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The malliard reaction when searing a piece of meat
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Biogeek
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 25, 2006 2:38 am    Post subject: The malliard reaction when searing a piece of meat Reply with quote

For a malliard reaction to occur, you need carbohydrates and amino acids.

But, when you're searing a meat, I understand that the meat is providing the amino acids but where are the carbohydrates coming from? I usually just use some oil(to heat it up high enough to get the malliard reacton), some salt and pepper, and the mR4eat. Would it be better if I sprinkled sugar as well to provide some carbohydrates?
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kgb1001001



Joined: 21 Dec 2005
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 25, 2006 2:56 pm    Post subject: It's in the meat Reply with quote

Meat, being animal tissue, contains all the things your cells contain. This would include lactose, glucose, and other sugars that cells use for energy. Adding regular sugar would not help the process since sucrose is not a reducing sugar
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eltonyo



Joined: 02 Nov 2005
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 26, 2006 11:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

good question and response.

damn... nothing pisses me off more than when i see a well seasoned "chef"
on the food-network talk about "CARAMELIZING" the meat!!!!

ain't no such thang!

meats do NOT contain the same natural sugars that fruits and vegetables do.

there is no such thing as a "caramelized" meat!

the malliard reaction, though different in chemistry, applies only to meats (proteins)... and the other myth is "searing" meat to "seal" in juices... this is totally false.

you sear meat to make it taste good (via the malliard reaction)... and that is all. you do not caramelize meat.

p.s. you also add some nice carcinegens when you burn meat.... but that's a different story.
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Biogeek
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2006 9:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the help. I never thought of the meat as also having glucose and other sugars, but that makes sense because those muscle cells would need those sugars to work.

However, since the malliard is a one amino to one sugar reaction, wouldn't it be more effective to try to add more sugars since the meat is still mostly amino acids?

And, with regards to not using sugar, what about caramelization? I noticed wikipedia included carmelization as another malliard reaction, but it sounds like it was a mistake to do that.

I'm asking these questions because I'm reading Heat by Bill Buford, where he learns how to cook in Mario Batali's footsteps and kitchen. In it, he wrote about Malliar Reaction and meats and how it needs to reach temp of at 340 degrees F. But, that seems to disagree with McGee, who said it occured at 250 degrees F.

When you're searing meat, is it more advantageous to have the temp go higher than 250, as high as possible without burning the oil? Is that why it is sometimes recommenended not to use virgin olive oil, which will smoke at a lower temp than other oils, even though its smoking point is still above 250, where you'd start getting a malliard reaction?

And, when signs do people use to know when the pan or oil is hot enough for the malliard reaction to occur? I read Cook's Illustrated, and they recommened when you start to get smoke from the oils, but that would be something you'd want to avoid, according to one of the articles on this site.
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kgb1001001



Joined: 21 Dec 2005
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2006 3:51 pm    Post subject: Adding reducing sugars Reply with quote

Well, if your goal is to get more reducing sugars into the meat, you could probably try shooting for adding lactose since introducing other reducing sugars might be a bit more challenging.

One possibility is to brown your meat in an oil mixture containing some butter (not clarified butter, but whole butter). That only contains about 1% lactose, but it may aid some. Also, you could try marinating the meat in a yogurt marinade (common in many indian recipes like Tandoori Chicken). Yogurt can contain up to 12% lactose.
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scott123



Joined: 23 Dec 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2006 12:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The maillard reaction can and does occur at temperatures lower than room temp. It's at higher temps that the process is accelerated. If memory serves me correctly, McGee didn't say that the maillard reaction occurred 'at 250,' but 'occurred most readily at 250.' The maillard reaction occurs in stock.

Commercially, I believe simple sugars are used to facilitate meat browning all the time. Bacon, for instance, will brown faster than unprocessed fatty pork.

If you're inclined, I think basting with some form of simple sugar might prove to be interesting. Apple juice concentrate or dextrose (health food store) would probably fit the bill.

Taking it even a step further... browning occurs more readily in alkali environments. You could try manipulating the pH on the surface of the meat with some baking soda.

The smoke point for oil is a distance from the flash point. As long as you put the meat in the pan the second you see/smell smoke, there's no danger involved. Just don't put the pan on, walk away and forget about it.
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GaryProtein



Joined: 26 Oct 2005
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2006 6:50 am    Post subject: Re: It's in the meat Reply with quote

kgb1001001 wrote:
Meat, being animal tissue, contains all the things your cells contain. This would include lactose, glucose, and other sugars that cells use for energy. Adding regular sugar would not help the process since sucrose is not a reducing sugar


Eltonyo is correct, meats do not contain sugars like fruits and vegetables. The blood contains glucose, not other sugars. Other sugars are converted to glucose for cells to use. The liver, as a main storage site for glycogen is less than 8 to 10% of its weight as glycogen. The liver has the highest specific content of any body tissue. Muscle has less than 1% of its mass as stored glycogen. Meat that you buy has the blood drained out, especially thoroughly in Kosher and Halal meats, as required by their respective religious protocols. Muscle (typical meats), gland (thymus gland/sweet breads, liver), fat (fat, what else!), nerve cells (brains) have almost zero carbohydrates. The only sugar they contain (glucose) is what they are actually in the process of metabolizing to function. They do not store sugar in the cell to any appreciable degree. That is what insulin is for--to get sugar in the cell.
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Biogeek
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2006 10:33 am    Post subject: Re: It's in the meat Reply with quote

GaryProtein wrote:
Muscle has less than 1% of its mass as stored glycogen. Meat that you buy has the blood drained out, especially thoroughly in Kosher and Halal meats, as required by their respective religious protocols. Muscle (typical meats), gland (thymus gland/sweet breads, liver), fat (fat, what else!), nerve cells (brains) have almost zero carbohydrates. The only sugar they contain (glucose) is what they are actually in the process of metabolizing to function. They do not store sugar in the cell to any appreciable degree. That is what insulin is for--to get sugar in the cell.


So, does this mean that it would be more difficult to get a maillard reaction with Kosher and Halal meats since they would have their blood drained, where you'd normally find the gluocse needed to carry out the maillard reaction?

Quote:
It's at higher temps that the process is accelerated. If memory serves me correctly, McGee didn't say that the maillard reaction occurred 'at 250,' but 'occurred most readily at 250.' The maillard reaction occurs in stock.


This question bothered me so much that I had to go to my local library to check out McGee's book to read what he wrote.

McGee wrote, "Maillard browning proceed at a rapid rate only at relatively high temperatures...Maillard browning perhaps 100F/50C below that (ie 230F/115C). Large amounts of energy are required to force the initial molecular interactions."

I'm interpreting it to mean that you need the high temp of 230F to get the Maillard browning. But, it doesn't necessairly say whether the Mailard browning is more effective at even higher temperatures?

This information just seems strange, given what I read in Heat by Bill Bufored who actually references McGee. In Mario Batali's kitchen, when they're browning meat, they heat the extra virgin oil to its smoking point, 360F, which is much higher than 230F needed to get Maillard browning.

If you can get Maillard browning at 230F, then why heat the oil to its smoking point at 360F. Or, if you get Maillard browning at even higher temperatures, then why not use a oil with a even higher smoking point like peanut oil?
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GaryProtein



Joined: 26 Oct 2005
Posts: 535

PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2006 8:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know if it would be more difficult to get a maillard reaction with Kosher and Halal meats because their blood is so thoroghly removed. All meats have extremely little carbohydrates within them I am not well versed in the intricacies of the Mallaird reaction.. see below:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maillard_reaction also see

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roasting

In the article, they mention the Malliard reaction in a number of different food types and they state that it is responsible for the flavor of roasted meat and that the surface of the meat is caramelized. I didn't know that was something that you could do to meat without adding a reducing sugar. ????

Interstingly, I saw a food channel program highlighting the Honey Baked Ham Co, and after baking, they sprinkle the ham with brown sugar and then use a torch to melt and caramelize the sugar on the surface.
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eltonyo



Joined: 02 Nov 2005
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2006 2:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Biogeek wrote:
And, with regards to not using sugar, what about caramelization? I noticed wikipedia included carmelization as another malliard reaction, but it sounds like it was a mistake to do that.


well not quite... lets be careful here, and note the distinctions (btw... great responses to this really great topic so far)

if you look the word "caramelization" up in the wikipedia, what it says, amongst other things, is the following:

Caramelization should not be confused with the Maillard reaction, in which reducing sugars react with amino acids.

the full definition, and other info, can be found here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caramelization

keep in mind, the malliard reaction, like the definition says, occurs with a "reducing" sugar(s) and a protien, .... sucrose or fructose for example, is not a reducing sugar(s). reducing sugars include glycogen (a form of glucose), glyceraldehyde, lactose, arabinose and maltose. what you have in meat, that is similar to sugar, is only a carbonyl group. a carbonyl group is a certain grouping of atoms found in sugar molecules that is also found in a meats fats and proteins. the maillard browning process can use the carbonyl groups that are inherent in the meat; it does not require sugars. and that's fortunate, because there are NO sugars in meat, beyond perhaps traces of glycogen, a source of glucose that fades away following the animal's death.

fruits and veggies, contain monosaccarides (glucose [also called dextrose], fructose, galactose, and ribose) or disacharrides (cellulose, or starch), and then there is table sugar (sucrose).

boiled down: when you cook an onion (a carbohydrate) "like my Betty.... Betty the onion... formerly known as the Onion named Betty", she gets sweeter to the taste. ... and when you sear a steak (protein), it just taste better. now if you sear a meat sprinkled with sugar (sucrose).... it gets darker sooner (due to true caramelization), and may taste sweeter too. but in general, if you cook a plain protein meat (without adding any external sugars)... it will never caramelize, but it will brown via the malliard reactions.

bottom line: when people on the "food-network" plop a piece of seasoned meat on a grill (with no external sugar or sauce)... and they say "let the meat caramelize"... they are technically wrong. proteins cannot caramelize. (but the burned bits of carcinogens on the outside of the meat due to the malliard reaction, though cancer causing... sure taste yummy!)

there are also two kinds of "browning" (often confused with "caramelization") of meat. the first browning occurs at a very low temperature of 170 degrees, wherein its red pigment, myoglobin, changes into metmyoglobin, which is brown.

the second browning of meat (which is "searing") occurs because of the malliard reaction, at a higher temperature, and is much more complex, as explained above.

if ya wanna get really anal (and technical).... "caramelization" is ONLY the browning of sucrose (table sugar!). the browning you see when you cook some bread or other starches (that are made up of simple sugars), is actually another malliard reaction that involves real sugars, that is different from meat. for some reason, the wikipedia includes these other sugars as a true caramelization reaction, but with a different temperature. i beg to differ... but its now an accepted cooking adaption.... and so be it. but even this stretched form of the word includes only fruits and vegetables... under no circumstance can you caramelize meat.

uh huh... like i said... the word "caramelization" is a truly over-used, and mis-understood word. remember... "caramel" candy is just simple table sugar that is heated to 340 F. that's the purest form of caramelization.

are ya totally confused now?.... sigh.

that's where alcohol comes in and can help.... but that's a different chemical and reaction all together! Smile

speaking of simple sugars, i have been eating too much protein lately, and i must now end this message... and go piss out some "ketones".
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GaryProtein



Joined: 26 Oct 2005
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2006 2:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="eltonyo"]speaking of simple sugars, i have been eating too much protein lately, and i must now end this message... and go piss out some "ketones".[/quote]

With the really low carbohydrate diets less in favor since Dr. Atkins died, I thought I was the only one doing that!

You did some really good research on this. Thanks.
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scott123



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 5:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Biogeek wrote:
Quote:
It's at higher temps that the process is accelerated. If memory serves me correctly, McGee didn't say that the maillard reaction occurred 'at 250,' but 'occurred most readily at 250.' The maillard reaction occurs in stock.


This question bothered me so much that I had to go to my local library to check out McGee's book to read what he wrote.

McGee wrote, "Maillard browning proceed at a rapid rate only at relatively high temperatures...Maillard browning perhaps 100F/50C below that (ie 230F/115C). Large amounts of energy are required to force the initial molecular interactions."

I'm interpreting it to mean that you need the high temp of 230F to get the Maillard browning. But, it doesn't necessairly say whether the Mailard browning is more effective at even higher temperatures?

This information just seems strange, given what I read in Heat by Bill Bufored who actually references McGee. In Mario Batali's kitchen, when they're browning meat, they heat the extra virgin oil to its smoking point, 360F, which is much higher than 230F needed to get Maillard browning.

If you can get Maillard browning at 230F, then why heat the oil to its smoking point at 360F. Or, if you get Maillard browning at even higher temperatures, then why not use a oil with a even higher smoking point like peanut oil?


I'm pretty sure that you read the older version of McGee's book. The new version of On Food and Cooking corresponds with the conversation I had with him here:

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=55227

Maillard browning is a chemical reaction. Most chemical reactions are accelerated by heat and maillard browning is no exception. The higher the temp, the faster your meat will brown.

The maillard browning in stock occurs over a long period of time and is dependent on the concentration of the proteins. As you reduce stock, the proteins become concentrated, so heavily reduced stock/demi will color at a faster rate than an unreduced stock will. Still, even a heavily reduced demi will still contain some water- as long as you have water present, the temperature's not going much above 212 (depending on the dissolved solids involved), so that's going to prolong the production of maillard compounds.

Unlike stock, searing meat isn't an hour(s) long endeavor. Depending on the size, shape and temp of the meat/temp of the oil, it may not even be a minute. Your goal is to speed up the reactions as much as possible by exposing the meat to the most heat you can muster.

Speaking of water... water plays a big role in the searing of meat, as does initial temp. It isn't like you heat a pan to 360, toss the meat in and the surface of the meat immediately hits 360 degrees. The temp of the surface of the meat will rise, but at the same time, the pan temp will drop. A median temp will quickly be achieved. If the meat was straight from the fridge, you're talking about a fairly drastic drop in temp, that the pan, with the help from the heating element, will have to recover from in order to reach accelerated browning temps. A pan with substantial thermal mass can help offset this, such as heavy duty cast iron. Water also prevents fast browning. Unless the meat has been dry aged for a considerable amount of time, it will contain plenty of water. This water will force the temperature down to boiling temps until it has been driven away in the form of steam. Then, and only then, will the temp rise above boiling.

Initial temp + water content = barriers to browning

This is why chefs pre-heat their oiled pans until they're just about ready to melt/explode and then toss in the meat.

As far as the choice of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) goes, that's just Batali. He uses EVOO for everything, even deep frying. An oil with a higher smoke point would, by being able to be heated to a higher temp, definitely promote faster browning- along with a heavy gauge iron pan and a drier cut of beef that's been left out to warm up a bit.

There is overkill in this equation, though. Achieving good color is the goal, not burning. I've had occasions where I cooked dry aged steaks in a blazingly hot iron pan and their water content was so low that they burned in a matter of seconds.
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WATT
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2007 11:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

on the face of it, it seems as though Maillard reaction only occur at elevated (above ambient) temperatures and in the absence of water, when amino groups and sugar moietites are present, none of which is the whole story.

Maillard reactions occur in our own bodies (see AGE) at ~40C in the presence of much water. Reactions occurring faster at elevated temperatures is basic thermodynamics, as is the necessity to overcome the activation energy barrier. But occurring at low temperatures in the presence of water is a fact.

Meat will brown below the magic temperature in the presence of fat and water (braising), some reactions give off water, some require water, and some are reversible.

There is a source of 'sugar' in meat, its not glycogen (which is a polysaccharide, like starch and cellulose), it is a breakdown product of ATP. This builds up in concentration post mortem.

The most likely reason why meat cooking (such as with steak on a grill or hot pan) produces browning is most likely due to near dehydration of the protein forming melanoidins (found in the fonds which stick to the pan, and deglazed with stock/wine). And nothing has been said about the contribution from unsaturated fats which undergo Strecker degradation forming Maillard reaction intermediates.

just a thought
Watt
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PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2007 1:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

> the malliard reaction... applies only to meats


it applies to roasting of coffee beans.
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GaryProtein



Joined: 26 Oct 2005
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PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2007 3:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anonymous wrote:
> the malliard reaction... applies only to meats


it applies to roasting of coffee beans.


Why do you say the maillard reaction apply only to meats, but can also apply to roasting coffee beans? Plants do have amino acids, so why can't the maillard reaction apply to roasting plants in general? Steaming or boiling plants shouldn't produce the maillard reaction, but roasting them in the oven sounds like it could.
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