Searing Meat Is A Delicious Lie

Searing Meat Is A Delicious Lie

Thanks to Skillshare for supporting this episode
of SciShow. [♩INTRO] Cookbooks, TV chefs, home cooks — we’ve
all heard somewhere that we should sear meat before we cook it
to “lock in the juices.” Funnily enough, that reasoning is completely
wrong, but you should still sear your steaks! This misconception has been around for a really
long time. This idea might have gotten some traction
in the 1840s thanks to Justus von Liebig, a German chemist
who wrote about the benefits of searing meat in his book Researches
on the Chemistry of Food. And we’ve actually known this to be untrue
for quite some time. For example, it was debunked in research published
back in 1974. The results of that study showed that searing actually causes meat to lose more
moisture, not less. In a sample of 12 seared cuts of meat and
12 unseared control samples, the ones that got a blast of heat first lost
slightly more moisture — around 3%. Similar experiments have been conducted over
the years, in the lab and in the kitchen, with similar
results. Some experiments have shown no difference
in moisture loss, while in others, non-seared steaks stayed
a bit more moist. Either way, there’s not a huge difference
in searing first vs not. It’s pretty clear that it’s not helping
to keep a steak juicy. And honestly, if you look at the surface of
a steak you might notice that it doesn’t look particularly leak-proof
after it’s been seared. These things do tend to sizzle. Muscle tissue contains long filaments called
myofibrils. Heating damages these fibers and causes them
to lose water over time. The extent of water loss varies, and temperature
plays a big part. Higher temperatures contribute to higher moisture
loss, especially above 60° Celsius. Which corresponds to about medium doneness. So if searing doesn’t lock in juices, why
do we find this myth so hard to let go? We might think that seared steaks are juicier
because they taste better. We know that fat and flavor contribute to
our subjective impression of juiciness. On top of that, browning meat leads to Maillard
reactions, and they create a ton of flavor. The French chemist Louis Camille Maillard
described the reactions in the early 1900’s. A Maillard reaction sequence begins with the
reaction of a sugar and an amino acid. After that, there are a bunch of different
ways the reaction can proceed, depending on factors like temperature and
pH. And it’s not just one reaction. Many small chemical reactions are occurring
at the same time, producing new flavors, smells, and creating
the browning color we associate with cooking meat, as well as
many other foods. So when meat is seared, the Maillard effect
creates a bunch of tasty flavors. But it doesn’t “lock in juices.” That might explain why this myth has had so
much staying power. Searing might not do what we think it does,
but it is a good idea. A delicious, delicious idea. If all this talk of juicy sizzling meat is
making you hungry, well, you are probably not a vegetarian. But also, maybe you’re in the mood to roll
up your sleeves and get cooking yourself. So maybe you’d like to check out a culinary
course over on Skillshare. Like butcher Patrick LaFrieda’s course Beef 101, where he tells you how to source and prepare
individual cuts of meat. You know, in case we REALLY put you in the
mood for steak. There are over 25,000 other courses on Skillshare,
so you’re likely to find something that matches your interests, from
photography to productivity. The first 500 SciShow viewers to sign up using
the link in the description will get a 2 month free trial, so it’s easy to try
it out and start finding courses just for you. [♩OUTRO]

100 thoughts on “Searing Meat Is A Delicious Lie

  1. Skillshare is offering SciShow viewers two months of unlimited access to Skillshare for free! Try it here:

  2. Watching this while enjoying homemade shashlik made with real balsamic vinegar and grilled with hardwood charcoal at different levels for flavor.

  3. A new "diet plan" : TWO MEALS A DAY is going viral in India among diabetic and obese patients. This plan was suggested by Dr. Jagannath Dixit. Please can you confirm if this is really true or not. I have an important person in my life who is bent over backwards to follow this plan. Is it safe for diabetic or obese or even normal person?

  4. When I find information like this, I often convey it to friends in a seemly appropriate setting, only to be followed by an awkward silence… sigh

  5. It also kills off any bacteria lurking on the outside while letting you have a rarer steak if you do desire (personally, I like my meat reasonably well done, tho It always seems like I suck the moisture out of my meats)

  6. Got a strong persistent hunger, that i'm about to break. Cus i've got a plain steak baby, that i'll marinate

  7. By the way, if you want a juicy AND tasty steak, sear it Last.

    First off, give your steaks a heavy rubdown with Olive Oil. Don't just wipe it on, you're Massaging it into the muscle. This helps break down fats between those muscles and tenderizes the meat. While you're doing this, preheat your oven to about 250ish. Once you're preheated, put your steaks on rack trivets in the oven, with an oven pan underneath to catch drippings. Cook them for about 20 minutes, or until a thermal probe at the deepest portion of your steak tells you it's at your desired doneness level. Once that's done, pull them out and give them a quick two minute sear on each side in a hot pan with browning butter in it(The butter's largely just there as a quick way to tell if the pan's hot enough, but it will also add flavor). Once that's all said and done, let em rest for a few minutes on the plate, then serve with a mixed green salad and potatoes.

  8. I'm starting to feel like this is the SciShow process:
    1. Find a course on Skillshare
    2. Write an episode specifically to get a lead into the advert.
    3. Profit.

  9. I think the only cooking myth I hate more than this one is the "cooking off alcohol" one. In most applications, that's just not a thing.

  10. This is why Alton Brown on Good Eats actually recommends searing first, and then using the oven for the rest of the cooking

  11. Hello lovely people, I am interested about science in gastronomy. Can you recommend me how to study this (paths, sources, books, etc.) and also apply 🙂

  12. I’ve seen this conversation too many times. Show all the science and evidence you want. But in the end it all comes down “I’ve been doing this longer than you have, searing seals in the juices, so that makes it a fact.”
    In the end good food is good food, but its still annoying when we’re told to “sear it to seal in the juices” rather than just initiate a maillard reaction/browning.
    You don’t see bakers searing their cookies to seal in the ‘moisture’

  13. I love you guys and I have a lot of faith in the diligence of your research—but why are you using hyphens in place of an em dash?! Dash those infocards!!

  14. Why don’t you make a video about how steaks are incredibly water intensive to produce. Getting people to think about our current climate crisis like the science show you are.

  15. QQ Why does the whipping motion after you light a match cause it to go out?? Wouldn't the swinging motion bring the point of ignition into contact with more gasious fuel?

  16. Who else was cringing at the footage of the guy stabbing rtf chicken on the grill? Moisture loss indeed.

  17. Can you do an episode on specific heat? It's basic stuff, but it's the key to so much, from temperature and weather patterns, to cooling systems.

  18. you upload a video about food and for muslims it is a ramadan month the month of fasting me puts hand in my forehead

  19. Now this is the kind of top notch quality content I'd expect from a YouTube science channel. Great job!

  20. If you want to keep that juicyness.

    Season your meats.
    Wrap in foil, make sure to use alittle oil and fold so that none of the liquids leak out and completely covers your meat.

    Bake in the oven for however long you want it.

  21. Funny story, I actually read about this in Wikipedia's List of common misconceptions, just a few minutes before seeing this video in my sub feed.

  22. Question for scishow. How do the different types of energy drinks work? Why are they so bad for you? What's the science behind the garbage we put into our bodies

  23. Disappointing video in contrast to the best of Scishow. I hate to spell out the obvious 1:17. Searing is on the outside of the steak. Your video confuses water loss — or lack of — on the surface level to the rest of the steak. Geez, has none of your staff ever cooked a steak?

  24. it's actually more interesting to study how and why this myth has perpetuated this long… i'd say most chefs aren't worth their weight and just repeat age old myths like sheep

  25. No joke, cook your steak in the oven first, THEN sear it. You'll never go back.Also, always finish with compound butter. Always. 🙂

  26. hello, could you please make a video about electricity we could get from living plants, how it all works, how it affects plant, and what are the future perspectives for replacing current electricity sources? thank you.

  27. Put a steak in a pan, then turn on the heat. It’ll lose it’s water and be poached. Searing works.

  28. You completely misunderstood the "myth". The steak is jucier if you sear it first. Otherwise if you want the same outside crust you need to cook the meat longer which will dry it out. How could you seriously have researched prepared and filmed an entire video without ever understanding the purpose of the method of cooking. Wow.

  29. I find that salting the meat for 10 minutes, washing, patting dry and then putting on a plate on a rack in the fridge for at least a day really dries out the skin and enables a good sear. No complaints about juiciness.

  30. stop eating animal's bodies. they do not belong to you. if you take away someone's right to their own body, you are violating them. cutting someone apart and eating their flesh is the darkest abuse you can inflict to them. the choices you make can have dire, horrific consequences. make the right choice.

  31. "If all this talk of sizzling meat is making you hungry well… you're probably not a vegetarian."

  32. You sear it pretty fast and then with enough heat in the outside to eventually cook the inside, you take the meat out and wrap it in a minimal surface area to mass configuration, first in paper towel, to soak up the grease and then aluminium foil and a plastic bag (to keep it tidy) and then a beach towel to insulate. Let it sit for the outside heat to cook the inside and after some time it will be moist and seared, both. Works for chicken and pork, not beef or fish. Enough beach towels and it'll be hot to touch after hours and hours.

  33. Also, let the meat come to room temperature before you sear it, then let it rest after cooking for 2-5 minutes (depending on the meat in question) under a loose sheet of foil. Letting it come to room temperature before cooking will help get the internal temperature where you need it just that tiny bit faster so you lose less moisture to cooking, and letting it rest will allow the juices to retreat back into the meat instead of gushing out all over your plate when you start cutting. Your mouth will thank you.

  34. The takeaway: sear your steaks, but you're not losing moisture with a reverse sear or sous vide.

  35. Who in the world is telling you to sear meat in order to lock in juices? Would you actually eat unseared meat? You sear meat so it's actually a steak. That one time someone boiled a burger, Ramsay didn't let them hear the end of it..

  36. 0:49 That 3% is the seared part of the whole part, isn't it?
    If you have to cut the 3% of any meat, would it look like you peel it or cut a very small part compared with the 97%?

    I think there is nothing wrong here, just misunderstanding of any procedure will have a loss and you work to make it worth it.

  37. Hold on. Does searing "lock in" the juices from the inside of the meat though? Maybe overall the meat has less moisture due to the losses at the surface, but does the inside contain more moisture when compared to a non-seared piece? It doesn't sound like the mythical "locking in" effect was discussed at all. Does a seared surface prohibit moisture from passing through itself?

  38. reverse sear your steaks, stick them in the oven at 200-225 degrees for like 40 minutes until they are 125 degrees (for rare), rest them for 15-20 minutes under foil then sear the crap out of them and serve immediately

    Edit: also, if you have the time, try to remove them from the fridge at least 1 hour before cooking and salt liberally with kosher salt at that time

  39. Guessing you’ve never had a burger ruin your shirt by squirting all over it. Never had that problem with a steak tho.

  40. to cook a steak. take it out of the fridge and let it rest so it comes up to room temperature before you cook it. also give it enough time for the heat to permeate the whole piece of meat (after cooking let it rest a bit, you can sear it after the rest to get a nice char if you like). its simple but it can make a huge difference.

  41. No amount of food science can teach my fellow white peeps to cook with spices and seasoning; the way youre supposed to cook. Ive tried….

  42. Sous-vide cookimg will probably do the best job of locking in juices – see

  43. (Not related to meat but here goes…)

    Sad that you need a Credit Card number to register in Skillshare…
    In case you're wondering, I'm 13. That's why I don't have a Credit Card yet.

  44. How come you didn't discuss the possibility that because the muscle fibers are broken down, the juices from inside the meat comes out. So your mouth gets hit with a lot more moisture when you bite into it. Seems obvious to me.

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