Sunday, July 1, 2012

Grill Marks

Discussed across grilling and BBQ forums around the globe, the elusive perfect GRILL MARK is the badge of excellence to the Steak Griller!  The picture below doesn't begin to represent perfection but is provided as a reference...

The word Grill actually refers to the grid of wire (rack) on which the food is cooked and Grilling is a form of cooking using grills (duh).  The definition of grilling apparently varies depending on where you are in the world however.  In North America, the word grilling refers to cooking food directly over Charcoal or Gas flame on a grate that will leave "grill marks."   This type of cooking (grilling) would be referred to as barbecueing in the United Kingdom.  The term Barbecue in the U.S. however doesn’t necessairly mean that you get grill marks on your meat.  Traditional Japanese homes (and many in China and Korea) have hibachis that are used for cooking (grilling).  Grilling on a habachi is done directly over hot charcoal at very high temperatures. 

Now…if you LOVE THOSE GRILL MARKS use a rag to wipe some vegetable oil on the grill after you scrape it clean and just before you put it away for the night (if the grate is still just a little warm, all the better).  Then the next time you heat up the grill for those steaks, run up the temperature and immediately “sear” in those juices, picking up the meat with tongs (never poke holes in your meat) and flip it over and “sear” the other side for 1 or 2 minutes…wala!  Grill Marks (however if you cook it right, the presentation of the meat won’t be remembered as long as the flavor…so don’t worry about it!  The secret is in the oil on the grate and the temperature.  Let that meat rest by the way (to relax the meat) and lower the temperature and then cook away.  You do only flip your meat once anyway, right?  RIGHT! 

…and just WHAT gives Grilled Meat that distinctive taste?  The Maillard Reaction! The maillard reaction[1] is what gives grilled meat the taste.  This chemical reaction is the term for the browning of meat and is what distinguishes ‘grilling out’ from all other methods of cooking. 


[1] Information gathered from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grilling