Staff Picks: Our Favorite Videos of 2017

2017 was a big year for video here at Serious Eats. We ramped up our production significantly, producing well over 100 (!) new videos, and our (very small!) video team has, in our humble opinion, done an excellent job of translating all the elements that make our cooking techniques and recipes so successful to the new medium—clear instructions, sound science, and just a dash of entertainment along the way. Since they mostly work in secret, the rest of us tend to only see the fruits of their efforts when the videos go live on the site, so it’s pretty common to hear “oohs” and “ahs” all across the office any time a new video gets published.

Without further ado, here are our favorite videos of the year.

Roast Rack of Pork, 2 Ways

[Video: Serious Eats Video]

I absolutely love this video. Firstly, because I never knew that a crown roast was just two large loins tied together. Secondly, the illustrations are adorable and informative. And finally, you get to see Daniel in his element. While Daniel’s culinary expertise is all over the site, embedded in his recipes and stories, you don’t see his face very often, or get a chance to experience what he does behind-the-scenes. This video gives a little snippet into how knowledgable he is and, more importantly, how goofy he can be. Have you ever seen someone put his hand through a crown roast like a horror-movie villain and then cook it to perfection? I think not. —Ariel Kanter, marketing director

“Daniel Gritzer Fondles Pork in an Educational and Illustrative Way.” “Serious Eats Ups Its Sizzling-Sound-Effects Game to Excellent, Mouthwatering Effect.” “This Video Will Give You Alien Flashbacks. We Won’t Tell You When.” None of these alternate titles are particularly pithy or helpful or any better than the video’s actual title, “Roast Rack of Pork, 2 Ways,” but the sentiments still ring true. It’s a video I’ve watched a quite a few times now for its thorough and engaging breakdown of tips and tricks, with the occasional rewind for its pure entertainment value—especially to watch Daniel sing made-up ditties to himself. —Marissa Chen, office manager

Read more about how to make rack of pork or crown roast of pork »

How to Make the Best Salmon Burgers

[Video: Vicky Wasik]

The videos that have been the most fun and rewarding for me to work on this past year have been the longer-form ones where I get to go deeper into one of my recipes, like my crazy fresh tomato sauce, or a technique we’re fond of on the site, like dry-brining a turkey. I’m proud of those videos, and I think we get better and better at them the more we do (and I’m getting marginally better at them the more I do, though I have plenty of room for improvement despite what my kind colleagues say), but I think my favorite has to be our short-form guide to making better salmon burgers. First, there’s the perfectly generic ’80s-style synthpop track that sets a light, bopping pace. Then there are the shots of hand-chopping the salmon and the patties going into the hot oil, which Vicky sped up to synch to the music. It’s just fun to watch. And to top it off, we manage to work in just enough real explanation for why the recipe works, without weighing down the video with in avalanche of explanatory captions. It’s more informative than most of those awful hands-only cooking videos clogging up the internet these days, and it retains the snappiness that makes them so easy to digest. —Daniel Gritzer, managing culinary director

Read more about how to make the best salmon burgers »

BraveTart’s Homemade Oreo Cookies

[Video: Natalie Holt]

Slow-mo shots of homemade Oreos slam-dunking in milk. It really speaks for itself. —Kristina Bornholtz, social media editor

This video takes the cake (cookie?) for most attempts at dunking a cookie, and most cookies eaten in one sitting. By me. In my life, ever. (When milk-drenched homemade Oreos are sitting in front of you, you simply have no choice in the matter.) Once we discovered the power of a camera that can record 960 frames per second (that’s about FORTY TIMES SLOWER than real life) combined with the magic of a cookie plunging into milk, we just could not stop dunkin’. Add technicolor backgrounds to the mix, and we were literally screaming as we watched the playback. I dare you to find a more mesmerizing thing than these bursting waves of milk. —Natalie Holt, video producer

We had so much fun shooting those slow-mo dunks! Milk went EVERYWHERE but it was worth it. —Vicky Wasik, visual director

Read more about how to make homemade Oreo-style cookies »

How to Make the Best Tomato Sauce From Fresh Tomatoes

[Video: Serious Eats Video]

This video was definitely a departure for us. It’s much longer than what we usually do, much more in-depth, and it allows you to see and hear Daniel talking about his method in his own words. There’s a little bit of everything here: the beauty shots of the tomato bounty at the market and the slow-cooked sauce bubbling away, the helpful practical knowledge of what different tomato varieties can contribute to a sauce, and Daniel’s obvious excitement for the subject at hand—when he blurts out “I love tomatoes! Tomatoes are delicious and nutritious!”, it’s utterly genuine. The video feels casual and approachable enough that it looks almost unplanned at times, like something he, Vicky, and Natalie decided to do on the spur of the moment. If it weren’t so pretty, you’d almost believe that it was. —Miranda Kaplan, editor

Read more about how to make fresh tomato sauce »

How to Make Spaghetti Carbonara

[Video: Natalie Holt and Vicky Wasik]

This is a truly delectable recipe, but that’s not even why it’s one of my faves. (But seriously, look at those egg-y, cheese-y, guanciale-y noodles right now and tell me your mouth isn’t watering.) This was shot during an unseasonably warm week in February in a fabulous sunlight-drenched Red Hook kitchen, only a few months into my tenure at Serious Eats. It was one of my first times shooting Daniel talking to the camera as he cooked, and I had a lot of nerves going into it. But Daniel was a natural (well, duh) and the recipe went off without a hitch! I don’t think I’ve ever put down my camera faster after a shoot to reach for a fork. Major props to Vicky Wasik and Sarah Jacobson for their work on this and also for not salivating all over our camera gear while shooting. —Natalie Holt, video producer

Read more about how to make spaghetti carbonara »

How to Make Super-Thick and Fruity Whipped Cream

[Video: Natalie Holt and Vicky Wasik]

I could watch the color-coordinated triptych of freeze-dried strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries being processed forever. —Vivian Kong, designer

Read more about how to make thick, stabilized fruity whipped cream »

How to Brine a Turkey

[Video: Serious Eats Video]

Ever since I was introduced to dry-brining, I’ve been making roast chicken nearly every week. Between the crispy skin and incredibly juicy meat, it’s remarkable what an overnight stint in the fridge with some salt and baking powder can do to a chicken. There’s a lot to love about this video from an informational perspective—and I’m all about spreading the word about dry-brining to my friends and family. But I’m especially excited about the experimentation our team did with animation and stop-motion for this project, not to mention the personality that Daniel brings to the screen. —Niki Achitoff-Gray, Managing Editor

Read more about dry brining »

How to Make Mulled Apple Cider

[Video: Vicky Wasik]

I had nothing to do with this video shoot and love it so much. I find something totally enthralling about its moody lighting, swirling cider waves, and tumbling spices. Time slows down while you watch this video, and you’ll find yourself pining after a hot spicy drink once it’s over. It’s a beautifully rich treatment of a simple recipe, and that’s no easy feat! Vicky Wasik gets all of the props of this one. —Natalie Holt, video producer

Read more about how to make mulled apple cider »

5 NYC Chefs on How to Eat a Bowl of Ramen

[Video: Natalie Holt and Vicky Wasik]

This is the best-looking video ever to appear on Serious Eats: It’s well produced, well shot, and well edited. I’m far from the biggest ramen-lover at this company, but the ample slo-mo shots of swirling broth and hurtling noodles make me want to slurp up a bowl of my own. —Tim Aikens, front-end developer

I sort of hate watching this video because of the multilayered craving it inspires; it’s not just that I want to eat noodles after, it’s that I want all five of those bowls of noodles in front of me at the same time, which is impossible. Also, the look Joshua Smookler has on his face at the end of the video captures perfectly the satisfaction of crushing a good bowl of ramen. —Sho Spaeth, features editor

This was so fun to shoot, and not just because I got to eat all five bowls of ramen afterwards. In this video, inspired by Tampopo’s iconic “ramen master” scene, you get to see the truly spiritual views these chefs bring to bear on their ramen preparation and consumption. As Keizo Shimamoto of Ramen Shack expounded on the value of “being one with the ramen” my jaw literally dropped. It was interview gold, and also such a beautiful notion that I tried mightily to apply it as I slurped his rich ramen afterwards. And as Sho said, the look on Joshua Smookler’s face at the very end is all you need to know about how just good a bowl of ramen can be. This was also a technically difficult video to execute, with five different locations, two cameras, lights, cramped spaces, and limited time to get it all done. I loved every minute of it. —Natalie Holt, video producer

Read the full story »

How to Make Light and Tender Potato Gnocchi

[Video: Natalie Holt and Vicky Wasik]

We shot this gnocchi video in a gorgeous rented kitchen with beautiful natural light. Natalie did a great job capturing all the little gnocchi close-ups and fun moments of steamy, potato-y goodness. Even though it’s hands-only, I think you still get a sense of Daniel’s personality here, and it’s informative enough to give someone the confidence to make gnocchi at home. —Vicky Wasik, visual director

Read more about how to make light, tender potato gnocchi »

One-Bowl Cinnamon Rolls

[Video: Natalie Holt]

Cinnamon rolls are my version of internet kittens. I could watch videos about baking and icing these treats for an embarrassing amount of time. This video scratches that itch, and Stella also drops in a few game-changing pro tips, like use a piping bag to add the filling and dental floss to slice the rolls. —Sal Vaglica, equipment editor

Read more about how to make one-bowl cinnamon rolls »

How to Store Fresh Herbs

[Video: Vicky Wasik]

Many of my weeks would end in the same horrific scene, pulling soggy herbs out of the crisper drawer and tossing them into the trash. This video has shown me that I’ve been doing it all wrong! If you treat them well, fresh herbs can last long enough for you to use them up. I now feel free to buy herbs with abandon, knowing confidently that they’ll stay equally fresh from the first pluck to the last. —Sohla El-Waylly, assistant culinary editor

Read more about how to store fresh herbs »

How to Make Tiramisu

[Video: Natalie Holt]

Tiramisu isn’t exactly the world’s most photogenic dessert, but this video manages to capture it in all its glory in the most beautiful light. —Stella Parks, pastry wizard

Read more about how to make tiramisu »

How to Assemble a Chocolate Cherry Layer Cake

[Video: Vicky Wasik]

On a cold day in January, I was hanging out with Stella at her Airbnb while she was in NY for her monthly photoshoot/recipe testing trip, and she made a chocolate cherry cake. I had my camera on hand, and we decided to make a spur of the moment cake frosting video. No lights, no fancy gear; just my camera, a tripod, and a cake. Cooking for video isn’t always easy, and I often have to contort Stella’s hands into odd positions in order to get the right camera angle, but here I just let her do her thing and hit record. It’s simple, one angle, natural light, but I find it really soothing and pleasant to watch. —Vicky Wasik, visual director

Read more about how to make chocolate-cherry layer cake »

The Tongmaster 2000 in Action

[Video: Sal Vaglica]

I’m consistently impressed by the work of the people on our video team, who often work under conditions that are less than ideal, but I’m going to go way off into left field for my pick. This video, which is all of 25 seconds long and contains no dialogue, shows Sal (or his torso at least), in his backyard, with a jig rigged up to a pair of kitchen tongs. He’s testing what I believe became our winning pair of tongs to see what kind of abuse they can take. It’s sort of our strange Serious Eats version of the IKEA Poang chair test. I’ll certainly never do that to my tongs, but I’m glad Sal did. —Paul Cline, developer

Read more about how we tested kitchen tongs »

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