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Here's How to Master DIY Edibles, According to a Cannabis Chef

PSA: Here's how you should *actually* bake weed brownies.

by Jessica Toscano Feb 22, 2021

Woman cooking

Growing up, many of us had that friend who baked pot brownies. Although they weren’t gourmet, they always did the job. Now, in the realm of weed recipes, brownies are old school, and if you’re going to bake them, you want to do it right. “I first started cooking cannabis when I was in college in the ’80s,” JeffThe420Chef tells Intrigue. “Basically, I would make brownies or cookies and take weed and grind it up and put it into the batter. It didn’t work so great, but it worked a bit.”

The craft of weed-infused dishes is more complex than the simple addition of an ingredient, he explains. “People who are really interested in [cannabis culinary] and start doing the research online will see that cannabis oils are the way to go.”

Since the legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado and Washington in 2012, a first for the U.S., cannabis-infused cuisine has developed into a culinary movement of cookbooks, restaurants, and elevated experiences dedicated to the art of getting high. Unlike smoking marijuana, which directly enters the bloodstream and elicits an almost instantaneous euphoria, consuming it allows its effects to gradually take place throughout the course of a meal. But like the creation of a relatively straightforward dish like mac and cheese, you can’t just combine the ingredients you think you need and hope for the best; otherwise, you’ll end up with cheese melted over pasta.

When it comes to cannabis, before you can even begin to cook with it, you need to decarb it, which Chef Jeff explains, means a mixture of heat and time to remove the “A” molecule from the non-psychoactive effects of THCA and convert it into the high-inducing effects of THC. “[Without decarbing], you might get the effect of THCA, which is also a fantastic cannabinoid for the body, but you won’t get the psychoactive effects from it,” he says. Not to mention, it tastes horrible.

How long and at what temperature you decarb for depends on whether you choose to first soak your bud in distilled water to remove impurities, like surface insecticides, which he recommends. To do this, you’ll first need to break apart the buds with your fingers or use a grinder to create smaller fragments that can be placed into a container, or as Chef Jeff suggests, a french press. Next, you’ll want to let your cannabis soak for two or three days, changing the water around every 12 hours until it becomes translucent — a sign that it’s time to transfer your buds into a tea strainer, which you’ll place into a pot of boiling water, then immediately into a bowl of ice water to “shock the cannabis back to reality.”

Afterward, you’ll want to ensure your cannabis is relatively dry before you decarb; otherwise, the amount of heat time can alter. A few good spins in a salad spinner should do. Next, you’ll place your dried cannabis into an oven-safe dish and tightly cover it with aluminum foil to keep your home from smelling like a hotbox (or don’t if you’re into that) and into the oven for about an hour at 240 degrees.

You want to be very mindful of that time limit, so your weed doesn’t toast and burn, says Chef Jeff. “[Your bud] doesn’t have to be bone dry, but you don’t want it to be too toasty because the toastier it gets, the more of a toasted plant matter flavor it’s going to have.”

After 60 minutes, promptly remove your dish from the oven, and let it cool for about five minutes before removing the foil. Once you do, you’ll want to make sure your cannabis is completely dry. If it’s not, gently cover it with paper towels, and let it sit overnight. From there, you’re able to begin making your cannabutter or cannaoil, which is the basis of most cannabis-infused dishes. You can find recipes for both on Chef Jeff’s website, along with how to make cannabis-infused sugar and alcohol