Alton Brown Live!

I’m not a fan of kitchen-uber-nerd Alton Brown so much as a disciple, so when we heard he was doing a seminar at the Opryland Hotel (a mere four hours away), I was on the phone booking the VIP tickets within minutes.

It was a blast! He was as natural in front of a crowd as he is on television, though the goofiness of “Good Eats” was replaced with an extremely dry wit and a healthy dose of smart-ass. (It only made us love him more.) He started off by explaining why he would never, ever try to deep fry a turkey, complete with Powerpoint slides of Thanksgiving disasters. But since the idea of a perfectly juicy, GBD (Golden Brown and Delicious) gobbler in 40 minutes was just too good to pass up, he had to figure out a way.

Hence the birth of the Turkey Derrick. There are pictures at my blog, but it uses a ladder, a rope, a hook, and a pulley to allow the bird to be lowered into the vat of hot oil from a safe distance. It also keeps the bird off the bottom of the pot and allows one to remove it easily to check the temperature. We’re already making plans to build one of our own. (I think he’s doing a show on this in the fall.)

There’s a more complete rundown of the day at the blog, including some highlights from his Q&A, the meet-and-greet, and the ID he did for my radio station.

I am a huge Alton Brown fan, and have met him here in Atlanta more than once. That being said, I can honestly say that I do not take everything he puts forth as gospel… maybe only 99.9% of it. :stuck_out_tongue: When it comes to food, he is the most risk-averse individual I have ever come across, hence the dislike of fried turkey. However, he thinks it’s nothing of riding thousands of miles on a motorcycle.

The real reason he doesn’t think turkey frying is worthwhile? Alton just doesn’t like turkey, and has said so on more than one occasion.

I have fried over a hundred turkeys (lost count) and hove done so in a very safe manner. However, if you really want to play it safe, get one of the new electric turkey fryers. They look like gigantic Fry-Daddies.

We met Alton on his book tour for “I’m Just Here For More Food” last winter. He is pleasant and witty and very handsome in person.

I had deep-fried turkey one time about 7 years ago, and the memory of the flavour, tenderness and juicyness has never left me.


I actually managed to semi-meet Alton before a book signing just outside of Boston, a couple of years back.

I was running late due to some faulty reading of directions. So, instead of getting there an hour early, and grabbing dinner at a local restaurant, I grabbed some quick chow at the in-house cafe. While I am sitting there, AB walks over (he’s with the store manager, discussing details), taps the book I had brought to be signed, and jokes, “good book.” He was kinda busy, so I smiled (probably said something inane), and let them get back to discussing details. But when I heard them wrapping up, I asked how odd was it to walk into a bookstore and see some random guy with his book with his picture on it. He said it only ever bothered him once. The first time, he was running into a local bookstore to get something for his daughter, saw a pile of the first run of books sitting there, ran out to the parking lot, and threw up. Since then, he’s been pretty good with it.

Also, while we (the fans) were waiting for him upstairs we saw him wandering for a couple of seconds downstairs. (The store had an open middle of the second floor.) Some kid (he looked ~17) was on his cell phone talking about how he was waiting for the book signing; the kid was obviously talking to his girlfriend. AB went over to the kid, asked him for his phone and started talking to the kid’s girlfriend - who obviously had no idea who he was. Pretty goddamn funny!

I have gotten, at last count, at least 10 people, including one frenchman, seriously hooked on AB! (At least… 10 that I know for sure. On slow days, I’ve been known to use his videos in chemistry class.)

I adore Alton. He’s my kind of dude. Although he looks more like a Vespa kind of guy. I can’t bear to watch him on American Iron Chef, although I never miss a Good Eats or Feasting on Asphalt.

I was in the local restaraunt supply shop and there was a kid there with his mom buying stuff, the kid was a huge AB fan.

I’m jealous! I’ve told ElzaHub if Alton ever comes calling, I will be leaving him for the big A.B. :smiley: . Of course, Alton is the one who got ElzaHub hooked on the Food Network, so we’re both big Alton nuts. Alton taught me how to get the most out of my favorite fruit…avocados;).

We’ve both been looking forward to “Feasting On Asphalt” every Saturday:). I’m kind of sad to see it ending this week. Hopefully, he’ll repeat the experiment sometime soon and go north instead of south.


I’ve told Ivylad that Alton is on My List. I’m so jealous of you guys meeting him In Person!!!

We met AB on the I’m Only Here For The Food tour. My husband wore his Yoyodine Industries teeshirt, which AB recognized. He asked my husband to turn around and yelled for his wife (who was back in the corner talking to some folks) to check out the shirt. Nice guy.

I had never heard that. In any event, he certainly did consider it worthwhile, which is why he wanted to construct a rig to do it safely (without a lot of specialized materials). It probably has more to do with his passion for frying, which he says is going to be the focus of his next book.

He had a lot of young fans there, which clearly made him happy. It cracked me up when a 10-or-so-year-old kid asked him how he got started cooking and he said, in so many words, that he took it up in college to get laid. (He had a series of increasingly expensive and intricate meals that led up to what he called “The Closer”, the ingredients for which could be recombined into a very nice breakfast. He only made The Closer once, and halfway through the cooking the girl called and dumped him.)

Yeah, A.B.'s my man, all right. He made My List a couple of years back when I first got hooked on Good Eats.

When Iron Chef comes on I just want to tell the chefs to get the heck out of the way and let A.B. cook! :smiley:
Hey, I’m a crappy cook, A.B.'s the bomb - a perfect match! I sure do a mean clean-up, though. :smiley:

He occasionally does guest columns for magazines such as Bon Appetit & Gourmet. One of these was based on the Thankgiving Turkey show he did, which I believe I still have lying around the house. I’ll see if I can find it.

Here you go, Doc. This comes from the 2001 Thankgiving chat on Food Network, and can be found at This site

Thanks–that’s interesting.

I’ve used Alton’s turkey roasting method for three years in a row now, and it’s always been wonderful. However, at the seminar, he said that he has simplified his brine these days to just water, salt, and brown sugar. For one thing, he just wasn’t tasting the spices (allspice, candied ginger, etc.) in the bird, though they did make the house smell all holiday-like. For another, he said that there has been a trend in his cooking in recent years, away from “What can I do to this?” and toward “How can I not screw this up?”. “I decided I could live without ‘Bam’,” he said.

Someone asked if he was ever going to show up on ICA as a competitor, and he said he’s more likely to show up as the secret ingredient.

Bingo. I totally agree with this theory, as I could never quite understand how intoducing whole spices to a brines really imparted much flavor - even if boiled. Truth be told, I do my best to eliminate the boiling step if I can get the brown sugar and salt to dissolve in room-temperature water.

This evolution of philosphy is one of the reasons I really enjoy following Alton Brown’s career.