If you’ve ever cooked a steak on an open flame grill, you may have felt a sudden and alarming burst of flame engulfing your steak. Not only can these flare-ups be dangerous, but they can also impact the cooking process. Many factors can trigger flare-ups, from wind to the seasonings on your steaks.
Chef Michael Lomanco of Porter House Bar and Grill recently shared with Tasting Table his tips for avoiding flare-ups and getting the best cooked steak. “Avoid flare-ups, which will happen, by looking for early signs of a flare-up,” says Lamanco. Then, he continues, “Move the steak to a cooler area of the grill or lower the heat on your pan.” You can identify when a flare-up is about to start by watching the flames on your grill. If you notice them getting bigger or shinier, you should follow Chef Lomanco’s advice and move your steak quickly.
One of the sneakiest causes of breakouts can be the seasoning of the steak. To prevent this from happening, Chef Lomanco recommends following a specific order when it comes to your seasoning. “Season with salt before cooking. Avoid pepper until fully cooked, as the pepper will burn while the steak cooks,” says Lomanco. “If you marinate the steak beforehand, be aware that the marinade may cause flare-ups.” To prevent your marinade from causing flare-ups, it is recommended to dry your steaks before grilling to remove moisture from the outer layer.
Read more: 13 Underrated Cuts of Meat You Should Grill
Other ways to avoid breakouts
As mentioned, high winds can easily trigger flare-ups. If you want to grill outside, check the weather in advance so you don’t risk getting caught in a strong breeze while grilling. Keeping a clean grill will also help prevent flare-ups. Stuck on burnt bits, it can easily catch fire and burn your meat. It is recommended to lightly clean your grill after each use and perform a thorough cleaning every six months to maintain optimal cooking conditions.
If you find yourself stuck in a big grill blowout, you can help clear it by temporarily putting the lid down. Fires need oxygen to continue burning, so restricting airflow by lowering your lid will help bring it down slowly. You can safely check if the flare-up is ending by monitoring the flame through your grill’s vents. Once you see it has started to go out, you can safely reopen your grill and resume cooking.