Searing is the art of cooking meat hard and fast on an extremely hot surface to seal the juices in. The theory is that by searing steak, you somehow make it less porous and it retains juices.
Does Searing Steak Actually Work?
Whether searing actually works or not is up for debate, but the reality is that searing allows our steak to have a crusty surface texture that is just amazing.
The caramelized browning a steak gets after proper searing is called the Maillard Reaction and it is not unique to steak. Seared steaks, pan-fried dumplings, cookies and other kinds of biscuits, breads, toasted marshmallows, and many other foods, undergo this reaction. It is named after French chemist Louis-Camille Maillard, who first described it in 1912 while attempting to reproduce biological protein synthesis.
What Do I Need To Properly Sear A Steak?
There are many, many ways to sear steak. As long as you get the desired result, we are not going to judge you.
You can use any oil as well as butter to sear your steak. However, we recommend to use avocado oil because it has the highest melting point at 520 degrees. This is particularly important for those who are cooking indoors and do not want a cloud of smoke all over the kitchen.
If you are working with a high quality steak, we usually just suggest to add salt. No need to marinade or rub. But that's ultimately up to you, the chef.
What Steak Is Best To Sear?
Every steak can be seared. If you are learning how to sear a steak, it's best to stick with the basics; ribeye, New York, filet mignon or porterhouse. But to be honest, searing makes a difference on almost any steak. The key behind cooking a proper picanha or tri-tip is getting a good sear.
Pick whatever steak you like best and give it a shot. If you like your steaks rare or medium-rare, proper searing makes an incredible difference. Some cuts, like our A5 steaks are recommended seared and medium-rare.
How To Actually Sear A Steak?
Our preferred method for searing a steak is a cast iron skillet. Cast iron gear is relatively inexpensive, easy to clean, lasts forever and more importantly, can get extremely hot and retains the heat very well.
The grill is another great way to sear a steak, just get it really hot. If your grill has one of those infra-red burners, even better!
The ultimate tool to sear a steak is the Otto Wilde Grill Broiler. This is how the steakhouses do it.
"The Beefer" is a broiler designed to give your steak the perfect sear. What makes it different is its ability to heat to 1500 degrees which comes from the top-down (no flareups).
There are a myriad of ways to sear a steak. You can go Caveman style (directly on charcoal) or use a chimney. You can use a burner or a heat gun.
At the end of the day, it does not really matter. All that matters is that you get that delicious caramelized crust.
If you want a detailed guide on how to sear a steak, head over to Alice's Kitchen who has put together a very detailed guide on searing steaks.
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