As Labor Day looms, we're all thinking of that one last backyard barbecue (ugh, we know, so depressing). For us, a cookout just isn't a cookout without a few deviled eggs. They are edible filling boats -- what could possibly be better? But egg cookery makes people notoriously stressed out. How long should you cook them? Why are they sometimes so hard to peel? What's the deal with piping bags?
Here, we'll talk about the deviled egg mistakes you might be making, so that you'll be this year's Labor Day hero, no deviled egg neuroses in sight.
1. Cooking Them FOREVER
See that grey ring around the yolks? That is the egg ring of death. Once your eggs get cooked that far, the yolks are chalky instead of creamy, and the whites are rubbery and off-putting. Not sure how long to boil your eggs? Cover them with cold water in a pot, bring the whole pot to a boil, turn the heat off and cover for 14 minutes. Then plunge those eggs into an ice bath and they're done.
2. Using Eggs That Are Too Fresh
You'd think the fresher, the better, right? Not quite. Super fresh eggs can be impossible to peel, leaving you with pock-marked, sad eggs. Of course, you don't want to let them get TOO old. Check out this video to see how to tell when your eggs are fresh, not so fresh and not edible.
3. Mashing Your Yolks With A Fork
You'll eventually mash the yolks to a paste, but it will still have lumps and it will be super heavy. There's a better way: put your yolks into a fine mesh sieve (nothing fancy, just one of these), set the sieve over a bowl and gently push the yolks through the mesh. This will "mash" your yolks, but will keep them light, fluffy and velvety smooth.
4. Glopping In Too Much Mayo
Ugh. Can we all agree that deviled eggs should be lightly dressed with mayo? A little really goes a long way in this case. As you mix your yolks with mayo and other seasonings, start small, then taste and adjust. You can always add more mayonnaise, fixing over-mayonnaised deviled eggs requires you to be significantly more creative.
5. Not Tasting Your Seasoned Yolks With The Whites
Does your deviled egg mixture taste perfect off a fork? Great. But no one's going to be eating it from a fork, they're going to be eating it in a hard-boiled egg white. As you peel your eggs, you always mess a few up -- use the rejects as tasting vessels to make sure everything works well together.
6. Trying To Fill Your Eggs With A Spoon
Look, you're just going to make a mess. We're not saying you need to garnish these eggs with tiny leaves of watercress and a pickle cut into the shape of an American flag (although, if you do, please send us a picture), but we do "eat with our eyes first" as every reality cooking show contestant has said. It is REALLY easy to make deviled eggs look nice, all you need is a piping bag and a few pastry tips, which you can get for under $10.
In a bind and need to make a makeshift piping bag?
All you need is one of these. Fill a plastic bag with your deviled egg mixture, snip one of the corners off with kitchen scissors, pipe your deviled yolks into the whites without making a huge mess.
7. Forgetting About Vinegar
When combining egg yolks with mayonnaise, salt, etc., things can get very rich very fast. Dishes like this need acid, whether it's a splash of white vinegar, white wine vinegar, lemon juice, whatever -- a hit of acid will brighten up your eggs and make people want to eat more of them.
8. Cutting Your Eggs With A Serrated Knife
See those weird ridges on the whites? That's because you used a serrated knife to cut your eggs in half. That is a weird choice. All you need is a sharp kitchen knife to cut clean through the eggs. Deviled eggs are about presentation, so don't make things weird.
9. Not Experimenting With Fillings
Look, mayonnaise, mustard and vinegar are classic deviled egg seasonings for a reason, but everyone's already eaten them. Maybe throw some hot pickled peppers into the mix. Maybe fold in some pesto. A sprinkle of curry powder can totally change everything. The world is our egg, guys -- devil it creatively.
10. Transporting Your Deviled Eggs Pre-Assembled
Those eggs you carefully piped deviled yolks into and garnished with parsley or bacon or whatever? If you stick them in a plastic container and try to transport them, they will arrive looking like they had a rave inside the container. Do your nerves a favor -- put the unfilled whites into a container for transportation and bring along either a piping bag or plastic bag filled with the seasoned yolks. When you arrive at your destination, give the egg whites a quick fill and you're done. Deviled-egg-freak-out free.