Category Archives: Tips & Techniques

Searing Meat Doesn’t Seal In The Juices

Searing steaks on the grill

Good ol’ George Stephen. We owe him a lot. He invented the iconic Weber kettle grill and founded a company that continues to innovate and produce some of the best grills money can buy.

But George didn’t know what he was talking about when it came to searing meat.

Here’s the first ad that George ran to sell his grills:

Weber's first ad

It says, “Seals in rich flavor and natural juices of meat, poultry, fish and game.”

George can be forgiven for this misstatement, for it’s been made many times by many chefs and cooking authorities over the years.

Searing meat does not seal-in flavor and juices. This myth has been disproved numerous times. You can read one example here from the America’s Test Kitchen blog.

What searing does is create great color and flavor on the surface of meat as a result of caramelization and the Maillard reaction. These processes create an array of flavor compounds that give grilled meat its wonderful flavor. And interestingly, you can sear meat at the beginning or at the end of cooking and get good results either way.

So go ahead and sear those steaks and chops…but do it to create great color and flavor. To keep the meat juicy, measure internal temperatures using an instant-read thermometer so you don’t overcook the meat.

Go Ahead…Poke Your Meat

Weber 6615 Grilling Fork
Weber 6615 Grilling Fork

Contrary to popular belief, a piece of meat is not like a balloon filled with water. It won’t pop and let out all the moisture if you poke it or “nick and peek” to check for doneness.

A piece of meat is more like a sponge. It holds almost all of its moisture even when poked or probed.

America’s Test Kitchen did a test in which they cooked two sets of steaks to medium rare. One set was poked constantly with a fork, the other was not. The result: Both sets of steak lost exactly 19.6% of their moisture during cooking.

So go ahead, use a grill fork or stick your steak with a probe thermometer to check for doneness. You’re not doing any harm.