How to Sear on the Grill

Searing is a technique used to cook meats at a high temperature creating that caramelized crust that we all want. Caramelizing, or the “Maillard Reaction,” is the process during which the natural amino acids and sugars move to the surface of the meat and create flavor compounds.

  • What to Sear Thicker cuts of steaks, poultry and fish are great options for searing. Swordfish steaks and scallops are good choices for seafood. And all tender steak cuts always work well.
  • Searing Prep Room temperature meats help muscle fibers absorb juices for better flavor. Pat your meat dry, even if you’re using a marinade. This will allow the meat to sear, instead of steam. Spray a little cooking oil on the grates to keep your food from sticking.
  • Make It Hot  Heat is the answer to searing. You’ll need temperatures of 400 degrees and above. You want to hear the piece of meat sizzle when it hits the grates. Many grills come with a sear burner that will give you the direct heat perfect for searing, but you can still create that heat with either a charcoal or gas grill.
  • How Long to Sear Sear your steaks or seafood for no more than for 2-3 minutes on the first side. Flip your meats over for another 1-1/2 minutes on the other side. You’re looking for a crisp brown crust. Don’t flip your meat too soon. You can lift the corner of your steak or seafood to see if the crust has formed and only then should you flip. Once you’ve seared both sides, move the meat to a cooler part of the grill to finish cooking with indirect heat.
  • Get a Reading  For safe internal temperatures, make sure you use a meat thermometer. The outside may be brown but the inside can still be undercooked.
  • How to Sear the Crosshatch Marks Once you’ve got the basic method of searing down, create those beautiful crosshatch marks with the “10 o’clock, 2 o’clock” method. Put your meat on the grill as though you are looking at a clock striking 10. Put your piece of meat over that imaginary clock on the grill at 10 o'clock. Leave it for about 2 minutes. Then turn your steak to the 2 o’clock position and continue searing for another minute or two. This will give you the diamond-shaped pattern that you are looking for.
  • Searing on a Charcoal Grill Pile your charcoal about two to three inches from the cooking grate. This will give you temperatures over 500 degrees.
  • Searing on a TRU-Infrared™ Grill TRU-Infrared™ cooking systems will give you the perfect searing temperatures. First sear with the burners on high, then lower them to finish cooking.
  • Sear Burner A sear burner is a separate section of a gas grill that has an infrared plate to create extremely high temperatures. Sear your steaks on the burner and then move them to a cooler section of the grill to cook them thoroughly. You don’t need to close the lid while the steaks are searing.
  • Pan Searing  You can also use a pan searing method. Place a cast iron pan on the grate and sear your meat in the pan. Use a little oil to coat the pan, waiting until it’s thin and bubbling, but not burning or smoking.

Pan Searing

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