To create those delicious morsels of crispy deep brown nuggets found on that perfectly cooked steak and brisket, you need the presence of sugar.
When meats are exposed to heat, they release sugar and amino acids.
On a quick cook such as steaks, usually the high cooking temperature will provide the elements essential to achieving those crispy nuggets, which are known as the Maillard Effect.
Here’s what needs to be done:
When cooking a steak, for instance, make sure the surface of the meat is absolutely dry.
If not, when the heat hits it you will be steaming the surface of the meat.
After drying the meat with a paper towel, you can sprinkle sugar on the surface and allow the steak to sit so the sugar can penetrate the surface.
At high heat, place the steak on the grill and keep flipping as necessary to achieve that golden brown surface.
On large cuts of meat, because they are cooked low and slow, we will add brown sugar or a layering of seasonings – one of which is high in sugar – to help achieve a nice bark.
Check out our recipes for smoked brisket and pulled pork.