

    diet pills…

    [...]Here is an excellent Blog You might Uncover Interesting that we Encourage You[...]…

  32. click here posted 02/03/2013

    Healing’s Dragon…

    to locate difficulties to improve my web-site!I suppose its alright to produce utilization of a couple of of your respective principles!!…

  33. profitclicking posted 02/03/2013

    Awesome website…

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

  34. JD Barnett Lawyer posted 02/03/2013

    JD Barnett Lawyer…

    We are a group of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community. Your website provided us with useful info to paintings on. You have done an impressive activity and our whole group might be grateful to you….

  35. luxury homes posted 02/03/2013

    luxury homes…

    [...]below you will come across the link to some web sites that we believe you must visit[...]…

  36. Oscars posted 02/03/2013

    Oscars…

    [...]here are some links to sites that we link to due to the fact we feel they may be really worth visiting[...]…

  37. iPhone 5 Wallpaper posted 02/03/2013

    iPhone 5 Wallpaper…

    As a Newbie, I am always exploring online for articles that can benefit me. Thank you…

  38. Insulation Perth posted 02/03/2013

    Recommeneded websites…

    [...]Here are some of the sites we recommend for our visitors[...]……

  39. atlanta seo company posted 02/04/2013

    Links…

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

  40. mágico posted 02/04/2013

    Awesome website…

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

  41. Jessie Gott posted 02/04/2013

    amazing producing…

    Image examining obtainable plenty of this content pieces and causeing this to be very say very sensible product. I almost will certainly look for your on the internet website….

  42. Google Local Citation Finder posted 02/04/2013

    Google Local Citation Finder…

    [...]Here are a few of the web-sites we advocate for our visitors[...]…

  43. motorcycle riding gear posted 02/04/2013

    motorcycle riding gear…

    Thanks for your publication on the vacation industry. I might also like contribute that if you are a senior considering traveling, it’s absolutely crucial that you buy travel cover for elderly people. When traveling, retirees are at biggest risk of ge…

  44. it training posted 02/04/2013

    Superb website…

    [...]always a big fan of linking to bloggers that I like but don’t get a lot of link love from[...]……

  45. How to get a job posted 02/04/2013

    How to get a job…

    [...]below you will obtain the link to some web sites that we think you should visit[...]…

  46. music 2013 posted 02/04/2013

    music 2013…

    [...]Every after inside a even though we choose blogs that we study. Listed beneath are the most current web sites that we choose [...]…

  47. our health coop posted 02/04/2013

    our health coop…

    We absolutely love your blog and find the majority of your post’s to be exactly what I’m looking for. Do you offer guest writers to write content available for you? I wouldn’t mind producing a post or elaborating on a few of the subjects you write r…

  48. friv posted 02/04/2013

    friv…

    [...]we came across a cool web page that you just may well get pleasure from. Take a appear when you want[...]…

  49. Bank Terbaik posted 02/04/2013

    Bank Terbaik…

    [...]below you will find the link to some websites that we feel you need to visit[...]…

  50. wholesale clothing posted 02/05/2013

    Its hard to find good help…

    I am forever proclaiming that its hard to find good help, but here is…

Post a New Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

c