How To Sear Meats

Follow our step-by-step tutorial for a perfectly seared piece of meat.

To get a rich brown crust on your roasts, steaks, chops, and chicken, you need to brown them in a hot pan.

seared;

1. Searing meat caramelizes the sugars and browns the proteins present in meat, resulting in more appealing color and flavor. For best results:

  • Pull the meat from the fridge and set it out at room temperature for a short while before cooking it. This lets the meat relax, allowing the meat’s natural moisture to reabsorb into the muscle, rather than staying trapped between the meat’s fibers.
  • Make sure the pan that will be used for searing is hot, hot, hot!

Chicken

2. We’re using chicken, but you can sear all types and cuts of meat. Season it with salt (and pepper, if desired). The seasoning will stick to the moist surface of the meat and as it cooks it will form a flavorful seared crust.

  • If your meat has been brined or marinated, don’t add extra salt.
  • Use care if the marinade was sweet or sugary: the added sugars can burn quickly in the hot pan.

seasoning

3. Depending on the amount of fat in the meat, you might not need to add fat to the pan.

  • If you’re searing a lean cut –pork tenderloin or chops, chicken, lean beef– add about two tablespoons of vegetable or peanut oil to the pan. (Olive oil and butter have too low of a smoke point.)
  • Turn the heat up to high and watch for the oil to ripple. When the oil ripples, add the meat.
  • Place chicken pieces skin-side down; place roasts in the pan fattiest-side down. Take care: the hot oil will sputter and spit.

oil

4. If the pan is too cool when you add the meat, it can stick and tear when you try to turn it. Let the meat sear for a few minutes (longer for roasts, shorter for cubed meat or steaks) before flipping it over. Seared meats leave flavorful pan drippings known as fond, which can later be used to make gravy by “deglazing” the pan.

in pan

5. Once the meat starts to color, it browns quickly, so pay attention! When one side is seared, turn the meat over.

turn

 

6. Even though the outside of the meat is beautifully browned, the inside may still be raw. Finish cooking your meat by roasting it in the oven, adding it to your slow cooker, or simmering it on the stove.

done

Want to make pan gravy? Follow these tips to making a roux out of the drippings.

Roast Tips:

  • If working with a round roast, try to lean the meat against the edge of the pan to support it while you brown each part: they tend to roll over rather than stay put.
  • To sear the ends of a roast, use extra care: if the meat tips over, it can splatter hot grease over the stove and the cook. Use tongs to hold it up, if necessary.

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