Searing Meat – Does Searing Meat Really Seal In The Juices?

Does Searing Meat Seal In The Juices?

The Simple Answer

Does searing meat seal in the juices?



No searing meat doesn’t seal in anything at all, it just makes the meat look browner.

Proof That Searing Meat Doesn’t Seal In The Juices

The sizzling sound when your ‘searing’ comes from the constant flow of moisture from the meat onto the hot pan.

And when you turn the meat over to cook the other side, you can see juices seep through the seared side.

And when you rest the meat afterwards, it leaks juices onto the plate.

The Myth About Searing And Sealing

The searing and sealing myth has been debunked many times but a great many restaurants still advertise such nonsense as,

"Our USDA Prime steaks are prepared in a special 1,800º broiler to seal in the juices and lock in that delicious flavor".

How Did The Searing Myth Get Started?

The first known person to propagate the idea was a leading German chemist named Justus von Liebig, author of the book "Researches on the The Chemistry of Food" published in 1847. Liebig hypothesized that, in the words of his biographer W.A. Shenstone, 1901.

"In roasting, the escape of the juices should be retarded by heating as strongly as possible at first; the juice then hardens on the outside and protecting surface, which prevents subsequent loss’.

The Fact About Searing Meat

Meat is about 75% water and most of that is locked in thousands of long thin muscle fibers.

Heating meat will always force out the juices and nothing can stop the process.

Some juices drip off during cooking and some evaporate.

Food scientist Harold McGee says in his landmark book, ‘On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen‘.

"The crust that forms around the surface of the meat is not waterproof, as any cook has experienced: the continuing sizzle of meat in the pan or oven or on the grill is the sound of moisture continually escaping and vaporizing".

Searing Meat Causes More Loss Of Juices

FoodNetwork personality Alton Brown attempted to get the truth out in 2008.

He took two steaks of about the same size, seared one in a pan, and left the other alone.

He then put them both in the oven on a wire rack and cooked them to his target temperature.

When he removed them he weighed them again.

The unseared steak lost 13% of its weight, but the seared steak lost 19%!

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One Response to Searing Meat – Does Searing Meat Really Seal In The Juices?

  1. donald-drake says:

    Searing meat not only doesn’t seal in moisture, but actually causes it to lose moisture thereby making it somewhat dryer.

    There is a major upside however which is known as the “Maillard reaction” that declares that the brown crust that is formed by the searing gives the meat a richer taste.

    Searing, which is form of non-enzymatic browning similar to caramelization is considered my many chefs to be crucially important in the preparation and/or presentation of many types of food.

    * The so called Maillard reaction is a chemical reaction that takes place between an amino acid and a reducing sugar, and it generally requires heat.

    The transformation is named after the chemist Louis-Camille Maillard who first described it in the 1910s after attempting to reproduce biological protein synthesis.

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