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Food · March 11, 2015

One Food Expert Claims We've Been Cooking Our Steaks All Wrong

Yes, gentlemen, the steak game has changed forever. While cooks have long been encouraged to flip a steak only once (supposedly, to produce a better sear), a recent Gear Patrol interview with food scientist Harold McGee confirmed that this is a myth.

Instead, McGee recommended the "fast flipping" technique, which not only takes less time, but produces a steak that's more evenly cooked. Experts are still debating the optimal flipping frequency, but the general consensus is that meat should be flipped every 45-60 seconds.

The reasoning behind this is pure thermodynamics. To quote J. Kenji Lpez-Alt of Serious Eats: "By allowing each side to cool for a few moments after being heated for a few moments, the intense temperature gradient that can build up near the surface of the steak has time to dissipate. Some of that heat energy is released back into the air, while some of it dissipates into the steak. In either case, it rescues the outer layers from cooking more than they absolutely need to.

In the end, every man is entitled to his own opinion, and a laid-back griller may flip less often in favor of conversation. But for those of us who pride ourselves on a perfectly cooked sirloin, things may be forever changed.

Read the full article here for more "fast flipping" science, and a play-by-play guide to cooking the perfect steak.


Nathaniel Nagy

Copywriter, cold brew advocate, purveyor of handcrafted birthday haikus since 2009.