Marinating is often a great way to infuse food with flavor (even if people typically make a lot of mistakes while doing it), and it's absolutely necessary for something like bulgogi to help break down the meat involved. The problem with marinating, though, is it makes searing much more difficult. Moisture is the enemy of the Malliard reaction (the scientific effect that causes food to brown when exposed to heat), and marinades, by definition, involve a lot of moisture; it's hard for meat to brown when you're fighting through that much liquid.
So, how do you solve this problem? The answer is so simple you may never have thought of it: Marinate your meat after cooking it instead of before. Thanks to the science of how meats absorb liquid relative to heat, this is potentially better for getting your steak to soak up that marinade than putting it on beforehand -- and it doesn't interfere with your delicious, crusty sear.
Read more: The 13 Best Steaks For Grilling
Cooking Meat Forces Liquid To Its Edges
To explain why this works so well, we're going to have to get into thermodynamics. The principle at play here is actually the same reason why resting your meat helps create a juicier, more flavorful product; resting allows the meat to absorb its natural juices back into itself. A lot of people incorrectly believe that this works because exposing meat to high temperatures causes its natural juices to get pushed to the center, and resting allows them time to redistribute.
What's actually happening, though, is the exact opposite: When the fibers in a protein like meat cook, they contract, which forces liquid out of them. Resting thus allows that liquid to move not from the center back outward but from the edges back into the center. That's where post-cook marinating comes in because it is able to use this process to your advantage.
Post-Grill Marinades Make The Science Work For You
When you marinate a steak after it's cooked, it wants to take in the liquid you're exposing it to as the loosening fibers create, in essence, a suction effect within the meat itself. It can be challenging to get meat to fully absorb a marinade when it's raw -- but it's much easier when the meat is already trying to absorb liquid as its fibers expand. Thus, while it seems like marinating your steak after cooking is counterproductive, it's actually a great idea that can save you time and effort. You also taste more of the marinade itself when you do it this way because it's right on the surface of the meat and doesn't get cooked off.
This entire practice is one of the principles of Argentine cooking -- and if you've ever had an Argentine steak, you know why that's a big deal. So give post-grill steak marinades a shot; you might never return to how you did it before.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.