Is it true that meat must be “sealed” during cooking?


Is it true that meat must be “sealed” during cooking?

Sealing the meat at the beginning of cooking means browning it, but retaining the juices is not the reason for this step.

Seal the meat on all sides, to ensure that the juices remain inside and remain soft when cooked . How many times have you read or heard this sentence? Well, from now on you are allowed to forget it. By sealing we mean the quick browning or blanching of the external surface of a piece of meat , a process by which a crust is created that should allow all liquids to be kept inside.

As the chemist and scientific popularizer Dario Bressanini explains well , history tells that the inventor of this technique was a chemist in the first half of the nineteenth century, the famous Justus Von Liebig , creator – among other things – of a meat extract of the same name. In 1847, in his book Researches on the chemistry of food, Von Liebig enunciated the theory of sealing , referring to the technique of cauterizing wounds. And, given his fame as a scientist, the theory was readily accepted even by cooks, so the myth of sealing began to spread.

In fact, already about fifty years later, this theory was undermined by empirical evidence . Indeed, with the high temperatures of the seal, it was clearly demonstrated that the loss of internal juices increased rather than decreased . Despite this, the myth of sealing still survives today. Because? Bressanini still maintains – and with him a whole plethora of other insiders – that the fault is again attributable to chemistry, more precisely to the Maillard reaction , the one that produces small tasty molecules, for which the initial browning forms the brown crust. and tasty.

Sealing, therefore, is not in itself a mistake and has its advantages, if what we want to achieve is a good taste. If, on the other hand, we are struggling because we want to retain liquids, we are definitely wrong process. The internal juiciness, in fact, will depend only on the cooking temperature reached .


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