The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines sear as:
- To burn and damage the surface of (something) with strong and sudden heat.
- To cook the surface of (something, such as a piece of meat) quickly with intense heat.
Fortunately, the technique isn’t any more complicated then it’s definition! To sear any meat (or poultry, or fish) all you need to to do is:
- Heat a skillet, sauté pan, or gill pan to a medium high heat. If you meat is on the lean side, add some fat (Think oil or grease from bacon or other fatty meat. Avoid butter as it burns easily.) to the pan.
- Season your meat as desired.
- When the pan is hot (and the added fat is hot, but not smoking), place the meat in the pan fattiest side down. You will hear a nice sizzling noise as the meat touches the metal. Allow the meat to cook until it reaches a deep, rich brown. (Some recipes may even call for a light char, or some blackening of the meat.) The meat will brown fairly quickly so watch carefully.
- Flip the meat and repeat on the opposite side.
Ta da! You now know how to sear meat!
Have you ever been tempted to skip the sear step in the recipe? Here are three reasons it’s worth the extra trouble:
- Searing the meat caramelizes it, adding BIG flavor to the final dish.
- Searing creates a great crisp texture on the outsides of your meats.
- The browned color of the meat after searing is generally significantly more appealing then the pale color most meats will otherwise turn out.