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The Searing Fallacy??

Peter CreaseyPeter Creasey Posts: 253
edited 1:55AM in EggHead Forum
Chef Craig Shelton says...
The trouble started more than a century ago with the absolutely false notion that “searing meat locks in the juices.”

In restaurant and home kitchens to this day one hears, “If a little searing locks in juices, then a lot of searing will lock in even more!” Or, “If an 800°F broiler sears the outside of the steak decently, a 1,600°F broiler will sear it that much better.”

But anyone who has grilled a steak might well ask, “If searing locks in juices, how come the seared meat weeps juice all over the plate, while the raw meat barely weeps at all?”

it is the relationship between tenderness, juiciness, and cooking temperature that is so misunderstood.

For more words of wisdom on the quality and preparation of meat, view -->


  • BacchusBacchus Posts: 6,019
    Interestlingly, Alton Brown did one of his "Good Eats" shows with the theme of "Food Myth Bashers" which aired a few days ago. I watched it via Tivo last night. He actually weighed two NY Strips, seared one, then roasted both. The non-seared steak lost 13% of its overall weight during the cooking process. The seared one lost 20%. Forgive me if my figures are off slightly, but I think my memory serves me correctly. So, the result is that the searing does NOT seal in juices, and in fact the extra heat causes it to cook more resulting in more juices lost. However, that doesnt mean there arent positives aspects to searing, like increased Flavor.
  • The Naked WhizThe Naked Whiz Posts: 7,780
    Yep, searing is what produces the Maillard Reaction which produces flavor. Keep up the good fight against ignorance and darkness, LOL!
    The Naked Whiz
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    lots of food myths deserve to be put away, but myths all have one thing going for them. they are logical sounding, hard to disprove, and based in empirical/collective "wisdom". you can't fight that.

    some others that need to be shelved are:

    -that salting in advance dries out meat
    -leaving your steak out will a achieve "room temp" start when it hits the grill
    -smoke penetrates meat (and that it adds flavor for an hour or so only)
    -putting clams in water with cornmeal will cause them to purge their sand
    -"Lucky Charms" really are lucky.
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • JimFJimF Posts: 80
    I saw the same Alton Brown show. I could have sworn that I heard Steve Rachlain on a BBQ University show say something about searing locking in the juices. I agree that it does not lock in the juices.
  • Rib FanRib Fan Posts: 305
    Caramelization (sp) = flavour and flavour only.
  • Greg Rempe did a podcast discussing it here:

    Hope the link works for y'all, if not, try to download it here:
    The podcast is from Tuesday, March 25, 2008.
  • SpudmanSpudman Posts: 10
    You...mean...Lucky Charms...aren't...lucky? :(

  • Topo GigioTopo Gigio Posts: 98
    have heard this many times. I read the whole article and found more information about the Chef Craig Shelton. It's funny because I know this is true, but continue to dry out my meat.

    He explains that if the meat is cooked more gently, it will be just as juicy and flavorful, and it will not need time to rest, because it hasn’t been put through a gauntlet of fire.

    He has proven this time and again with meats that are perfectly cooked with even coloring throughout, rather than the “rings” of color typical of a seared piece of meat. The result is more tender, more succulent, and more delicious than any I’ve tasted elsewhere."

    From other articles I've found that the best way to get tender and juicy is to bring up the meat slowly. (135 degree Sous Vide, or in the egg venacular "hot tub" or we could bring it up slowly in the egg). Then develop maillard for (browning) flavour. Onc chef acheived this by basting for a short period of time at the end with hot brown butter to not damage the protein. Interesting.

    I am on a quest to find/create a recipe in this fashion for steak on the BGE. Taking from the Hot Tub method and reverse TRex (xeRT). Maybe "hot tub" for 1 hour, then low and slow until 135 degrees is reached, then at 400 degrees (maybe in cast iron, although I have a CI grate) while brown butter basting, until 145.

    I buy Canadian "AAA" steaks 1.25 inches thick. Let's see what happens. The one thing everyone mentions very briefly at the beginning in all steak recipes or article is the most important factor is the quality of the meat.
  • Topo Gigio wrote:
    I am on a quest to find/create a recipe in this fashion for steak on the BGE.

    T, I would be interested in such a recipe whereby I would take steaks, say 1 1/2" thick, and start them in the oven for a period of time then sear them on my large BGE.

    I would need to know the temperature for the oven and how long to leave the steaks in the oven. Then I would need to know the temperature and time for the BGE.
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