- Hey guys, it's Alex.
I'm here in the BA Test Kitchen,
and I'm gonna have a little secret conversation
about Chris Morocco with y'all.
Once again, we're gonna put his super taster abilities
to the test.
These are Roy Choi's carne asada tacos with salsa verde.
Roy Choi, LA native, grew up in Koreatown,
cooking Korean food and eating a lot of Mexican food.
We're gonna challenge Chris create this exact dish
with every ingredient in just two days.
Chris is gonna be able to taste it, touch, smell it,
but at no point will he ever lay his eyes on this dish.
At the end of the second day, I'm gonna come back through,
taste Chris's version, and be the judge of whether or not
he pulled it off.
- I really hope you guys aren't screwing me
on this mask, man.
I got a real bad feeling about this.
Okay, cool, hi.
- Hi, are you doing?
- I'm all right.
These are the ones that freak me out a little bit.
Like, this is very soft, very subtle.
I thought I maybe smelled a little bit of corn
and just feeling the edges of these plates
it feels like I've got a tortilla situation.
When I get really close, I feel like I get something
a little bit kinda cool and crunchy
but it's so faint.
Okay, let's just take this item by item, shall we?
Something very fleshy, like cilantro or something here.
Got diced raw onion.
I would kinda imagine that's white onion.
There's some heat to this, there's some zip.
There's a little bit of moderately spicy
fermented hot sauce.
There's something a little bit,
yeah it's not crazy spicy.
And there's not a lot of other flavor going on
but it's got a little bit
of funky fermenty kinda thing happening.
Everything's freaking me out today,
even the cilantro's freaking me out today.
Who is that?
- It's me!
- Oh my God,
are you like lurking? - I'm just here
for the entertainment.
- Oh my God!
- What mask are you wearing?
- I feel like I'm getting antlers,
I'm getting like a little button nose.
I got a really bad - Are you a reindeer?
- [beep] feeling that I'm Rudolph.
You make me very jumpy sometimes.
- Stop, I thought we were friends.
- We are, mostly.
Okay, so we got some kinda piece of meat here.
Whoa, that has a deep level of char on it.
There's what I was kinda smelling that was like
that meaty, toasty edge.
Tastes like beef.
It's got a pronounced kinda fibrousness to it.
Could this be our friend skirt steak
back for another rodeo
or is this something a little bit denser?
What is on the steak that's giving it
that accentuated kinda char and that edge?
Is there a little bit of a dry rub?
And then how is the hot sauce being used?
It's really hard to sort of figure out okay,
is the hot sauce only on the meat?
Is the hot sauce kind of everywhere?
There's also sweetness in here that's like,
is it as simple as somebody made a tomatilla salsa
and somehow sweetened it and punched it up with lime?
I think part of it is like tomatillos themselves
have a ton of acidity but they still have that green tomato
character to them.
What's really tricky is where does the brightness
of the lime juice kind of end potentially,
and then the acidity of the tomatillo begin.
Then there's also a little bit of that vegetal bell pepper
quality to green chiles, you know, specifically,
and I can't necessarily tell what
the chili source is here, tricky.
All right, so I'm feeling around to see if I can have
an edge of meat that doesn't seem to be overly sauced.
Yeah, I don't think I'm calling this for skirt.
Skirt would be a little bit floppier.
It would have a little bit more
of a shreddy kind of texture to it.
I'm picturing in my mind all the graphics
that are gonna be appearing for you guys.
Like wrong, skirt steak, Chris sucks,
you know like, check!
It's too even, it's too fine grained.
I think my opening move with the steak
is gonna be New York strip.
In my mind a dry rub makes more sense on this
but then again I'm not tasting obvious spices.
There is very savory umami quality to the meat.
It tastes good.
It's almost a scenario in which I can see something like
a soy sauce or something that's salty and very umami
being used on the meat.
This one is a tricky one.
What the [beep] is that.
- Just me, buddy, I'm love ya.
- I could [beep] sense your presence
because you went quiet.
I heard you back there - Whoa, creepy, right?
- and then like,
you're not quiet. - A little warm air
on the neck?
- Quiet is not what you do.
- Good luck, brother!
- Thanks, dude.
I mean, it would be just like you guys
to choose skirt steak after the pork belly debacle.
I don't know.
Whatever, take it away.
I'm gonna go sulk with the other misfit reindeer over here.
I guess there's the question,
is this not strictly Mexican?
In my head it could skew slightly Asian.
All right, shopping list.
So steak, I wanna get skirt and some New York strip
for this first pass.
Hot sauce, soy sauce, garlic, tomatillo, jalapeno,
cilantro, white onion, lime.
I think that's it.
I'm gonna head over to the supermarket up the street.
I don't know, I'm gonna be doing a lot of thinking
on the way there.
I'm not yet ready for the spice aisle.
We're gonna start in veg, produce, okay?
I'm gonna grab a couple serranos for safety
but I think I'm dealing with jalapeno here.
Cilantro, we're gonna get some limes,
we're gonna get some garlic, we're gonna get some oranges.
Corn tortillas, let's go to the meat case.
I'm not dealing with spices yet.
Could I have the skirt steak that's right on top there?
And could I also have a New York strip?
Yeah, if I could have the second one from the back, perfect.
Thank you so much for your help.
- [Butcher] Have a good day.
- Appreciate it.
I feel like it's probably skirt
but I don't wanna commit 100%.
Let's go get some hot sauce.
See, this is a problem.
Like when you start talking hot sauces,
what are you even talking about?
I think unequivocally what I'm tasting is an amalgamation
of several ingredients,
but I don't know.
But if you don't know the players that doesn't get you,
that only gets you so far.
Hold on, this is Molly.
Let me see if she's got any inspiration.
- [Molly] What's up?
- Hey Molly, what do you need?
- [Molly] Can you buy me a box of oyster crackers please?
- A box of oyster crackers?
- [Molly] Yeah.
- I thought you were my life line.
- [Molly] Oh no, I really just
really need some oyster crackers.
- You just really need the oyster cracks, all right.
Some life line
you are, Molly. - [Molly] I'm here for you.
- All right, I'll get you the oyster crackers.
You're the best.
- [Molly] Thank you, I'll see you in a bit.
- All right, cool, bye.
- [Molly] Bye.
- Well that was interesting.
[upbeat jazzy music]
All right, just back from the supermarket.
I have most if not all of what I think I need here.
Still some TBDs.
See what I mean?
It's like he comes in and then he's loud.
So if you hear Brad go quiet, he's probably about to blow
on your neck and do something kinda weird
but kinda a little bit awesome too.
I'm gonna do the sauce two ways.
I'm gonna roast some of the ingredients
and I'm gonna do a version where.
Do you actually have something in the oven?
[beep] man, since when do you ever
have anything in the oven?
- [Andy] Is the timer right?
- No, probably not.
I probably beeped it.
I'm so sorry.
- He stole my timer.
- Where the [beep] are my timers?
Since when does Andy ever...
All right, I'm gonna do the sauce two ways.
I'm gonna use more or less the same ingredients
but I'm gonna prepare the sauce
using two different techniques.
So one technique is gonna be blistered in the oven
and then pureed, and one technique is going to be
with the ingredients sweated out on the stove top
and then pureed.
So I'm starting with the tomatillos here
because I believe they are a major component
of the sauce.
Some white onion, garlic clove.
Let's go serrano, why not.
Little neutral oil, little pinch of salt.
I'm roasting at kind of a high temp
to kinda char it up a little bit.
Over here we got our onion started.
Just gonna sweat that a little bit.
It's Andy's timer, I'm not touching it.
All right, so I've got garlic which is gonna go in
on top of that white onion in the sauce pan.
This is a somewhat spicy serrano,
so just gonna use this quarter of it.
All right, so I just added garlic
and a little bit of serrano chile to the pot.
And then I'm going to have these tomatillos
and just throw them in there after another minute or so.
I'm gonna add a splash of water to that tomatillo one,
kind of let the sauce cook out.
I just don't want everything getting too toasty in there.
All right, sauces are going.
Starting the marinade.
So I've got lime juice, an orange, teaspoon of ancho chile.
Some garlic, I'm gonna do a little bit of soy sauce.
See what happens.
So this is our roasted sauce.
Didn't take long, but tomatillos are collapsing.
And I've got little bit of char, little bit of raw bite
taken off the onion.
So I'm just gonna wait a minute
and then blend this all together.
Tomatillos are soft.
Just about ready to go,
I wanna just cook off a little bit of that moisture.
Both of these will be blended with cilantro
and more lime juice and salt,
and then we'll taste side by side.
All right, so this is our strip steak.
Now we've got skirt steak here.
I'm just gonna cut like little sample piece off,
I don't need to marinate the whole thing.
I don't wanna waste it.
Both of these pieces are gonna go into our marinade.
I'm gonna try to give them 20 minutes in there.
Sauce one is sweated and simmered on the stove top.
All right, so that's turning pretty nicely.
I'm gonna throw in a little bit of cilantro.
All right, so we need to loosen this just a little bit.
You know what I like about that?
It actually has a fair amount of sweetness
and the heat is kind of balanced
and not that different from the original sauce.
I don't hate it.
A little lime juice.
Right now I'm strongly leaning towards this
but let's continue the exercise since we're here.
The heat's a little bit more pronounced
in the roasted version of the sauce.
I like the roasted version, however I do feel like
the stove top version of the sauce
is just a little bit brighter.
Flavors shine through a little bit more.
So I'm leaning towards this here
which is the stove top version.
So I wanna drain the steak really well.
The marinade has done something.
See what happens here when we grill this.
I don't know if these guys cooked theirs on the grill.
All right, I think we are good.
Skirt looking real good, New York strip may be a touch over.
We're all right, everything's cool.
We're gonna let these guys rest.
So I'm just doing my diced onion for the garnish.
Picking some cilantro for the garnish.
If it's not steak then just cancel the [beep] show, man.
And we can all just go home early.
I'm going with skirt, that's what's in my head.
So this is my first attempt at the dish.
Already I can just know in my mind
I want a little more flavor development on the steak.
I'm hoping that the next tasting of the original dish
will be revelatory.
Some how I doubt that that's gonna be the case.
In my mind it's not bad, but I think it's time to taste
the original dish again.
I don't think I'm getting anywhere here by myself.
Ingredients, honestly, this is one of those cases
where it could be a pinch of this,
could be a dash of that.
Could be entire other ingredients that just do not register
flavor-wise in terms of an individually distinct way
in the original dish.
So I'll give myself 60 for ingredients.
Taste, I'll give myself a 65.
Things are dark today, it's just the way it is.
I'll give myself 60 for technique.
Appearance, I'll call it a 70.
I think this is sort of the overall composition
of this dish.
So I think overall maybe I'm hovering around D+.
I have one more chance to taste this dish tomorrow
and then I really need to bring my A game.
So big night of sleep, maybe couple glasses of wine
when I get home, and a fresh start tomorrow.
I am a sad little reindeer today.
So this is a piece of what I believe to be steak.
I can't tell what is happening from the sauce
and what's happening from the steak there.
The sauce is, I'm picking up a little more heat today.
It's very angular, you know?
It's bright and sort of buzzes.
There's like a fattiness to this sauce.
There could be a little bit of a fermented kind of quality
to this flavor that I kinda was feeling like was a result
of using kind of like fermented hot sauce
that I was responding to yesterday.
Like I have a bit of a wild guess in my mind
but I kinda don't wanna say it,
because then there's gonna be that [beep] graphic here
that's like ehhh, you know?
[beep] you, Chris.
Well I guess the other question then is if
it's just green fermented hot sauce, you know,
like green Cholula or something.
What does that mean?
I'm definitely feeling better about skirt steak.
This just feels like a little bit looser
and it's kind of like sort of muscle fiber structure.
Not for nothing, straight up,
like I don't know that anybody could figure out
what the hell was on that steak.
I'm thoroughly confused here.
Take it away.
We're gonna try a few different things here.
Set up some base recipes and then kind of branch off,
add some different things to one or the other.
Okay, let's do it.
For the marinade, I'm gonna start with some orange and lime.
I'm gonna do some garlic as well.
Ancho chili powder.
So far they're identical, but I feel like I need
to set up a little experiment.
I'm just not sure what variables I wanna tweak.
That was just a little bit of brown sugar.
Little salt just so I can kinda get a better gauge
on the flavor.
Gonna grab some green tape just so I can keep track
of what's what.
Let's put this piece of skirt steak in here.
I wanna make another tomatillo salsa
and really think about the texture of it,
and then possibly combine it with some avocado.
Just thinking of ways to kinda add richness and fat,
specifically, to the salsa.
I kinda just wanna make a base
and then see where it goes.
So this is a little neutral oil.
White onion, we're gonna do some garlic
in the sauce today as well.
This is serrano again, although I do wanna mess around
once I have that base sauce made.
I'm gonna let that go for just a minute.
Some tomatillos going in there.
So this is the one with the sugar,
I just wanna see how it's gonna color up.
There's no real obvious smokey flavor in the original dish,
although there is char.
So I'm thinking maybe it's just a hard sear in a pan
kind of situation.
I just wanna gauge the difference between doing it
in a pan versus the grill.
Little too much flavor development
happening around the edge,
like the sugar's certainly gonna do that.
I frankly like the grilled steak better.
Gonna let that rest for a minute.
Salsa's cooked, we're gonna let this cool down
for a couple minutes.
It's a little too sweet.
I also don't like what happened in that cast iron skillet.
I frankly liked the grill better.
What I'm gonna do, taking this piece of skirt,
gonna put it in our marinade that doesn't have the sugar.
So this one, the big difference from yesterday
will be that it does not have soy sauce
but it has everything else that I put
in the marinade yesterday.
And we'll see where we kinda end up flavor-wise.
- How're we doing?
- [Chris] Not looking great.
- What do you mean?
Yes it is, Chris.
- [Chris] I don't think it is, but.
- I need you to stay positive, bud.
He's struggling with the salsa.
- Struggling a little bit with everything.
- To be fair, Chris, I think this might be
more than a tough one.
- More than a tough one.
- [Brad] Oh, you know what it is?
- Oh, Delaney knows all about it.
- So what'd you lay it on, a tomatillos, spicy, zingy?
- Yes, but there's a creaminess and there's a richness
to the salsa that's
freaking me out. - Vitamix?
Maybe it's just hair?
- I was almost like--
- [Brad] Oh, mango, yes.
- That's an avocado, Brad.
- That's what I meant.
- I had a stroke.
- Imagine if Brad was the host of this show.
- I mean, clearly it's an avocado.
- [Chris] I knew what he meant!
- We'll let Chris get back to work.
- Yeah, yeah, yeah, Chris, you got work to do.
- You guys came along at a good moment,
I was having a hard time filling the silence.
I'm gonna hold some of this sauce back for safety.
I'm gonna put in a nubbin of avocado
and then I want to put some of that green Cholula in
and see what happens.
I also want a little bit more cilantro.
I mean, the hot sauce definitely helps.
It built up that vibrancy, that energy
in the sauce a little bit.
Do I love it?
Am I in love with it?
I don't know about that.
All right, so this is the marinade that does not
have sugar in it.
I'm just gonna season with salt
and I'm going back to the grill with this.
I did not like the way the steak cooked
in the black steel skillet.
Yeah, why would anything be wrong?
I'm actually gonna fix it now.
I was close.
So with the steak toss,
you can't get too greedy with it.
Like doing it from over where Tyree is over there,
that would be a mistake.
I think I deserve a little bit of a bump,
a little extra credit,
because A, I'm not losing heart here.
I'm keeping it light, I'm keeping it fun.
And this is an opportunity to kinda decide,
listen, I'm gonna give this what I can, what I have to give.
But I'm not gonna freak out about it.
This does not define me.
Although if the steak toss defined me a little bit,
that would kinda be okay.
This one's really hard.
I don't mean to complain but it's just a really,
really tricky one.
Really quickly re-warming our tortillas.
Definitely looks better to me coming off the grill.
All right, so this is attempt number two.
Somebody reached out to me and they were like hey,
maybe it would help you if you tasted your own food
with the blindfold on.
Maybe that would give you a better judge of what you've got.
And you know what?
I can't remember your name, but this one's for you.
Gimme the mask.
The most satisfying thing about it
is I can take the mask off whenever I want.
Steak definitely needs more flavor.
Even if I don't add other ingredients,
I need to double down on what I do have.
The salsa needs salt.
It could be a little less tomatillo-y
and little bit more avocado-y and hot saucy.
Ingredients, let's say 50%.
Taste, I'd put myself up around 75%.
I think things could be tightened up here
but I think flavor-wise it's definitely,
this is a big step in the right direction.
Technique-wise, oh, I'd say I'm at 70%.
There could be anything happening here.
Appearance, this is where I wanna say I'm closest.
I would maybe put myself at 80%.
This is kinda what I felt in the original dish.
I don't think I'm missing any elements,
so I wanna say steak, tortilla, sauce,
couple toppers, that's it.
Over all score, can't do that math
but maybe we've gone from a D+ to a C-?
Maybe we're hovering around 72, 73?
I've got one more shot.
If I can get everything a little it tighter,
I think I may just eke this one out.
But one more chance to do it for Alex.
And I'll see you guys in a sec.
I'm running out of time, I'm running out of options.
I'm running out of ideas.
I've considered alcohol.
We'll do kinda like a light,
more like lager style beer, probably.
So I've got a dry-hopped wheat ale, fruit ale,
and then got a long neck here.
I think of these three, it's probably the Bud.
So I've got beer, I've got garlic.
The lime juice in both.
Ancho chili powder.
Feel like we definitely need some sweetness in here.
That's definitely tasting better.
I'm gonna just about double the chili powder
just because I have more liquid
than I was dealing with before.
I wanted more intensity.
And the beer is diluting things quite a bit.
All right, so it's bright, it's zingy.
It's got a little bit of chili depth or something happening.
Got a little bit of sweetness.
So these marinades are still basically exactly the same.
I'm just leaving open the possibility of adding something
if I need to.
I wanna work with the sauce I have
and just see what happens when I add
a little more avocado to it.
I feel like maybe it was a touch too much avocado.
It's now getting a little bit thick, a little bit gloopy.
All right, let's make one more sauce.
Let's roast it.
Got time on the clock.
Okay, I have green chili, couple gloves of garlic,
tomatillos, white onion.
I'm gonna go look for a green pepper option.
Poblano pepper, a poblano is the kind of chili pepper
that you would most expect to see, I feel,
in a roasted tomatillo salsa.
It's gonna add depth, it's gonna add bulk
without making the salsa overtly acidic,
especially if you wanna adjust it with lime.
Let that go for a little bit
and let's check back in a few, okay?
So not too much color.
Let's blend some sauce.
Okay, cilantro's going in.
Flavor is good, I'm adjusting with our friend,
our green hot sauce.
I like the texture a little better.
I'm kinda feeling this one.
See how this colors up.
All right, I'm gonna cut into both these steaks
in like five minutes and see which one I think
is good enough for my man Alex Delaney.
You only get one.
Flavor of this one is just slightly better.
I think it's just the steak itself.
This is like a more richly flavored steak
and it's taken the beer in the marinade a little bit better.
I would say I'm at limited confidence about the sauce.
I'm garnishing with white onion and cilantro.
Okay, so this is it.
This is the last chance.
This is the dish I'm gonna serve to Alex.
I've reached the stage of this exercise
where I just need to know what's going on.
I need answers, all right?
I'm giving myself a C on this.
- Chris, what's going on?
How're you feeling? - Oh, man.
This was a really tough one.
They're all tough in different ways,
this one, oh wow.
I feel like I just didn't understand the concept
from the beginning.
- It's really a mix of two different sets of flavors
that ultimately combine to make this thing.
I would like to introduce you to
Roy Choi's carne asada tacos with salsa verde.
Do you see Roy Choi behind that, what?
You pretty much nailed it.
- Visual is what I felt best about of everything.
Oh man, I would love to know the ingredient list.
- First off, visual,
I mean you pretty much nailed it, right?
Salsa verde color-wise looks pretty close,
onions chopped the same way,
cilantro up top, double tortilla.
I need a little refresher on what this tastes like.
All right Chris, I'm going in for your taco.
Let's do it.
Texturally, it's all there.
Consistency in the sauce, same.
The big flavor in here that's jumping out to me though
is citrus peel.
- Of orange and lime?
- Orange, lime, zest and juice.
- I could read some of the chili thing happening
with the steak, it made sense.
But the peel, no.
- For the chili too, it was the double dose.
So you had the ancho chili powder
and then fresh jalapeno.
Then on the sweetness level, this is where it really,
like the Roy Choi element comes in.
- [Chris] Sweetness here?
- He uses mirin and this is absolutely wild to me,
he uses kiwi.
When I read that on the recipe, I was like,
Chris is going to hate this.
There's kiwi in there.
- That's [beep] mean.
- There' also sugar, straight up.
- Which sugar is it?
- Good pinch of white sugar.
You got salt.
- I got salt, I got ancho chili.
- Yes, but you got the beer right.
- Oh, he does have beer
in this? - There is beer in this.
- [beep] right off! - So you nailed it.
What kind of steak did you use?
- Skirt steak.
- Check, got it.
How did you prepare the skirt steak?
- So I marinaded it, I drained it, salted it,
and I ultimately grilled it.
- You made the right call.
Grilled in the recipe.
Okay, sauce, so there is a ton going on in this.
All right, shallot, garlic, basil, cilantro.
And then I was here for the, or maybe I observed from afar,
the avocado situation.
You were correct to put it in.
- There is avocado in this.
So there is charred tomatillo.
And there's also this is like a little,
seems a little atypical to me.
In Roy's sauce there's mint.
So he's really going for the kitchen sink of herbs.
And again, going back to the mirin.
There's mirin in here, as well.
- Raw, uncooked mirin?
- Yep, suspect.
Okay, so you're talking about
the fat content, the creaminess.
- Yeah, the creaminess.
Not greasy, but there was like a fatty
quality. - There was a fatty thing.
Canola and olive oil in Roy's sauce.
Okay, and this is like maybe the most out of left field.
Toasted sesame seed.
Which could explain, like, that deeper note...
[sad piano music]
All right Chris, I think I need to break this down
and give you some scores.
- [Chris] Okay, yeah, it's time to talk numbers.
- Let's talk numbers.
Starting with ingredients, I will say this was
an incredibly hard list.
Lotta nuances going on.
- [Chris] So many things.
- From a numbers stand point the things you hit
I'm gonna tell you right now, it's not looking good.
It's gonna be like a 68.
- Yeah, okay.
- On taste, you're probably about a solid B.
So I'll give you an 87.
- Oh, okay, all right, all right.
- I think you did a great job
on the flavor. - I can live with that.
- Technique, we're gonna go,
we're gonna go an 86. - All right, not so bad
as I feared.
- Appearance, Chris, I mean like, you nailed the appearance.
- You nailed the appearance. - C'mon!
- You got an A+ on the appearance.
- Yeah, boom!
- And I do wanna say this.
I don't know if we're in the market for extra credit,
I heard there was some pretty impressive acrobatics.
- [Chris] Oh yeah, there was some
major style points. - [Alex] In terms of throwing
things across the kitchen.
- I had to try to make up for my deficit somehow.
- So I'm a lenient professor, I'm gonna give you
an extra five points based on style alone.
- Yes, okay!
- So we're gonna give you an 84 plus five bonus points
you're rockin' an 89.
- Oh wow, this not where I expected to be at
the end of the day today.
- Considering the list, I think you killed it.
- All right, all right.
I'll definitely take this one.
- Oh, of course!
- It's such a pleasure.
- Another episode down.
- All right, cool.
All right, wow, what a journey.
I feel like a few things definitely went my way today
and I'll definitely take it.
And I feel like I really trusted in the flavors
on this one.
If you're not truly tasting it,
maybe it's better to just leave it out.
So this was huge for me to just trust myself,
to just let flavor be the guide.
- What was your approximate location of the tortilla shot.
I'm trying to make sure I give you the right amount
of extra credit here.
- So I think I was here, right?
- All right, can you hold that?
- Is it fair to say?
- So the center of the pan, about?
- Center of the pan.
- What're we rockin'?
- I've got eight feet, let's call it eight feet six inches.
- It's not nothing.
- And what're talking with the steak?
- The steak, where was I, guys?
Was I like here?
- [Cameraman] You were about the blender there.
- Blender, blender?
I don't know, I feel like I was this tile.
- [Alex] Okay, also the thing about this shot in particular,
there's a fire element, a little bit more danger.
- [Chris] Oh, for sure.
- [Alex] A little more open flame.
- So now we've got eight feet three inches.
- Both over eight feet.
- Yes, for sure.
Distance to beat on the hangar steak toss
is eight feet three inches.
Why, is Roy Choi gonna come in and try to beat me?
- Roy's not getting that shot.