Overheard at a barbecue: Mr. Harold said, "Gee, Mr. Chef is really keeping the grill very hot. He's probably among those who erroneously believe that searing the meat will lock in the juices," to which Mr. Maillard reacted strongly, "Absolutely right! Searing the meat may be good for something, but certainly not for locking in moisture." Are they correct? If so, what good purpose does meat searing serve?
#98558. Asked by edmund80. (Aug 13 08 8:27 PM)
Among the myths debunked by Harold McGee (author of the encyclopedic On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen) is the long-held belief that searing meat seals in the juices.|
'This idea was proposed by the 19th century German chemist Justus von Liebig. It sounds scientific, but it is completely false,' he says. ``. . . While searing certainly adds flavor to the meat, juiciness is related to the meat's degree of doneness -- the rarer or fatter the meat, the juicier it will be.'
One of the most common applications of searing is with meat that's about to be braised, as a way of improving its appearance and developing the Malliard flavors that braising alone cannot.
Typically, the meat's entire outer surface is browned in this way, not just the top and bottom. So with a cube of beef, all six sides of the cube would have to be seared.
But with meat we're about to braise, we don't care about "sealing in" juices. Properly braised meat is going to be moist and juicy no matter what. Searing before braising is done for reasons of appearance and flavor only.
Here is an EXCELLENT article on the topic:
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