Alton Brown Cooking His Steak With Mayonnaise Is Actually a Genius Hack

It looks delicious
alton brown steak
Left:; Right: Umami Burger

One night this week, Alton Brown was making a nice steak for dinner when he realized that he didn’t have any oil or butter in his kitchen... What to do? What to do? Throw down the knife and go to the store? Heck no! The quick-thinking cook slathered his meat with mayonnaise instead. And while this may seem totally crazy, it's actually totally genius. 

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Since mayo is, by definition, made with oil anyway, the condiment helped the steak cook to a gorgeous caramelized color; it also added flavor from its other ingredients — egg yolk, lemon juice, and vinegar. Although it may seem like a revolutionary idea, substituting mayo for oil or butter is actually a genius hack that’s been around for quite a while. Heck, we'd even call it the secret to grilling the perfect steak!

The comments section was going wild on the “Good Eats” host’s Instagram, with stories of how other people have substituted mayonnaise for oil and butter in their recipes. “When I started dating my now husband in 1989, he 'taught' me how to cook cornbread, which meant using Hellman’s and one egg in the batter instead of oil. It’s delicious,” wrote one commenter.

“It adds flavor and texture to anything you add it to! Only way to make grilled cheese or tuna melts!” added another. Many other people agreed that slathering your bread with mayo while making a grilled cheese sandwich, does create the perfect grilled cheese.

Some people have even been cooking their meat with mayo for years, apparently. “Grandmas secret, surprised you’re surprised?! Sous vide in mayo for 1-2 hours and then sear on an iron skillet,” commented one Instagram user, followed by the drooling face emoji.

This mayo instead of butter “hack” is actually quite popular. The Los Angeles Times ran a piece last year about the benefits of grilling with mayonnaise. “Mayonnaise acts like little time-release oil capsules, and you can put it on thick. And the emulsifiers like to stick to the meat,” Greg Blonder, co-author of “Meathead: The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling,” told the publication. “Mayonnaise is a great release agent for meat, and is particularly helpful for grilling chicken and fish.”

Hopefully Brown will introduce the popular mayo-over-oil swap on his forthcoming series “Good Eats: Reloaded.” The reboot of the popular show will return October 15 on the Cooking Channel. Until then, we’ll be catching up on more tips and tricks, like these restaurant secrets every home cook should know.