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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So for the first time in a long time I'm bored with nothing to do so here we are. I love this segment of the forum but has been very stagnant with the exception of a couple of us on one thread.

With fall/gumbo season coming up do we have any pro gumbo makers out here? I'm just wondering if anyone wants to share their technique or recipe as we get close to that time. I don't toot my own horn about much but I have a following of folks who can't wait for me to make the next batch. That said, if there is any interest here I can put my take on the process in the thread. Hoping to get a good discussion started.

Disclaimer, I was born and sort of grew up in New York. Also grew up in New Braunfels and then Plano Texas.. However I learned my craft from a rough bunch out of Ruston Louisiana and honed my skills over the years. I'm not a real Cajun but I've had real Cajuns eat my gumbo and stop short of admitting it's better than their mom's.

Hope to see some responses here!
 

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You certainly caught my attention! I order gumbo about 80% of the time when we go out for seafood. Gotta have an order of hushpuppies with a big bowl of gumbo!
 

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I fill mine with as much chit as I can stuff in a pot, but it's all in the roux.
I'm sure everyone's favorite yankee will be along soon to tell us we're doing it wrong, it's trumps fault, and they do it better in new york........
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I would say its all about the roux and the stock. The rest is really up to whatever you have around, but fresh okra is definitely the way to go!

I cook a lot of beer can chickens on the BGE and I end up turning those carcasses into good old fashioned homemade chicken stock. It doesn't matter what type of gumbo I'm making, the liquid probably going to be homemade chicken stock. I have jazzed it up for seafood gumbo by taking leftover shrimp/crawfish/lobster shells and cooking them in the chicken stock before straining it out and putting the stock into the gumbo. That works pretty nicely.

The roux seems to be where most people go wrong. They burn it or undercook it. I usually cheat by baking the roux in an enamel coated cast iron Dutch oven until its milk chocolate color. Set the oven to 350, whisk together a cup of flour and a cup of veggie oil (some prefer butter but the milk solids just give you one more thing that can burn), then cover and bake in 20 minute intervals. After each 20 minutes I check the color and give it a good whisking. Usually around the 80 minute mark (much slower than traditional stovetop method) I get to the color I want. Then I switch to the stovetop and take the roux all the way to dark chocolate color using a medium low heat and stirring constantly. There is a fine line between roux that is dark enough and roux that is burned, it takes about the blink of an eye to cross that line and you know as soon as you do. When done right though its the foundation for a killer gumbo.

Once the roux is done right I add the trinity and garlic, cook till soft, dump in 1 bottle of dark beer (typically Abita Turbo Dog just to tip my hat to Louisiana), add some seasoning, start drinking the other Abitas, and then add my stock. If my wife is not around to see what is happening I will also add smoked ham hocks at this point. She is freaked out by the idea of those going in the gumbo but if she never sees them then I just say its "pork" that I added.

Back to work for now... more later.
 

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I'm sure everyone's favorite yankee will be along soon to tell us we're doing it wrong,
it's trumps fault
and they do it better in new york........
GUMBO - the West African word for OKRA (Ki ngombo)

While we certainly don't do world class Gumbo in NYC,
looking like Texans don't understand much about it either.

What kind of gumbo you makin cowboy?

New Orleans/South east style, which is CREOLE
or
South west style, which is CAJUN


I can assure you, trump never ate gumbo in his life.
I don't have any gumbo issues with trump,
just issues with his destruction of America,
that's all.

 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Ruston is where I learned it, and I guess the style would technically be Acadian/*******/coona$$ north central Louisiana. I know creole well, but I'll leave that to chef Marcus Samuelsson (or any number of truly great chefs who know the cuisine) and his rather tasty looking creole gumbo. For the most part here in the south the Cajun spin on gumbo is what everyone thinks of when gumbo is mentioned.

Issac Toups knows what we consider real gumbo here. That said Justin Wilson is a legend here and he knows his stuff like nobody else.

I am sure that somewhere in NYC there is a great Cajun joint. I think every cuisine in the world is represented well there. The problem is finding it.
 

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Issac Toups knows what we consider real gumbo here. That said Justin Wilson is a legend here and he knows his stuff like nobody else.

I am sure that somewhere in NYC there is a great Cajun joint. I think every cuisine in the world is represented well there. The problem is finding it.
Rewatch the roux part in Justin's video.
You, cracker man, and most others;
flour oil ratio is 1:1
Justin is 2:1

There was a semi decent place for creole/cajun
in Manhattan, maybe a 7 out of 10, but it closed
several years ago. There are a few others,
but they are what Subway is to a real hero/sandwich.
I went to a big Gumbo Championship years ago in LA,
so I have an idea of what is good and not.

What is popular now in this area are BOIL Shops.
You choose your seafood, then choose the flavor profile
of the boil you want, usually 8-12 options,
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I've tried both ratios and even the 1.5 to 1. In my experience anything higher than 1:1 takes the cheater method out of play. It burns way to easy and you get in trouble softening the trinity. The higher ratio of flour does help thicken the gumbo but the okra (especially fresh as previously mentioned). I'm of course talking about the Cajun version here. Justin Wilson is a real chef and I will never reach his level, he can pull off the higher flour ratio.

The boil places have popped up here as well. They are often referred to as "Casian" given the fact they are all owned by NO area Vietnamese. New Orleans is known for Cajun/Creole but the massive Vietnamese population there has given us something awesome. I love the ones here because they make great food. Don't get the snow crab though. There is no reason to overseason that!
 

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Issac Toups knows what we consider real gumbo here.

That said Justin Wilson is a legend here and he knows his stuff like nobody else.


Issac is a 1 to 1 man as well.

Would you consider Justin the best of the bunch,
the "king of Gumbo" ?


You mentioned Marcus Samuelsson
he is a 0 to 0 man,
as he does not use a roux in his gumbo.

No mention of Leah Chase?

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The boil places have popped up here as well. They are often referred to as "Casian" given the fact they are all owned by NO area Vietnamese. New Orleans is known for Cajun/Creole but the massive Vietnamese population there has given us something awesome. I love the ones here because they make great food. Don't get the snow crab though. There is no reason to overseason that!
Casian, I like that one :)

I agree with your snow crab comments.
And will expand on that a bit.

I find any over seasoned dish, like Gumbo and many
other regional dishes, and similar dishes from other countries
or nationalities, while very tasty themselves,
they often completely overpower the subtle tastes of seafood.

When I am visiting a coastal area that offers
super fresh, day boat, type of seafood,
I prefer to eat that seafood prepared in a lighter way,
that allows the quality and freshness to come through,
not overpower that freshness and subtle taste with
strong spices.
I consider this type of seafood like a great cut of steak,
which is prepared with minimal seasoning.
The cheap steaks get drenched in A1 or some sauce or ketchup.

Marcus Samuelsson seems to have a similar viewpoint.

The most recognizable recipe in the book is Samuelsson’s ode to Leah Chase and her gumbo.
But he takes a big, irreverent, if time-saving step and omits the flour—and,
by extension, the roux
—that is a staple of New Orleans gumbo, including Chase’s.
Samuelsson stands firm on his decision,
even as he acknowledges that purists might not consider his version a true gumbo.
“I look at food from a flavor perspective,” he argues.
“This gumbo has cleaner flavors without the flour,
you can taste the essence of the dish: the red pepper, the seafood, the spices.”


Samuelsson says Chase would have slapped his hand, too,
if she’d seen him making gumbo without flour.
“But she was also always about evolving.
If there’s a flavor combination that’s better, she would have been for it,” he maintains.
“She would have loved it when she tasted it.”
But, he adds, “She would have said: ‘Just don’t put hot sauce on it.’




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Smoked duck and lots of blue crab can take a gumbo to the next level.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Oh, you got me. How did I fail to mention Leah Chase? I still haven't made it to Dooky Chase but I will get there.

Samuelsson cooks a true creole gumbo which is more like a tomato stew. I think that style tastes good but not what I think of when I think gumbo. That said, there isn't much he cooks that I wouldn't want to eat.

I don't know if I would crown Justin the king, but he is a legend and I can listen to him talk for hours.

Another great resource I found years ago was Chuck Taggart. He had a website called the gumbo pages. He has since evolved into a Podcaster and other stuff but the old gumbo pages are still maintained on his ste.

None of these chefs ever seem to make the kinds of gumbo I've eaten over the years. A friend's mom lives in Houma LA and makes a wicked squirrel/tasso/gator gumbo. Also had some snapping turtle/large mouth bass/shrimp/crawfish gumbo. Deer meat is also popular. I have not had gumbo made with nutria yet, but I've been told it's good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Smoked duck and blue crab sound amazing. I've had wild duck in gumbo but never smoked.
 

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Another great resource I found years ago was Chuck Taggart. He had a website called the gumbo pages. He has since evolved into a Podcaster and other stuff but the old gumbo pages are still maintained on his ste.

None of these chefs ever seem to make the kinds of gumbo I've eaten over the years. A friend's mom lives in Houma LA and makes a wicked squirrel/tasso/gator gumbo. Also had some snapping turtle/large mouth bass/shrimp/crawfish gumbo. Deer meat is also popular. I have not had gumbo made with nutria yet, but I've been told it's good.
Looked at Chuck Taggart recipe,
he is a 1 to 1 man as well.

squirrel/tasso/gator gumbo sounds interesting.
The Bayou "Bush Meat" Gumbo.
Most exotic i've had, was Iguana,
and Iguana/Gator.


Samuelsson cooks a true creole gumbo which is more like a tomato stew. I think that style tastes good but not what I think of when I think gumbo. That said, there isn't much he cooks that I wouldn't want to eat.
It looks like Samuelsson is making something very similar
to what I eat in NYC with just a change in dried spices.

While we don't have good gumbo locally,
we do have some world class MARISCADA available.
That dish is prepared in Spanish/Portuguese restaurants.
We have some great ones in NYC, but the best of the best
are across the river in New Jersey, Newark "Iron Bound" section
and Bayonne. Iron Bound has turned into Spain/Portugal/Brazil when
it comes to restaurants.

Mariscada is similar to Samuelsson gumbo.

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Mariscada in Green Sauce (parsley based)

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Marascada Salvadorian Style with Aji pepper

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And when its time for Jambalaya,
we just order PAELLA

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I don't have the time or talent as you guys with your awesome gumbo recipes, so living in North Texas there is not much good gumbo that is easy to get. But, I will say that I have had plenty of excellent gumbo in Galveston all the way to New Orleans, and the only thing close to great gumbo in North Texas is at one of the Flying Fish restaurants. This pic is the "Grits and Gumbo" plate which is my absolute favorite item on the menu. It is excellent!
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I've been to the Flying Fish off 78 next to Firewheel multiple times but never ordered the gumbo. Next time I go get a grouper po' boy I may have to get a cup of gumbo to start with. Good stuff is tough to come by here. Big Easy in east Plano used to be pretty good but I think Fishmongers bought them up and I haven't stopped in there for a bowl since they started offering the Big Easy offerings. I've never had a bad meal at Fishhmonger's so I'm sure whatever they are currently selling is good.
 

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I will have to put Fishmonger's on my list if I ever head out out that way. The special thing about the Grits and Gumbo plate is that they pour the gumbo on top of a toasted "cake" of grits? Don't know how they do it, but man that's a great combo!
 
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