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. plugues posted 12/23/2012

    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 [...]……

  2. cirugia estetica posted 12/23/2012

    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 [...]……

  3. shop now posted 12/23/2012

    shop now…

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

  4. racing games posted 12/23/2012

    Superb website…

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

  5. it services utah posted 12/23/2012

    Links…

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

  6. height adjustable desk posted 12/23/2012

    height adjustable desk…

    [...]very few sites that come about to be in depth below, from our point of view are undoubtedly nicely really worth checking out[...]…

  7. Boston Wedding Photographers posted 12/23/2012

    Boston Wedding Photographers…

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

  8. Best Payday Loan posted 12/24/2012

    Best Payday Loan…

    [...]please check out the web-sites we adhere to, which includes this one, as it represents our picks through the web[...]…

  9. e cigaretter posted 12/24/2012

    Recent Blogroll Additions……

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

  10. Online Webshop einrichten posted 12/24/2012

    Gems form the internet…

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

  11. best android games posted 12/24/2012

    best android games…

    [...]always a significant fan of linking to bloggers that I like but don?t get a whole lot of link enjoy from[...]…

  12. how to posted 12/24/2012

    how to…

    [...]check beneath, are some totally unrelated sites to ours, nevertheless, they’re most trustworthy sources that we use[...]…

  13. Hypnotherapy Ardsley hypnosis posted 12/24/2012

    Hypnotherapy Ardsley hypnosis…

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

  14. ECA Stack posted 12/24/2012

    Related……

    [...]just beneath, are numerous totally not related sites to ours, however, they are surely worth going over[...]……

  15. ephedrine posted 12/24/2012

    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[...]……

  16. no faxing loans posted 12/24/2012

    Julian…

    I haven’t checked in here for some time since I thought it was getting boring, but the last several posts are good quality so I guess I’ll add you back to my daily bloglist. You deserve it my friend :)

  17. marketing online posted 12/24/2012

    marketing online…

    [...]Wonderful story, reckoned we could combine several unrelated information, nonetheless definitely really worth taking a appear, whoa did one master about Mid East has got far more problerms too [...]…

  18. apps for video posted 12/24/2012

    apps for video…

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

  19. ERP posted 12/24/2012

    ERP…

    [...]just beneath, are many totally not associated web sites to ours, nevertheless, they may be certainly really worth going over[...]…

  20. web directory posted 12/24/2012

    web directory…

    [...]one of our guests not long ago suggested the following website[...]…

  21. home inspection posted 12/24/2012

    home inspection…

    [...]just beneath, are various completely not connected internet sites to ours, nevertheless, they may be certainly really worth going over[...]…

  22. Winfred Appleby posted 12/24/2012

    appealing write-up…

    It’s possible you’ll prepared plenty of nice areas due to that right honestly presently there. I regarded online for each problem not saying discovered lots of persons will need to consent in combination along with blog….

  23. new songs 2013 posted 12/24/2012

    new songs 2013…

    [...]The info talked about inside the write-up are several of the top obtainable [...]…

  24. coffee maker posted 12/24/2012

    Related……

    [...]just beneath, are numerous totally not related sites to ours, however, they are surely worth going over[...]……

  25. Antique Jewellery posted 12/25/2012

    Antique Jewellery…

    [...]although sites we backlink to below are considerably not associated to ours, we feel they may be really really worth a go by way of, so have a look[...]…

  26. custom desktop posted 12/25/2012

    custom desktop…

    [...]usually posts some quite fascinating stuff like this. If you?re new to this site[...]…

  27. ct electricians posted 12/25/2012

    ct electricians…

    [...]Wonderful story, reckoned we could combine a number of unrelated data, nonetheless actually really worth taking a appear, whoa did one particular discover about Mid East has got extra problerms at the same time [...]…

  28. lottery posted 12/25/2012

    Visitor recommendations…

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

  29. Its hard to find good help…

    I am regularly proclaiming that its difficult to procure good help, but here is…

  30. jasa seo indonesia posted 12/25/2012

    The Ships’s Voyages…

    I think engineering just makes it worse. Now there is a channel to never care, now there won’t be a likelihood for them to find out….

  31. Maryland Web Design posted 12/25/2012

    Maryland Web Design…

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

  32. Network Marketing posted 12/25/2012

    Network Marketing…

    [...]Here is a superb Weblog You may Uncover Exciting that we Encourage You[...]…

  33. retro jewelry posted 12/25/2012

    retro jewelry…

    [...]just beneath, are several totally not related web-sites to ours, even so, they are surely really worth going over[...]…

  34. kamagra ár posted 12/26/2012

    kamagra ár…

    [...]the time to read or stop by the subject material or web sites we’ve linked to below the[...]…

  35. Wii U posted 12/26/2012

    Wii U…

    [...]Every as soon as in a though we pick blogs that we read. Listed below are the most recent internet sites that we pick [...]…

  36. insurance for accident posted 12/26/2012

    The Slave of the Husband…

    Trying to get in advance to studying extra from you afterward!……

  37. funeral insurance posted 12/26/2012

    Woman of Alien…

    Ideal operate you’ve carried out, this page is absolutely neat with fantastic data. Time is God’s means of retaining everything from happening simultaneously….

  38. Visit This Link posted 12/27/2012

    Visit This Link…

    [...]Here are a number of the websites we advise for our visitors[...]…

  39. article source posted 12/27/2012

    article source…

    [...]always a large fan of linking to bloggers that I really like but really don’t get a whole lot of link enjoy from[...]…

  40. keyword: pea protein posted 12/27/2012

    keyword: pea protein…

    [...]check beneath, are some completely unrelated internet websites to ours, on the other hand, they are most trustworthy sources that we use[...]…

  41. Small Cap Stocks posted 12/27/2012

    Small Cap Stocks…

    [...]just beneath, are numerous completely not related web-sites to ours, however, they are certainly really worth going over[...]…

  42. sand and building supplies posted 12/27/2012

    Whispering Misty…

    So sorry you’ll skip the workshop!…

  43. tiles posted 12/27/2012

    Whispering Misty…

    So sorry you are going to pass up the workshop!…

  44. trailer supply posted 12/27/2012

    Thorn of Girl…

    Very good data could be found on this internet web site….

  45. New Years Eve 2013 Helsinki posted 12/28/2012

    New Years Eve 2013 Helsinki…

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

  46. hair salons in las vegas posted 12/28/2012

    Recent Blogroll Additions……

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

  47. hair extension las vegas posted 12/28/2012

    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[...]……

  48. data recovery singapore posted 12/28/2012

    data recovery singapore…

    [...]always a significant fan of linking to bloggers that I really like but don?t get lots of link love from[...]…

  49. football boots online posted 12/28/2012

    football boots online…

    [...]just beneath, are several entirely not related sites to ours, having said that, they’re surely really worth going over[...]…

  50. spa posted 12/28/2012

    spa…

    [...]although websites we backlink to below are considerably not related to ours, we really feel they may be in fact worth a go by, so have a look[...]…

Post a New Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

c