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Chef and author Adam Perry Lang tells NPR’s “Splendid Table” that too many chefs are obsessed with grill marks, when what they should really focus on is the crust across the entire surface of the cut of meat. That crust is caramelization, and caramelization is big flavor.
Perry appeared on the program to promote his new book, Charred & Scruffed. We’ve pulled the best three tips from his interview.
- Season meats going on the grill about ten minutes before you start cooking. Unlike cooking in a pan, where you can season just before you add the meat to the heat, a grill will burn off the freshly applied season. Giving salt and pepper or a salt-based rub time to sit on the surface of the meat ”creates this glaze on the outside of the meat,” Lang said. “That’s one of the keys to creating this beautiful crust.”
- Flip early, flip often. Traditionally, we’ve been taught to limit the number of times we turn meat on the grill. Perry says he’s “constantly” flipping and basting with an herb brush. “I’m flipping it, constantly developing the crust, not drying it out, and also tempering the heat to go evenly through,” he said.
- Scruff meat before cooking. Lang lightly scores the surface of the meat which creates more surface area. The end result? “(A)ll kinds of nooks and crannies for a crust to develop: places where a baste or sauce could cling for extra flavor.”
Find out more and try a Recipe from Lang’s book: Rib Roast Done Like a Steak.