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What is with the grill marks?


heidih
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It struck me recently that there seems to be a bizarre emphasis on having perfect cross-hatched grillmarks; particularly on chicken breast. A friend gave me some magazines to thumb through today and every piece of allegedly grilled protein looks like it was branded with something like diamondplate. I have seen it in frozen prepared foods that I am sure never saw a grill. Have you noticed this? Do you care about grill marks?

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I think it is all about marketing. If it looks perfect it must taste perfect. Myself, I don't care about the grill marks. I grill our dinners 2-3 times a week during the summer and I never bother trying to get the diamond pattern. In fact, I normally only flip the meat, chicken, whatever once.

Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

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I always do a diamond on steaks. Because if it looks pretty it tastes better to me. <br /><br />I don't do it on chicken breasts unless cooked SV first. I hate dried breasts which is what I get if I actually cook them on a grill.

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I admit, I'm completely anal about grill marks! If it isn't a perfect 60 degree angle...I wanna throw it out...

I'm a lifelong professional chef. If that doesn't explain some of my mental and emotional quirks, maybe you should see a doctor, and have some of yours examined...

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We used to eat at a great brew pub. But... staffing issues caused a down turn. The last meal we had there we were served 'house made' burgers. They had 'diamond' grill marks on one side, looked like an expanded metal home made grill, and straight on the other. Oh, and they wrapped up the sides of the patty. :wub::laugh:

Edited by pyrguy (log)

Dwight

If at first you succeed, try not to act surprised.

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I don't really care about the grill marks, maybe because to me "grilled" should signify grilled over charcoal or wood, and grill marks obtained any other way are "cheating." A silly prejudice but there you go.

I have heard a rumor though that steak houses "code" the doneness into the marks, eg single marks means the steak is rare, cross-hatched at a certain angle means medium and so on. Can anyone in the industry confirm/deny this?

This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

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Awesome. So what's the code? Or is it a trade secret?

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This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

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When there used to be hundreds (thousands?) of Howard Johnson roadside restaurants, I was told by someone who worked in the processing plant that grill stripes were essentially "pained" on the burger patties before being shipped to restaurants, Don't know whether that was actually true, but sounds right.

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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Was always fascinated by the crosshatch grill marks on the steaks at Mr Mikes when I was a kid - and you could see the steaks lined up on the grill, so they definitely weren't painted on. I thought the cooks must be rather special to get those marks so perfect. Oh, the excitement of the self-serve salad bar, foil wrapped potatoes and grill-marked steaks!

These days they strike me as sweetly retro.

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Why just rectangular marks?

dcarch

Strip steak, garlic scapes, couscous.

I was secretly anticipating your entry into this conversation. I've had my eye out for some time for a branding iron for my steaks, just for the halibut.

PastaMeshugana

"The roar of the greasepaint, the smell of the crowd."

"What's hunger got to do with anything?" - My Father

My eG Food Blog (2011)

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