I bet you’ve read that in many recipes, meat must first be “sealed” in order to cook properly and retain its flavor. The purpose of sealing the meat is to trap the broth in the meat. And as a result of this process, it is to ensure that the meat is like Turkish delight in the folk language.
But does this really work? Or is the goal really to seal the meat?
According to an article written by Riccardo Meggiato on 14 July 2015; “Sealing of meat occurs by rapid cooking of meat at high temperature in a frying pan or grill. This event is related to the closing of the pores on the meat. In reality, this process exposes the meat to high temperatures, resulting in a reaction we call the “maillerd reaction.” With this reaction, the aromas in the meat are revealed by the effect of high temperature. And the sugar and amino acids in the meat cause us to taste more. In fact, the process we call sealing is the same as for roasted coffee and caramelized onions. This was revealed by a French scientist in the early 1900s. This must be the reason why hamburger patties have such a sweet taste. Especially if there is both caramelized onions and hamburger patties in it, don’t you think you get a sweeter taste too!
Of course, there is another interesting thing about this subject… It is possible to say that this meat sealing concept dates back to 350 BC. The first person to discuss this issue was Aristotle. Later, in the 19th century, Justus von Liebig confirmed this idea of Aristotle with his studies on agricultural chemistry and biochemistry.
In fact, Liebig claimed that meat was dehydrated by immersing it in cold water and then cooking it. Rather, by placing the meat in boiling water, a barrier is created that keeps the flavors inside the meat. In the following years, experiments in laboratories showed us that this sealing process to preserve meat flavors is a myth.
Alright; Flavor? Is it health?
Yes, if we look at it from a different point of view, the formation of carcinogenic agents dangerous for human health in meat is accelerated by high-temperature processes such as sealing.
By coating the meat, it can be made into meatballs, schnitzel, fish pan, etc. As a result of cooking in hot oil and high heat, it causes the formation of dangerous compounds in terms of human health. This reaction does not occur in meat cooked with the boiled method, which is the healthiest method.
However, carnosine (an amino acid compound found in the muscles), which is naturally found in many tissues such as kidney, heart, and brain, and which is of great importance for human health with its antioxidant feature, is reduced by half in boiled meats due to its water-soluble feature.
For example, in their study on the meat cooking habits of the Argentine people and the risk of bowel cancer, it is suggested that undesirable by-products are formed in grilled and dark browned meat, and that the risk of bowel cancer increases in people who prefer meat cooked by exposure to high temperatures.
Depending on the way foods are prepared, many reactions take place and as a result, new compounds emerge. While some of these compounds are desirable (some aroma compounds), some compounds are undesirable because they adversely affect the consumption of meat (bad flavor) or have negative effects on health.
In short; While the fast and high heat in the dry cooking methods applied to the meat coagulates the surface of the meat, it prevents the meat from losing its water; At the same time, if the temperature-time relationship is not taken into account, it can lose the meat juice, which is an important parameter for meat quality, and cause the meat to be dry and tasteless. In addition, the meat quality is adversely affected by the formation of harmful compounds in meats exposed to high heat for a long time.
It’s all about the consumers!
With the increase in cancer cases in our country and healthy life becoming more important, let’s see which one we consumers will prefer…