The Top 10 Things We Learned from Alton Brown in 2019
Somewhere in the center of a hurricane of cooking nerdery, Alton Brown sits calmly, jotting out his thoughts on Post-it notes and testing everything extensively. It’s that stalwartly thoroughness — that consistent commitment to finding the smartest and best way to find the good ingredients, the most flavor, or the easiest way to cook something — that keeps us looking at Alton’s suggestions anytime he makes them.
They often seem wacky or offbeat, but always turn out to make a whole lot of sense once he presents his rationale, which is why we spent all of 2019 seeing what we could learn from him.
1. We learned about some of Alton’s favorite kitchen tools.
Alton’s views on kitchen tools have been widely publicized, and even though some of us will never throw out our garlic presses, any list of kitchen tools Alton actually uses is surely a list of essentials. He looks for only the most useful multitaskers — no bells and whistles that up the price tag, just the simplest and best things out there. Which is why his suggestions for pizza wheel, thermometer, indoor grill, board scraper, and steel lotus should probably be added to your kitchen wish list ASAP.
Read more: 5 of Alton Brown’s Favorite Kitchen Gadgets
2. Alton shared his new favorite beautiful pan.
While you’re making that wish list, go ahead and add a big-ticket item, too: the $210 pan that is also basically a work of art that Alton endorsed on his Instagram (and no, it wasn’t sponsored). Hey, if it doesn’t make perfect food, it looks good enough you could get your money’s worth just by hanging it on the wall.
Read more: The $210 Pan That Alton Brown Is Currently Obsessed With
3. Alton taught us how to make better banana bread.
In order to rise above the other 700,000 recipes for banana bread, you need to have a recipe that’s truly game-changing — and Alton’s is. He suggests that you bake rolled oats in the oven, then mill them into flour consistency in the food processor before you make the rest of the recipe. It seems like a lot of work, but you know Alton wouldn’t make you do it for nothing.
Read more: Alton Brown’s One-Ingredient Trick for Great Banana Bread
4. Alton told us how to properly store tomato paste.
When Alton shared his secret to storing tomato paste, we felt a bit called out at first: How did he know we’d just been opening the can and then letting it go bad under plastic wrap in our fridge, opening a new can, and repeating that infinitely? Maybe because everyone does that, so he gave us a solution: freezing it and slicing off just what you need.
Read more: Here’s How to Properly Store Tomato Paste, According to Alton Brown
5. Alton showed us how to make better scrambled eggs.
Like the banana bread, when Alton wanted to improve scrambled eggs, it seemed like a strange one — why mess with a good thing? But of course, he had science to back up his odd addition. Mayonnaise is already basically egg and oil, so if you’re making eggs in oil, why not improve the texture by adding that mayo right into the eggs? Turns out, he’s right: It doesn’t taste like mayo, but it does make for a creamy breakfast.
Read more: Alton Brown’s Secret to Better Scrambled Eggs Might Surprise You
6. Alton shared an unusual tip for better fruit pies.
If there’s one place we’d never doubt Alton, it’s when it comes to peaches. As a Georgia boy, we know that he’d never give bad advice about his state’s pride and joy. So when he told us the secret to peach pie was to spice it up with a little smoked paprika, we obviously headed straight for the spice cabinet. You won’t notice the actual heat — you’ll just wonder why your pie turned out so delicious.
Read more: Alton Brown’s Unusual Trick for Making Better Fruit Pie
7. Alton taught us how to use tongs in the kitchen.
Alton is at his best when giving us easy ways to improve everyday objects with stuff we already have on hand — like his easy upgrade to your kitchen tongs. If you’ve ever tried to remove a ramekin or jar from a water bath with metal tongs, then you’ll understand the need for this anti-slip grip trick: wrapping a rubber band (like the kind that comes on your grocery store vegetables) around the ends of each side of the tong. The tackiness of the rubber band and its flexibility make the tongs grippy and sturdy — no fancy equipment needed.
Read more: The Alton Brown Tip to Make Your Tongs Even More Useful
8. Alton told us about his brilliant lemonade tip.
Sometimes Alton’s tricks don’t save time, so you’ve got to believe that they make one heck of a difference in flavor. Such is the case with his lemonade hack. How does he manage to make a lemonade that needs far less sugar than most? He uses preserved lemons. So you’ll either have to have prepared well before summer or purchase the pre-made version at the grocery store. But if you’re committed to flavor or sugar-phobic, this is definitely the way to go.
Read more: Alton Brown’s Tip for Better Lemonade Is Actually So Smart
9. Alton gave us the secret to better muffins.
Alton’s maniacal muffin-making tricks don’t require anything special, just trusting him that the key to the best muffin — in this case, one that’s almost entirely muffin top — is just piling on more batter. It seems obvious, but of course there’s more to it. The recipe is specially devised to add extra muffin top, and then at the end, you flip the muffins upside down to cool, making sure there’s no mushy muffin bottom — and maybe it’s even as good as the top.
Read more: The One Thing Alton Brown Does to Make Perfect Muffins
10. And finally, Alton shared his go-to meal.
If you were Alton Brown, what would you be eating for dinner? Well, in his Reddit AMA this summer, he told us what his go-to meal was, so we can offer a pretty good guess: roast chicken and waffles. A measure of health (roast, not fried chicken), a measure of Southern style, and of course a little bit of fun — a classic Alton formula.
Read more: Alton Brown Answered His Fan’s Burning Questions in This Reddit AMA — Here’s What We Learned