Maximising the Flavour of a steak
Flavour generation is maximised only when a piece of meat reaches over 140°c and Maillard Reactions occur. As temperatures reach 160°c the meat begins to caramelise and subsequently at 200°c it starts to burn.
Skill is involved to manage to fully develop the potential flavours of the meat without reaching pyrolysis. Some charring is desired and popular but can easily lead to a burnt unappetising steak.
A chemical process between amino acids and reducing sugars that gives browned food its desirable flavour.
1. The carbonyl group on a sugar reacts with a protein or amino acid’s group – produces glycosylamine.
2. The glycosylamine isomeries to give a ketosamine.
3. The ketosamine reacts to produce a range of different products.
In simplistic terms: Heat + Sugars + Proteins = Best flavour
To achieve the development of complex flavours that we all find delicious, the steak should be able to reach the optimal temperature during cooking. In the case of steaks they need to be cooked on a very high heat for a short time in order to allow the surface to go above 140°c and start to brown. Without this the end result can be bland and largely tasteless.