You’ve probably heard about these underground dinners where famous chefs infuse course upon course of intoxicating food with (actually, literally) intoxicating doses of cannabis. It’s… admittedly as amazing as it sounds. But there is a problem: you aren’t invited to these dinners. And there’s a very real possibility you never will be, especially if you don’t live in a major metropolitan area. And you aren’t cool. Sorry, it’s not my decision.
But listen: All hope is not lost. You too can get stoned in culinary style. Yes, you.
Despite what you may have heard from your middle school DARE assembly, it is actually remarkably easy to infuse food with cannabis on your own. And, you certainly don’t have to be a professionally trained chef to make your bologna and cheese sandwich a stoney-bologna and cheese sandwich.
Even one of the pros, “Hawaii” Mike, considers himself a cannabis advocate first, and chef second. “I’m not a professionally trained chef. I did not go to culinary school. But I love food. I love weed. And through passion and practice, and I combined the two into what we are doing now,” he said.
And what he is doing now, is running one of the most popular and notorious (in a good way) cannabis supper clubs in the entire country, Chef for Higher. But since the guest list is members only (like the jacket!), he graciously agreed to help us design a cannabis dinner party game plan for beginners, that will neither fry your kitchen nor your brain.
But a reminder for the dense or already stoned: cannabis is mostly illegal in these United States. So if you don’t live in one of the blessed few spots where prohibition is lifted, party at your own risk.
Here are some pot-centric pointers to start your long, possibly strange trip into the world of making your own decidedly danktastic (that’s what the kids say, right?) edibles. And — perhaps more importantly — how to not embarrass yourself after eating them.
How to cook your weed (or, “butter is better”)
In order to “work,” cannabis needs to be infused with some sort of fatty substance. Think of it this way: THC (the inebriating ingredient in cannabis) needs somewhere to go when you burn it out of the bud, something to absorb all that heady, THC-goodness. In Mike’s opinion, the easiest way to start infusing your food with cannabis, is to make cannabis butter. How convenient! Butter goes in so many delicious foods.
Don’t stress about the strains: “If you live in a legal state, you can get all types of extracts and things like that, that make it incredibly easy to make butter,” Mike said. “But if you need to use flower [Flower is just bud, FYI], just use your favorite strain. In my opinion, it really doesn’t matter. Indica, sativa; it’s personal preference. For me, I always use OG. Because I am an OG.” (This checks out, by the way).
Preparing the weed: Mike advises you to start with at least an eighth of bud if you want enough for a few people to enjoy. “And you want to grind it up, but not too fine,” he advised. “You don’t want it like a powder, but you do need to break it down.” Use a grinder if you have one, but make sure you don’t um… overgrind? “If the bud is too fine, it will burn too quickly, and decarb too quickly.” That’s bad.
Decarbing the bud: Don’t worry about what decarbing means. Just focus on how to do it. Mike suggests getting an oven-safe container — or even a bunch of tin foil, if you are going super-low budget. Put your bud inside and stick it in an oven for 25 minutes at 240 degrees. This will make the bud ready for infusion. You cannot properly make cannabis butter with decarbing first. This is the rookie mistake.
Infusing with butter: Take your decarbed butter, and stick it inside a glass or metal bowl in a double broiler. “You can even use a Mason jar,” Hawaii Mike advised, no doubt pleasing every artisanal pickler reading this article. Leave it in there on a low boil for approximately two hours, then strain the butter, and freeze it. Congrats! You now have cannabis butter.
Using your butter: “You can literally put that butter into any recipes that use butter,” Mike said, contemplating briefly, “and also you can just spread it on toast or a bagel or whatever if you are a real savage.” Real savages, take note.
Mike’s suggested dish: “For starters, maybe put the butter into a nice, thick mac & cheese. That could be a great shared dish to start with and should be easy enough to make,” he said. As far as the best cheeses to use, we’ve got you covered, homie. Let your cheesy, half-baked imagination run wild.
And when you master that…: Really, once you get the butter down, you can make almost anything that involves butter. Brownies, cookies, pasta — you get it. “After learning how to use cannabis to cook, I’d just recommend people make whatever they like. If you have a dish that uses butter, you can just add cannabis butter to it, just like that,” Mike said. “There is no limit. Make what you are comfortable with. Make something you love. That’s what it’s about.”
How to not embarrass yourself at your weed dinner party
OK. Now that you comfortable making weed food, it’s about time we talk about the only uncomfortable part of eating weed: mainly, that occasionally it makes people extraordinarily uncomfortable — in a, “I’m freaking out man!” kind of way.
“You want to control the amount people are eating, for sure,” Mike said. “For us, at our dinners, we use time. We try to space out the dishes and keep everyone at a solid high.”
But it’s not always that easy.
Know that some foods make the cannabis hit harder: If you don’t want to get super-high, you might want to stay away from cooking with coconut oil. “The ‘best’ vehicle for cannabis absorption is coconut oil, which means it will make whatever you put it in, more potent,” Mike advised. So, if you want a supercharged THC-bomb, use coconut oil. “If you do that, you can also use the coconut oil topically,” he added. And damn, that must feel good, right? “It does,” he added, confidentiality.
Your kitchen (and house) doesn’t need to smell like bud: Cooking with cannabis will make your kitchen smell like weed. It’s that simple. But there are some ways to get down, clandestinely. “You can boil the bud, which sucks out the color, and a lot of the smell,” Mike said. Do that for about five minutes, and you should be solid. Or, if you live in a legal state, you can purchase extractions that are scentless and tasteless — which is what Mike and his team use in the first place.
Be careful mixing weed with alcohol…: “I really recommend not mixing the two so much,” Mike said. “At our dinners, we’ll give people two cocktails, with one coming before we even start the dinner. We call that our ‘gateway drug.’ It kickstarts the effects and just loosens people up. But, it can cause things to get a little too intense. So really, I wouldn’t serve more than couple drinks per person.”
Especially one type of alcohol: “You know, every time we’ve had an ‘issue’ with someone drinking too much and not feeling so well, it’s been with red wine,” Mike said. “I have no idea why, maybe it’s just a coincidence, but it’s been red wine every time.” So maybe leave the pinot noir at home when dealing with pot. And don’t even think about merlot, you goddamn peasant.
What to do if you get too high: “First off: remember, nothing is going to happen. The problem is, you can’t go backwards, you can’t make it go away, you need to keep moving forwards. You just kind of have to ride that wave till it’s over,” Mike said, waxing poetically. “Just try to chill and realize this is all temporary, it’s not going to last forever. You are going to be fine, even if you aren’t feeling fine.” Just so you know, “smoke breaks” while eating cannabis tend to make you more high. Duh.
Don’t try to be a big shot: “I think some people go into something like this with a lot of machismo, thinking they can eat whatever they want, wanting to show off or whatever,” Mike said. “But that’s how you get into a bad situation. You should be hanging out, having fun, and relaxing. If you feel too high, don’t keep going. That’s not what you want. Take it easy and know your own physiology. Don’t overdo it. Everyone is there to have a good time, and you don’t want to be the one to ruin it, right?” Right. Don’t be that guy. And if you are that guy, don’t tell them we sent you.
Deal.Sign up here for our daily Thrillist email and subscribe here for our YouTube channel to get your fix of the best in food/drink/fun.
Wil Fulton is a Staff Writer for Thrillist. If you told him he could only eat one food for the rest of his life, he’d be kind of terrified. Follow him @WilFulton.
The cold weather in most parts of Australia coinciding with EOFY celebrations is the closest thing that we’ll get to snowy Christmas vibes. And if you’re in dire need of some festive cheer after the first six months of 2023, grab your ugly sweater and head to your nearest Red Rooster for Xmas in July deals.
From June 29 – July 31, 2023, Red Rooster is serving up free food items, a chance to win $10,000 or one of 10 merch packs valued at $400 and other fun prizes. All you have to do is sign up as a Red Royalty member and spend $5 on at a location near you or online.
Each week there’ll be new delicious deals and prizes to win. The week one deals have already dropped and they’re looking pretty tasty. You can get access to them via your Red Royalty account. The more you purchase, the more chances you have to win.
Spoiler alert: you can get 10 chicken nuggets for free, right now. Brb running to Red Rooster.