How to Perfectly Sear Chicken and Meat

This cooking technique takes ones confidence to pull off.  Searing meat is all about building the flavour of the meat.  During the searing process, the surface of the ingredients is cooked until it browns.  The basic role of oil when searing is to create a uniform contact between the ingredients and the pan.  We shall have learnt how to perfectly sear chicken and meat.

What Is Searing?

When using other cooking techniques like grilling, braising, or sautéing the ingredients are moved around the pan, but while searing the surface of the ingredient is left to sear at a high temperature to create a flavour-packed, caramelized, and browned crust. This process is often referred to as “browning.”  The key skill with searing is having the patience to not move the meat or chicken around once it hits the pan. The meat is given an uninterrupted chance to fully brown before turning it to the other side. Note that the meat will lift and separate from the pan when it’s fully ready.

What Is Reverse Searing?

Reverse searing refers to the process of first cooking the meat in a low heat oven and then finishing cooking by searing meat in a hot pan. You difference is that you get to cook the meat first.

What equipment are needed for the Perfect Sear

  1. A cooking pan that conducts and retains heat evenly is crucial to perfect searing of your chicken or meat, a stainless steel pan and  or a cast iron skillet is best for use. It is important to note that a nonstick pan does not function well when searing food and should not be used.  
  • A spatula or thongs are best to use for flipping the meat or chicken cleaning without tearing the crust.
Does one need to Oil the Pan for Searing?

The food you are going to cook will determine your need to oil the pan or not. Ingredients which have a lot of natural oil like bacon will not need you to oil the pan, while ingredients like fish or vegetables will require slight addition of Oil to your Pan.

Tips to perfectly sear your chicken and beef

  • Take the meat out of the fridge hours before searing it to bring it room temperature.  Meat at room temperature is more relaxed a quality that will allow the natural moisture to reabsorb into the muscle.
  • Make sure that your pan is hot enough. This is because high temperatures are needed to get a caramelized and deep browning on the edges of the meat.
  • Avoid nonstick pans for this cooking method and opt instead for stainless steel and cast iron skillets.
  • Avoid overcrowding the pan or use a pan that is large enough to hold all the pieces of meat. Over crowding the pan will lead to a drop in the heat levels of pan which is no good for searing the meat. This will ensure that your pieces of chicken are evenly cooked.
  • Don’t fuse with pieces of chicken or meat in the pan. Try as much as possible to resist the urge to stir  or move the pan just like in the sautéing method. The meat will stick to the bottom of the pan at first but will later unstuck itself as it sears. When the meat releases the pan and it is not sticking any more then it is time to flip it over
  • Remove excess moisture from the meat by patting it down meat with a paper towel to remove surface moisture. This helps to keep the  meat from  steaming instead of browning.

9 Steps on How to sear meat in a stainless steel pan

  1. 1.   Pick your stainless steel pan that is large enough for your meat, to avoid steaming instead of searing. 
  2.  Prep the meat before searing that is if it was in the fridge bring it back to room temperature first. Cut it into desirable and sizable pieces that you intend to cook.
  3. Pat the meat Dry with dry paper towels to get the meat completely dry on the outside.
  4. Season the meat with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.  The seasoning will stick to the surface of your meat and create an amazing crust.
  5. Add a tablespoon of vegetable oil to the pan. This will act as a great conductor in transferring the heat from the pan to the pieces of meat. Oil with a high smoke point is the best to use in this process.
  6. Place the pan on a high temperature source of heat to get it hot.  Preheat the pan over medium to high heat for about 3–5 minutes. When the oil begins to shimmer and moves around the pan like water, then it is ready for searing.
  7. Gently lay the meat into the pan careful not to get burnt. It will start to sizzle and will stick to the bottom of the pan. Leave space of about an inch in between pieces of meat or cook in batches if you need to.
  8. Once you have placed the meat in the pan leave the meat undisturbed and give it a few minutes to develop a perfect crust. Shake the pan a little after a few minutes if is releases the pan then it is ready to be flipped over.
  9. Give the other side ample time to sear and form a perfect crust too, follow your recipe for the next steps accordingly.

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