Capturing That Grilled Goodness with Chicken Fat
Generations of grillers have been trained to fear flare-ups, but that is misplaced. Certainly you don’t want flames charring your food, but most of the flavor from grilling actually comes from fat drippings, which ignite into flames and then travel back to the food as smoke. If you are quickly reheating precooked food, slow-cooking over coals in tin foil packets, or grilling veggies or other low-fat foods, it’s hard to capture much of this characteristic grilled flavor. An easy work-around is to season your meat and veggies with pressure-rendered fat.
You can use pressure-rendered fat when cooking on gas or charcoal grills, grill pans, or even in tinfoil packets. Just remove the food from the sous vide bag and brush it generously with the fat. Grill meats first, typically for about one minute per side. Then add vegetables and fruit as desired. Leave fruits, such as peaches or pineapple, on the heat long enough that the sugars in them caramelize. Remember, don’t panick when you see small flames flare-up and lick at the food: you want the smoke they generate to carry its flavor onto the food. But do keep a spray bottle on hand in case the flames get too high.
The Modernist Cuisine Team aims to bring scientific understanding to the kitchen.