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Char ground beef?


FeChef
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I am starting to notice a lot of food products with "grilled steak" flavor is popular now. I have tried a few, and i gotta say, they really do taste like a juicy charred steak. Especially when the food product in question is a potato chip. This got me thinking how are they getting this flavor onto that potato chip, and how can I make this flavor so i can add it to my perfectly med rare sous vide steak that always seems to lack that flavor even after throwing it on the searing burner on my grill.

 

My theory is to take ground beef and roll it out on a cookie sheet really thin and blast it under the broiler until it turns black. Then pop it into the oven @ 150F until its completely dehydrated. Then crumble and grind it into powder in the food processor. I am hoping that will come close the that charred/grilled steak flavor.

 

What do you think? Will it create that flavor? Should i maybe mix some liquid smoke into the ground beef first?

 

 

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I seem to recall that flavor essences are created by freeze drying. Also by spectral analysis, then recreating artificially.

 

Your method may work, but it is not used by the flavor industry.

I kind of figured the company's that make the flavor are using some artificial method thats more cost effective. I am just trying to find the most cost effective "real" method. Ground beef seems to be the cheapest approach. I am thinking there needs to be some fat to get that charred effect, and 80/20 sounds like a good ratio, and happens to be the cheapest @ $2.59/lb. But i am totally open to trying other methods if anyone wants to chime in. Im sure there are a few egullet members that have taken a bite out of their perfect sous vide steak and thought this steak would be even better if it had some charred flavor. :smile:

Edited by FeChef (log)
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I remember reading an article in the NY Times about big multinationals doing flavor R&D.  New Jersey rings a bell:

 

NYT - Labs Conjure Up Fragrances And Flavors to Add Allure

 

I'm not sure if that's the exact article I read, and I'm sure there have been many since then.  Anyway, I'm sure everybody is aware of the work that goes into developing a new flavor.  Truly astounding...

So we finish the eighteenth and he's gonna stiff me. And I say, "Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know." And he says, "Oh, uh, there won't be any money. But when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness."

So I got that goin' for me, which is nice.

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The Kraft flavor houses have a large line of "natural grill flavors."

 

I'd bet the flavors are fat soluble. If so, you could absorb  them into maltodextrin which will then be a flavored powder.

 

The grilled steak chips I researched have corn maltodextrin at the base of their seasoning. They also contain MSG, yeast extract, grill flavoring, smoke flavoring, and "natural beef type flavoring."

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I'd bet the flavors are fat soluble. If so, you could absorb  them into maltodextrin which will then be a flavored powder.

Good point! I have a big tub of maltodextrin from my bacon powder experiment.

 

The Kraft flavor houses have a large line of "natural grill flavors."

 

 

The grilled steak chips I researched have corn maltodextrin at the base of their seasoning. They also contain MSG, yeast extract, grill flavoring, smoke flavoring, and "natural beef type flavoring."

I was thinking of "cutting" the charred ground beef powder with MSG and other spices depending on yeild and potency of flavor.

 

Can't wait!!!

 

Grilled medium rare dry aged prime rib flavored tofu. Yummmmm!

 

 

dcarch

You know this interests you! But i have this gut feeling you have some crazy contraption that can char a steak in 30 seconds. Am I wrong? :smile:

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I haven't gotten around to buying any yet but there are ready made smoke powders available..  I am pretty sure I read about it on these forums actually...   Google says TheSpiceHouse carries them in hickory and mesquite

"Why is the rum always gone?"

Captain Jack Sparrow

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I have Durkees Charcoal flavor in my cabinet...It has since been discontinued BUT

If you google Charcoal Seasoning, a lot comes up, like this

 

http://www.americanspice.com/charcoal-seasoning/

All that is, is activated charcoal and some salt,msg,and onion powder. If i was going to buy that crap, i might aswell grind up some hardwood lump charcoal and make my own.

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I'd bet the flavors are fat soluble. If so, you could absorb  them into maltodextrin which will then be a flavored powder.

 

I think this is the most promising strategy, except I wouldn't bother with powdering.  Flavor fat and brush on the steak before searing.

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You know this interests you! But i have this gut feeling you have some crazy contraption that can char a steak in 30 seconds. Am I wrong? :smile:

 

In fact I do. A contraption which is simple and cheap enough that many of you can have one done. 

 

Patio stones at $2.00 each, two long clamps you may already have and a small leaf blower. The one I have in my video takes no time to put together and take apart for storage. I had it hot enough to melt steel and actually turn construction bricks into glass, A steak can be vaporized in seconds if you are not watching.

 

 

dcarch

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In fact I do. A contraption which is simple and cheap enough that many of you can have one done. 

 

Patio stones at $2.00 each, two long clamps you may already have and a small leaf blower. The one I have in my video takes no time to put together and take apart for storage. I had it hot enough to melt steel and actually turn construction bricks into glass, A steak can be vaporized in seconds if you are not watching.

 

dcarch

So this is like a mini Kiln? Whats the purpose of the leaf blower? And what is the fuel/heat source? Trying to understand what i am looking at.

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So this is like a mini Kiln? Whats the purpose of the leaf blower? And what is the fuel/heat source? Trying to understand what i am looking at.

 

The leaf blower supplies forced air to the charcoal fire, it can get the fire to inferno temperature in seconds. As I said, I had use it to melt steel. Put a grill on top, you can char any meat in seconds.

 

dcarch

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The leaf blower supplies forced air to the charcoal fire, it can get the fire to inferno temperature in seconds. As I said, I had use it to melt steel. Put a grill on top, you can char any meat in seconds.

 

dcarch

Ok, so charcoal as fuel, air to keep fuel burning hot. Is a leaf blower really needed, or will a air compressor work?

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Ok, so charcoal as fuel, air to keep fuel burning hot. Is a leaf blower really needed, or will a air compressor work?

An air compress will not work well.

 

A compressor gives you low volume of high pressure air.

 

A blower gives you lower pressure but much higher volume air.

 

More volume = more oxygen = hotter burn.

 

A good hair dryer will well.

 

 

dcarch

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I am starting to notice a lot of food products with "grilled steak" flavor is popular now. I have tried a few, and i gotta say, they really do taste like a juicy charred steak. Especially when the food product in question is a potato chip. This got me thinking how are they getting this flavor onto that potato chip, and how can I make this flavor so i can add it to my perfectly med rare sous vide steak that always seems to lack that flavor even after throwing it on the searing burner on my grill.

 

My theory is to take ground beef and roll it out on a cookie sheet really thin and blast it under the broiler until it turns black. Then pop it into the oven @ 150F until its completely dehydrated. Then crumble and grind it into powder in the food processor. I am hoping that will come close the that charred/grilled steak flavor.

 

What do you think? Will it create that flavor? Should i maybe mix some liquid smoke into the ground beef first?

 

I think you are incorrectly associating the burnt sugar/carbon to the aroma and flavor of the caramelization/Maillard.  Browned meat is very different than burnt meat just as toasted is bread is better than burnt bread and caramel is delicious whereas burnt sugar is not.  By burning the meat (blasting until black) you will essentially make charcoal and the taste is immensely bitter, practically inedible and probably carcinogenic (culture that regularly eat well-done, highly charred meats generally have higher rates of pancreatic cancer).  Toast a piece of bread, burn another one and take the Pepsi challenge.

 

The aroma/flavors that come from grilled items are generated by the caramelization of the natural sugars and the juices that fall onto the coals, not the burnt sugars.  You could always try the broiling of meat and dehydrating, but only cook it until browned.  The notion of black grill marks is cute and likely a vestige of the black & white days, but take a closer look and you will see that darker caramel is what is really going on.  Better yet, you could eat a caramelized piece of meat, then a black one but I think the later would be a waste of protein.

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Baron,

 

If thats true, why does a steak quickly grilled on a really hot flame have so much flavor? Surely a few minutes is not enough time to carmelize a steak? For me its always those burnt parts of the steak with alittle fat on them that taste the best. Maybe my version of a good tasting grilled steak is different then yours.

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I'm with Baron. Burned flavor is bitter and tastes bad. Contrary to FeChef's question, a few minutes is more than enough time to caramelize a piece of meat (or produce Maillard flavors). If a cooking method is sufficient to burn part of a piece of meat, it's sufficient to produce caramelized/Maillard flavors in those parts. Browning reactions happen at a lower temperatures than burning/blackening does. Much of the grilled flavor imparted to meat comes from juice and fat dripping down onto the coals (or other heating element) and then vaporizing and combusting. These flare ups create a meat-based vapor / smoke which wafts up and flavors the meat. You can produce a steak that has great grilled flavor but has very little (if any) blackening. Here's a nice video from ChefSteps on flareups and grilled flavor.

 

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A few minutes is plenty of time to caramelize the surface of the protein (it doesn't flavor it all the way through).  It doesn't take much time to caramelize anything over high heat (like toast or sugar or an apple or tofu or virtually anything) and caramelization occurs before charring.  The grill marks on their own aren't what makes the taste -its the browned meat in between. Consider grilling the steak over a moderate flame for a longer period of time (like a rotisserie) and I am confident that more caramelization on the surface will offer better taste.  

 

Objectively, burnt and black is bitter.  The fat only cuts the bitterness.

 

From Nathan Myhrvold

You might think that raising the temperature even higher would enhance the Maillard reaction. It does up to a point, but above 180 °C / 355 °F a different set of reactions occur: pyrolysis, also known as burning. People typically like foods a little charred, but with too much pyrolysis comes bitterness. The black compounds that pyrolysis creates also may be carcinogenic, so go easy on charring your foods for visual appeal.

 

 

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