Ingredients and Glossaries

"If olive oil comes from olives, where does baby oil come from?"Anonymous

Garbage in, garbage out. So true of cooking. The qualityof ingredients is paramount to quality dining. And there are subtle but important differences among salts, vinegars, oils, flours, and so on. In this section we will try to explain the differences.
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Here is an A to Z glossary of barbecue and cooking terms. Some might call it "jargon," which is the specialized language that people of like mind use to communicate. Either way, get to know these terms, use them, and you'll be on your way to becoming a barbecue insider. read more
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Here's what you need to know about cacao pods, cocoa powder, cocoa butter, chocolate liquor, and how chocolate is made, including the different types of chocolate, how to melt chocolate, and how to cook with it. read more
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What is the difference between Kosher Dill and Genuine Dill pickles? Here's your guide to everything you need to know about fermented pickles, refrigerator pickles, quick pickles, pickling liquids, pickling spices, gherkins, bread and butter pickles, half sours, and other pickled foods besides cucumbers. read more
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Fresh sweet corn is a seasonal pleasure you should enjoy every year! Here's what you need to know about different types of fresh corn, including varieties such as yellow, white, bi-color, Silver queen, and supersweet. Learn how to buy them, store them, grill them, savor them, and cook the best corn on the cob. read more
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Black pepper is the most popular spice in the world. How are black peppercorns related to white peppercorns and pink peppercorns? Are black peppercorns related to red hot chili peppers too? Find out all about different peppers, peppercorns, and the different compounds that make them taste pungent. read more
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Want to know how vinegar works? What is acidity? What is the difference between distilled white vinegar and white wine vinegar? Read on to find out all about how different vinegars add brightness to food and balance richness and sweetness. read more
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Find out everything you need to know about sucrose, fructose, and glucose, as well as how to cook with different sugars, syrups, and artificial sweeteners, including granulated sugar, brown sugar, turbinado, demerara, Barbados, muscovado, and more. Plus a handy guide to the stages of sugar syrup for candy making. read more
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Chile, chili, chilli, chilies, bell pepper, black pepper, paprika, aji, capsicum, chiles pasado, pimento, pimiento...what's the difference? Let's straighten this out. Read all about capsaicin, Scoville Heat Units, taming the heat, various hot sauces, hot pepper pastes and condiments, and how to make red pepper flakes. read more
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There's yeast for baking, for brewing, for making wine, and for nutrition. Read on to learn more about the type used most often in cooking: baker's yeast. Find some good tips for buying, storing and using active dry yeast, instant yeast (quick rise yeast), fresh yeast (cake yeast), and wild yeast (sourdough yeast). read more
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Flour is the basis of bread, pizza, pies, cakes and cookies. It can be made from grains, seeds, beans, and even roots. Here we explain the different types of wheat flour like whole wheat, all-purpose, bread and cake flours as well as the importance of measuring flour by weight with an accurate digital kitchen scale. read more
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Knowing a good butcher is more important than knowing a good broker. Here are more tips on buying meat in farmer's markets and other butcher shops, understanding meat labels, freezing meat, and thawing meat. read more
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Confused about balsamic vinegar? Why does one bottle cost $5 and another $500? Read about the three main classifications: Tradizionale, Condimento, and Balsamic Vinegar di Modena. Find out how they are made, trade associations and labeling criteria, how to make balsamic syrup, and all about white balsamic vinegar. read more
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Garlic makes it good! Here's what a cook needs to know about forms of garlic, including fresh garlic, elephant garlic, garlic chives, and mincing, pressing, and smashing garlic. Find out about dried forms, too, like garlic powder, granulated garlic, and garlic salt, and recipes for making garlic oil and roasted garlic. read more
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Do you know the difference between clarified butter and ghee? Longer cooking! That's it. Ghee whiz! Read on to see a recipe for clarified butter and ghee, and why this simple process raises the smoke point so you can fry in clarified butter or ghee and so you can store it at room temperature without it going rancid. read more
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Are you a liquid smoke hater? BBQ aficionados usually are. You might be surprised to find out that liquid smoke is essentially smoked water. It is made in a process similar to making smoked brisket and ribs! Read on to find out how liquid smoke is made, what it contains, and how it compares to real smoke. read more

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Meathead Goldwyn

Meathead is the founder and publisher of AmazingRibs.com, and is also known as the site's Hedonism Evangelist and BBQ Whisperer. He is also the author of "Meathead, The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling", a New York Times Best Seller and named one of the "100 Best Cookbooks of All Time" by Southern Living.

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