Jacques Pépin: How to Mark a Grilled Steak

One of the many things that apartment-dwelling cooks have to live with is that we often can’t grill whenever we’d like. Some of us may have access to communal grills–as I currently do now. However, ours isn’t always well-maintained so that when I am in the mood to grill, I have to factor in additional time to make sure the grill is as clean as I want before getting started. Or I’m sharing space with someone else and our food is crowding up the grates jockeying for space. Thankfully the trusty grill pan satisfies nearly all needs. There won’t be flames licking at the surface of the food, but it’s a good compromise for achieving the look and cooking method… and you get to do it in air-conditioned comfort!

About the only thing I keep having trouble with is getting that nice cross-hatch grill mark pattern on the food. For some reason, I never turn at quite the right angle, or flip in the right direction and often just settle for the single diagonal stripe approach rather than mess up the look. Sure, the food still tastes great, but sometimes you do want to show off just a little. And last weekend while catching an episode of Essential Pépin devoted to beef, Jacques briefly went through the steps of getting the perfect pattern… in a grill pan!

I tried this last night with some chicken and lamb and wasn’t completely successful. I think I this way‘d when I should have this way‘d, or something, but I’ll keep working at it. Grillmasters out there: leave a comment and let me know your best technique for grill marks?

The entire episode and some recipes are online at KQED.org and it’s worth watching even if you’re just a fan of cooked meat. So to modify his usual sign off, “Happy Grilling!

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