Cooking can be a great joy, but it can also be very frustrating to work hard on that new recipe you just discovered only to find out that it did not come out the way it was supposed to. This is especially true when it comes to recipes involving meat. An entire dish can be ruined in the meat is not cooked properly. However, we are going to solve that problem here and now, with this handy guide on how to sear meat perfectly every time.
Preparing the Meat
- First, you will need to make sure the meat is “relaxed.” Yes, meat has to relax, just like people! So, sit it out at room temperature rather than leaving it in the refrigerator. This allows the moisture to redistribute throughout the cut. Half an hour should do for most cuts of meat.
- While the meat relaxes, prepare the pan in which you will sear the meat. That pan must be extremely hot. Otherwise, the meat will stick to the pan, cook unevenly, and even tear when it is time to turn it or remove it from the pan. Having an underheated pan is a common problem when people do not know how to sear meat.
- If the meat itself has very little to no fat on the cut, put vegetable oil into the pan. The behavior of the oil will also be a great way to gauge whether the pan is hot enough. When it begins to ripple, it is hot enough to add the meat.
- Season your meat to taste. Usually salt and pepper will do, but creativity spices things up! It can be marinated in any number of glazes or dressings to add flavor.
How to Sear the Meat
- Once the meat is relaxed and seasoned, and the pan is extremely hot, it is time to sear the meat. Place fattier cuts in the pan, with the fatty side down first. If cooking a type of meat with skin, such as chicken, put the skin side down first. If using oil, act with caution, because the hot oil could pop and burn you.
- The meat will sear quickly on the outside, so do not leave it unattended. Once it is a nice, golden brown, turn it over onto the other side and repeat.
How to Finish Cooking the Meat
- So now you have a beautifully seared steak, roast, tenderloin, or chicken. However, searing does not cook the inside of the meat. Therefore, it will be necessary to finish the job.
- The meat can be cooked on a grill, in a slow cooker, on the stove top, or in the over. That is all up to the chef.
- Once you have decided how to finish cooking your seared meat, be sure to keep a close watch on it. If over or undercooked, your recipe is ruined. Cut into it to make sure it is cooked, but also has not lost its juicy tenderness.
- Larger cuts, such as roasts, take much more time to cook, while thinner cuts of meats like chicken take less time. The important thing is to make sure meats like poultry have clear running juices and no pink in the middle. Cut into the thickest point of the meat to make sure it is cooked properly.
Bonus: A Recipe for Perfectly Seared Steak
Now that you know how to sear meat, it is time to put this new skill to work. There’s nothing like a great, tender, juicy steak for dinner. Here is a great recipe for the perfectly seared New York strip steak.
First, you will heat a cast iron skillet on the stove. Add oil, as per the instructions on how to sear meat above. Allow the steak to sit out at room temperature for roughly half an hour. When the pan is appropriately hot, move the steak to the pan. Sear for three minutes on each side of the steak. After searing on both sides, reduce the heat to medium-low.
Now, what makes this dish such a special treat is what comes next. After lowering the heat, add butter, thyme, and garlic. Slowly maneuver the skillet so that there is a pool of melting butter in one side. Then, brush the entire steak with butter. When the steak reaches the desired internal temperature, remove the steak from the pan, and save the remaining butter for a bit of added flavor. You can even use the butter as a dipping sauce for the steak!
Now that you know how to sear meat, you can use this same method for almost any meat imaginable. Knowing how to sear meat properly can open up a whole new culinary world, providing endless ways for the budding chef to enjoy the art of cooking.