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View Full Version : Do flames make steak taste better or worse?


Kanco Connection
03-08-2018, 02:19 PM
When searing a ribeye I don't skimp on the fire--crazy hot. Seared in about one minute per side. But the fat dripping obviously causes some serious flare-ups, as below. I think my steaks taste great, but my wife wonders if it's a little acrid sooty tasting due to the ridiculous flames engulfing (not just licking) the steaks. What do you guys think? Major flames a good thing for steak searing? Or bad thing for steak searing? And I'm not talking about the exterior burning (I'm careful about that)--just the flavor.

https://i.imgur.com/gmfaI6bl.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/s8rT7lxl.jpg

Rockinar
03-08-2018, 02:22 PM
Yes.

smoke ninja
03-08-2018, 02:22 PM
While i believe there can be too much char i do prefer to sear things on a grill, especially compared to a skillet. I have no luck searing in a pan and i smoke out the house so i sear almost everything outside by default

I wouldnt say i go for full on fireball. I like to have enough real estate to move steaks as needed to be flame kissed

sparctek
03-08-2018, 02:59 PM
I cook on an open fire pit quite a bit, and I have had my share of failures over the years. What I have learned is the big flare up is grease burning which to me, does cause an acrid, sooty taste. If you look closely at the tips of the flames you will probably see black plumes streaming from them; that's what gives that acrid, sooty flavor.

What I do now is grill my steaks over the coals as normal until I see that the grease rendering from the meat is starting to burn. Then I move the coals around to create a little pocket under the steaks that doesn't have a lot of coal. You still get high heat radiating around the steaks and underneath but you don't have a lot of coals directly under the meat to catch the grease on fire.

Once I went to this method both my wife and I were much happier with the taste.

gtsum
03-08-2018, 03:20 PM
Flames licking yes, engulfed and burning fat... no good. Fine line between nice char and malliard reaction and too much char. For years I have been doing reverse sears and the searing part is generally 1-2 minutes per side max (with ththe new Memphis Elite thatís more like 45 seconds per side...)


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Zed
03-08-2018, 06:11 PM
I have a couple of webers and no every once and a while when cooking a fatty ribeye or chicken thigh with skin on I would miss a big flare up and burn my food. Some times Id catch it and it would work to my advantage adding great flavor. Until one day I goofed up and had enough on flare ups.

So I bought both grills a set of replacement grates from an American company called Grill Grates. I was skeptical at first but after my first use I was a believer. They cost the same as the cast iron grates from weber and they cook great. I even smoked a pork butt on them to see how they did there and the results where awesome.

So my long winded response is yes, flare ups are flavorful if used correctly but who needs them when you can get great tasting steaks with perfect sear marks that never catch fire. Here is a link https://www.grillgrate.com/ (https://www.grillgrate.com/)

Also the yellow squash was a afterthought. Girlfriend insists that steak alone isn't healthy.

Garyclaw
03-08-2018, 06:36 PM
Right. There's a fine line between a raging fat burn off and a nice bed of very hot coals.

Smoking Piney
03-08-2018, 07:03 PM
You can sear a steak without having an an outright conflagration of fire on it.

I like reverse sear to get the cooking about where I want it at low heat, and then hit it with high heat (minus the firing inferno) to get the sear.

jermoQ
03-08-2018, 07:11 PM
The flames in the picture, would make a good sear for a minute. But the last time I had a fire that looked like that, I was apologizing to the company. I am thinking that a good flame is not what you want. Just hot coals.

Smoking Piney
03-08-2018, 07:18 PM
The flames in the picture, would make a good sear for a minute. But the last time I had a fire that looked like that, I was apologizing to the company. I am thinking that a good flame is not what you want. Just hot coals.

Agree.

I don't won't actual fire on my steaks when I sear. I just want very high heat from the coals.

The big fire makes for cool pics, but not great steaks.

rudomundo
03-08-2018, 08:36 PM
Like the old saying goes, "if the fire's from wood, it's all good, if the fire's from fat, you don't want that."

smoke ninja
03-08-2018, 08:39 PM
For reverse sear i prefer a bigger hotter fire. The sear is super fast so it helps get that slight char and brown balance in the short cook duration.

With what i call market steaks, the 3/4 to 1 inch cuts from typical super markets, i cook open top the whole time with a milder fire. I like to have 2x the hot zone so i can move steaks about as flareups happen. I have a 1x cool zone in case ot gets out of hand. That means i need the times the grill space of my steaks.

Smoking Piney
03-08-2018, 08:42 PM
Like the old saying goes, "if the fire's from wood, it's all good, if the fire's from fat, you don't want that."

For me, it's just fire - PERIOD touching the meat. I don't want it. Looks cool in FB pics, but just ruins a steak.

You can get a great sear without the towering inferno.

Kanco Connection
03-08-2018, 10:13 PM
Good input, all. My friends love my steaks, but I’m going to try a different approach. I’ll report back if I have any impressions worth sharing. Thank you for the wisdom.

Kanco Connection
03-08-2018, 10:21 PM
By the way, in case the thinking in the volcanic inferno approach needs clarification, the reason I’ve evolved to that is that it helps achieve the wall-to-wall med rare I’m going for. Level 10 heat gets the sear in such a short amount of time I get the good internal result every time. Level 8 heat doesn’t achieve it (for me) quite as successfully. But if the flavor suffers, then it’s a net loss. Anyway, thanks.

Lahawk1
03-09-2018, 05:47 AM
I have a couple of webers and no every once and a while when cooking a fatty ribeye or chicken thigh with skin on I would miss a big flare up and burn my food. Some times Id catch it and it would work to my advantage adding great flavor. Until one day I goofed up and had enough on flare ups.

So I bought both grills a set of replacement grates from an American company called Grill Grates. I was skeptical at first but after my first use I was a believer. They cost the same as the cast iron grates from weber and they cook great. I even smoked a pork butt on them to see how they did there and the results where awesome.

So my long winded response is yes, flare ups are flavorful if used correctly but who needs them when you can get great tasting steaks with perfect sear marks that never catch fire. Here is a link https://www.grillgrate.com/ (https://www.grillgrate.com/)

Also the yellow squash was a afterthought. Girlfriend insists that steak alone isn't healthy.
+1 for the Grillgrate, it is the only way I do steaks now. I have my coal bed about one inch below the Grillgrate and still no flareups.

THoey1963
03-09-2018, 11:46 AM
I agree with the flame comments above.

As for cooking steaks on the GrillGrates, try flipping them over next time so they are griddle side up. Creates a really nice wall to wall crust.