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Sealing Meat

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#1 cappers

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Posted 19 October 2002 - 02:10 AM

Hi Heston

Just a quick question about sealing meat. What is the secret of sealing meat ? Its always a tough one, especuially when youre trying to cook the perfect sirlion/ fillet steak.
PS- did u ever try out that cafe de apris recipe I gave you last year ?

#2 Heston Blumenthal

Heston Blumenthal
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Posted 21 October 2002 - 02:31 AM

Hello Omar,

I am sorry, I haven't tried your recipe yet.
In fact I am a little embarrassed to say that I haven't got it any more. Can you let me have a copy again and I will give it a go.

I think that the term "Sealing" is wrong as it suggests that juices are going to be held in the meat by doing this.
There is no way that you can hold juices in a piece of meat by creating a crust on the outside.

Imagine a piece of meat as a wet sponge. As the temperature of the meat tissue rises, the proteins contract and eventually contract so much (think about scrambled egg) thsat they force the juices out of the meat, much like squeezing a sponge.

This will happen whether or not the meat as been browned.

In fact, on the discovery series, Peter and I made a test with three pieces of steak, same weight same cut from the same animal and hung for the same time.
We weighed the pieces and browned all of them. We then cooked the three pieces to rare, medium and well done.
The well done steak had lost over one third of its' weight while the rare one had lost very little.

Browning does however have an important role to play; it adds flavour and under certain conditions will allow you to make a great sauce with the juices left in the pan.

Harold McGee came up with a great way of cooking steak. Basically, you place the steak in a hot frying pan and cook it, flipping every fifteen seconds. This way a nice crust forms but the heat never stays long enough to do too much damage to the inside of the meat.
Heston Blumenthal
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