I know, I know. Totally unrelated. BUT related.
Every week I read some dumba$% talking about the importance of sealing a nice piece of meat before roasting it in the oven. They say, it “helps keep the juices neatly stuck inside the meat, and not lost in the pan.” Bullshit.
Sealing meat has only one purpose: building that nice, brown, crispy, burnt-like crust on the surface of the piece, because that crust tastes good and looks good. That’s it.
Sealing meat doesn’t magically turn the meat surface into GoreTex, or Thinsulate, or Nylon. That’s stupid. Even if you seal your meat like a crazy BBQ-master, juices will still flow out of it when you leave it to rest (I’ll tackle resting in another post).
But still, mindless people, pundits, and even chefs, repeat nonsense like that like parrots. Why don’t people stop and think about things they listen? Why don’t they apply logic, reasoning, and a healthy dose of criticism, to stuff before passing it forward? I don’t know.
So here are some tips to a nice seal:
The method for sealing is to bring the surface of the meat cut, and only the surface, to the highest possible temperature in the shortest amount of time. If your cut is cold, as in “I just took it out of the fridge,” the temperature differential will be bigger, and that’s why it’s a best practice to take the cut out of the fridge about an hour before cooking, so its temperature comes up to around room temperature
You must dry the surface of the cut just before it hitting the pan. The more water on its surface, the worse the seal. Don’t ever lay salt on your cut if you plan on sealing it before cooking (sous-vide cooks seal their meat after cooking it. In that case, this reasoning doesn’t apply because the meat will already be seasoned probably before the slow cooking)
Get a frying pan and put it on high temperature. The highest possible. Again, you want to almost burn it, but very quickly (ideally, in about 30 seconds on each large surface)
Most frying pans on most ovens won’t reach a nice temperature. Butter helps compensate for that, and also adds a nice flavor. Add the butter to the pan, and leave it melt and get VERY hot. It should sizzle when the meat hits it
Cheers, and don’t repeat stupid stuff mindlessly.