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How to Sear Meat Like a Pro

Real Simple logo Real Simple 6/14/2018 Real Simple Staff

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You know that irresistibly crisp crust that comes on a steak or a pork chop on TV? You can get equally impressive results at home. Thankfully, achieving the perfect sear isn't hard, and in fact (according to science), a great crust makes meat tastes better. This is due to something called a Maillard reaction, and put simply, it causes a delicious, complex crust by caramelizing the proteins and sugars in the meat. Long story short: searing meat the right way isn’t just about looks, it’s about maximizing great flavor.

A cooking tip for first-timers: Place the meat in the pan starting at the edge closest towards you and laying it down toward the far edge. This avoids splattering any hot, dangerous oil on your arms.

Here’s how:

Step 1: Take the meat out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking so it can come to room temperature. Pat it dry with a paper towel.

Step 2: Get your skillet (not nonstick) good and hot—a drop of water should sizzle on the surface. Add a splash of oil. Season the meat just before adding it to the pan. (Salt will pull juices from the meat if sprinkled on too early.)

Step 3: Cook the meat and wait until it releases easily from the pan before turning it. (It will release once a nice crust has formed.) Don’t tug. If there’s any resistance, let it cook for an additional minute before checking again.


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