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faux grilled steak
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Dilbert



Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 1026
Location: central PA

PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2008 8:40 pm    Post subject: faux grilled steak Reply with quote

grilled steaks are a treat. regrets, not always possible to do a "real grill"

here is an "indoor kitchen" technique that
- depending on your own personal take -
gets close to "real grilling" or is "not grilled but maybe okay"

Step 1:
pick yo' meat.
marbling, etc., all that good stuff, marinate, <whatever>

preheat the oven to 300' F (more on this temp later)

Step 2:
when the meat is "predisposed" to your personal cooking preferences re marination, etc.

heat a non-nonstick oven proof pan to white hot.
plop in and sear the beef
flip and sear da'udder'schyde
you want color and caramel - this is not a "cook through" operation

Step 3:
put the pan with steak(s) in the oven to finish:

medium rare: 5 minutes
medium: 10 minutes
<more than medium> no data . . . . .

here's the theory:
the white hot searing produces what one would see from a goodly hot grill.

on a grill, the temperature continues to cook the steak, outside to inside.

putting the well seared steak into the oven at a "fixed" temperature does essentially the same thing but you MUST develop all the "crust / color / caramel" before the oven.

if the oven temp is too low, it just slowly parboils the steak to some faceless shade of gray / cooked.

oven temp too high, the outside char continues and can become "not good" before the heat penetrates through the thickness of the steak to cook it.

oven thermostats are notoriously not accurate - so one needs to figure an oven temperature / setting that produces the desired results.

the "flame broiled smoky" taste effect is regrets a bit absence from this method - but producing the seared crust + internal cooked "end effect" is a pretty darned decent imitation of "I wanted to grill it but the grill is under ice"
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GaryProtein



Joined: 26 Oct 2005
Posts: 535

PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2008 2:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dilbert wrote:
grilled steaks are a treat. regrets, not always possible to do a "real grill"

here is an "indoor kitchen" technique that
- depending on your own personal take -
gets close to "real grilling" or is "not grilled but maybe okay"

Step 1:
pick yo' meat.
marbling, etc., all that good stuff, marinate, <whatever>

preheat the oven to 300' F (more on this temp later)

Step 2:
when the meat is "predisposed" to your personal cooking preferences re marination, etc.

heat a non-nonstick oven proof pan to white hot.
plop in and sear the beef
flip and sear da'udder'schyde
you want color and caramel - this is not a "cook through" operation. . . .


In a 300F degree oven?????

do you do that on a stovetop beforehand?
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SirShazar



Joined: 30 Jul 2007
Posts: 89

PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2008 3:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I'm pretty sure thats what he meant. I use this method with my cast iron skillet, but I put the steak in the oven on a small cookie rack so that both sides are exposed.

The only problem with this method is that it fills the entire kitchen up with smoke, and the fire alarms usually go off.
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Dilbert



Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 1026
Location: central PA

PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2008 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

oops!-

yes - sear off the steak on the stove top, then finish in the oven

<smoke alarms> oh yes - when we moved I absolutely insisted on an outside venting range hood.
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Watt
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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 10:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
you want color and caramel - this is not a "cook through" operation


so where does the sugar come from to get the caramel, the marinade?
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SirShazar



Joined: 30 Jul 2007
Posts: 89

PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 1:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Caramelization in this case refers to the Maillard reaction on the surface of the meat. There is enough sugar in the meat (and pretty much any other food stuff) to allow this reaction to occur.

Having a sugary marinade may or may not help it along, since the Maillard reaction cannot occur unless the surface is dry.
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GaryProtein



Joined: 26 Oct 2005
Posts: 535

PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 10:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To cook both sides of the steak evenly, Alton Brown showed a pan sear and then finishing the steak in an oven directly on the oven rack with a drip pan on a lower rack. I don't recall what temperature he baked it at. I guess the oven rack could be hand cleaned or just wait until you self clean the oven if it isn't too messy.
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Dilbert



Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 1026
Location: central PA

PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2008 5:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gary -

I've tried the finish on a rack method - actually my start into the method ala Alton Brown.

even did the convection oven bit thinking "better temp distribution"

in the end I find I actually prefer the additional sizzle side down time in the (left over hot) pan to develop a bit more faux grill effect....
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SirShazar



Joined: 30 Jul 2007
Posts: 89

PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2008 5:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've tried leaving it flat in the pan, what I got was an unevenly cooked steak...
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Watt
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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2008 11:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SirShazar wrote:
Caramelization in this case refers to the Maillard reaction on the surface of the meat. There is enough sugar in the meat (and pretty much any other food stuff) to allow this reaction to occur.

Having a sugary marinade may or may not help it along, since the Maillard reaction cannot occur unless the surface is dry.


I doubt very much whether there is enough 'sugar' on the surface of a steak to provide the Maillard reaction (which is not the caramelization process). This is a fallacy propagated by TV chefs, who aren't scientists, who are just repeating what they have heard.

The flavour and colour of a grilled steak is formed from the pyrolysis and general heat induced breakdown of the protein in the flesh, and not from the 'caramelization' of sugars, nor from the Maillard reaction between dicarbonyl and amino groups.

The Maillard reaction occurs in low to medium water activity environments, as some reactions (there are very many different reactions under the Maillard banner) need water to proceed.

Please understand, steaks are pyrolysed, not caramalized.
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Dilbert



Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 1026
Location: central PA

PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2008 2:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Watt -

methinks the term "caramelize" in meats refers much more to the color and brown bits generated than making caramel candy.

I am not a chemist. here's what whacky-pedia sez:

q
The Maillard reaction is a chemical reaction between an amino acid and a reducing sugar, usually requiring heat. Like caramelization, it is a form of non-enzymatic browning.
uq

so, if there's no sugar in/on/around the meat, how does it happen?

and then whacy goes on to say:

q
The browning reactions which occur when meat is roasted or seared have often been referred to as Maillard reaction browning. However, lean meat contains very little, if any, reducing sugars. Furthermore, red meat undergoes more extensive browning than does white meat. The browning reactions in lean meat are most likely due to the breakdown of the tetrapyrrole rings of the muscle protein, myoglobin. Thus, the browning of meat is technically not a Maillard browning since it does not involve the reaction with a reducing sugar.
uq

and then The Thermochemical Joy of Cooking sez:
q
Searing meat causes it to lose moisture, though when the pig proteins hit a hot pan the resulting Maillard reaction will ensure your entre looks and tastes good.
uq

so "the other white meat" has little sugar content so it can't Maillardize; but crisp a pig and it does a Maillard reaction . . . .

I think I'm confused.

I'm guessing you have some real knowledge of the topic - can you 'plain
"Why meat browns and why the browned stuff makes good taste"
in simple terms? . . . and what should it be "called"?
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Watt
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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2008 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dilbert

I think I would go with Wikipedia on this one. As I said, the browning occurs from pyrolysis of the protein/meat muscle, not from the Maillard reaction. Ironically, there is a little higher sugar content in aged white meat than in red, so if the Maillard reaction was responsible, one would expect white meat to brown more.

I would not agree with what you have quoted from ‘The Thermochemical Joy of Cooking’.

In simple terms, when a steak (or any meat) is heated at high temperature without any other food present, then the meat muscle proteins start to ‘burn’ producing small intermediate chemicals which react to form flavour chemicals and which can polymerize (clump together) to form coloured products (called melanoidins).

It is the breakdown of proteins, the chemical reactions and polymerization that form the strongly flavoured and coloured products we find in our roasting tins/frying pans which the French call ‘fonds’. They are deglazed with wine/water/stock to form a gravy or basis for a sauce.

As an experiment, try frying some chicken with a sprinkle of fructose on it. It will give much darker colour and deeper roasted flavours, because the Maillard reaction will have been involved. It is also possible that there could be caramelization involved as well ;?)
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Dilbert



Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 1026
Location: central PA

PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2008 5:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

okay, I'm going to put the "Maillard reaction" topic into my personal 'heard of that but it is an unknown thing" cubbie hole.

I put meats in a very hot pan to get the effect of dark bits on the meat and stuff sticking to the pan. I have taken to using the word "caramel" & it's associates because:

<shaggy dog story>
my cousin was visiting and want to help cook. I asked her to brown the ground beef (spaghetti meat sauce in the works). fry sizzle steam, "ok, it's browned"
well, the meat color turned from red/white flecked to mostly brown. it wasn't "browned" - just a change of color due to the (partial?) cooking.
<end shag>

and I think that is the source of many "how to cook meat shortcomings" -
if one never 'pushes' the browning past the "it's not blood red anymore' stage, flavors never develop.

oh, btw, ref: searing seals in the juices: Alton Brown did a show where he weighed steaks and then did the sear / no sear methods and demonstrated "no difference"

now, personally I'm in a quandary there.
if I sear off and oven finish a roast, go poke it with a carving fork, juices run out.
if it hasn't been seared off, plopped in a covered pan with veggies & covered, poke it and juices don't run out.....

there is however an observation: when you sear a roast, it shrinks in physical size. so one has the same mass of meat, same mass of water, but constrained in a smaller volume = pressurized roast.....

so, does the same mass of juice constrained into a smaller volume of the same mass of meat translate to "juicier"?
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Watt
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PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2008 8:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I’ll try to explain the Maillard reaction for you.

It is generally accepted that the reactions occur between sugars and proteins. This is too simple.
Firstly, the sugars involved in the Maillard reaction have to be in a certain form.
Secondly, only certain sugars conform to these certain forms.
Thirdly, they don’t even have to be sugars, for example, vitamin C will react in exactly the same way as fructose, or glucose, or lactose.

The sugars have to have carbonyl groups on them, ideally two next to each other.

The protein can be any protein, but usually single amino acids (the ‘building blocks’ of protein) or short chains of amino acids (called peptides) are involved with the Maillard reaction. With heat (which speeds up chemical reactions) the reaction proceeds quite rapidly to form simple chemicals which are usually highly aromatic. The Maillad products are not the only aroma chemicals formed, many are from the breakdown of oils/fats, so called lipid oxidation products, some are from vitamin and amino acid breakdown. These aromatic chemicals are the ones that provide the flavour, detected with our noses, either with the smell going up our nose from the front (orthonasal) or from our mouth (retronasal). Some of these chemicals can react together to form larger molecules, which eventually become coloured, usually yellow to brown (deep yellow), even red or nearly black. All this happens in cooking with highish heat, proteins and sugars and similar molecules. However, high heat is not necessary, it is often quoted that to get the Maillard reaction to proceed a certain temperature is required. This is not so. At body heat, sugars in the blood stream will react with the globin in the haemoglobin in blood cells to form substances that are detected when diabetics have a three month blood test. The glycated blood formed gives hysicians an idea of how well the patient has been controlling their diet and medication.

Anyway, to get the ‘most from your roast’, we use highish temperatures and little water, because too much water hinders the reaction. However, if we braise a joint of meat, and this means cooking meat on the bone in a mixture of fat/oil and water based liquid, (but that liquid should only come half way up the meat joint), and we peek at the meat while cooking (in a covered, ideally sealed pan) we notice that the meat out of the water browns, whilst the meat under the water does not. This is because the meat out of the water has browned because of the Maillard reaction, the meat in the water cannot. Now turn the meat over, and continue heating (in a low oven, by the way, not high heat) and the meat out of the liquid will brown, and the meat in he water will have its browness reduced as some of the colour dissolves in the water. Simple isn’t it?

If you want to call the dark bits something, call them ‘fonds’, people will be impressed.

Now to your pasta sauce. It is a common mistake that most cooks fry the minced/ground meat when making a pasta sauce. It is neither necessary nor a good idea. Most of the meat will not be of the highest grade, ie fillet steak, which is reported to have little flavour anyway (in fact most raw meat has little flavour, until you evoke the Maillard reaction…see above).
It is best to sweat some onions, add some minced/ground beef and pork, stir quickly, then add fresh tomatoes and pasata, maybe a bit of puree too. Add white wine, and maybe a little stock (made from roasted meat and bones, yep the old Maillard reaction again!) and gently simmer for about an hour. The meat will be tender, not like little bullets, because when meat is heated, as you say, it shrinks, squeezing out the water, and leaving a tough protein bundle behind. Same thing happens to the braised meat, by the way, long slow cooking is the secret with these cuts of meat, they may be cheaper, and take longer to cook, but ultimately are far more flavourful and satisfying to at.

Searing meat just browns the outside (by pyrolysis) but also that outside part shrinks because of the heat. Meat is a poor conductor of heat, so the inside of the seared meat does not get to a high temperature, therefore does not shrink as much, and remains moist. The meat in a covered pan with veg. will be almost braised, because of the water from the veg., but the highish temperatures (I’m assuming here) will shrink the meat and squeeze the juice/water out of the joint. Your observations may be sound, but I think your inference is not, same mass of protein, maybe, but much smaller mass of water.
HTH
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Dilbert



Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 1026
Location: central PA

PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2008 12:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

...don't brown the pasta sauce meat...

ah,,, deep into preferences and taste on this one.
even pasta bolonese - the "most classical" red sauce with meat that jumps to mind - calls for "cook until browned" for the meat.
personally I prefer my meat sauce to have recognizable bits of meat - altho burnt to a cinder aka hard bits in the sauce isn't my goal.

....Your observations may be sound, but I think your inference is not, same mass of protein, maybe, but much smaller mass of water.

it's simply an observation - same as searing off the meat - there's a whole bunch of "stuff" going on.

you do realize, the last paragraph supports the "sear the meat and seal in the juice" line . . . .
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