HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


Those Little Burnt Things That Taste So Good

I was eating a grilled cheese sandwich and there were some burnt drippings still attached and they were just so tasty, it made me think of what else tastes really good when slightly burnt. Here are some I've come up with... Parmesan, mozzerella cheese, (many cheeses for that matter), the crisp fat on the edge of a chop, those tiny crispy bits left after eating a bag of french fries,gribenes the little pieces left over after rendering chicken fat. Poultry skin, anything else? The only bad thing is 98% of them are really bad for you...

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. The little black flecks and specks on roasted peppers and tomatoes. I like them, anyway. :)

    1. In addition to burnt fat there's burned sugar -- toasted marshmallows, creme brulee, burnt sugar caramels, etc.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Ruth Lafler

        I once tried roasting a peep. The sugar outside got so hot, I burnt my mouth on it. Beware!

          1. re: pdxgastro

            You are familiar with dueling peeps in microwave ovens, I presume?

            1. re: Ruth Lafler

              I liked burnt marshmallows so much that I roast them twice. Roast til dark (if they catch fire, even better), give them a moment to cool, slip that skin off and pop it in your mouth. Stick the gooey marshmallow innard back over the fire and let it burn too, then eat the whole thing. I've been doing this since I was a kid. Mmm.....

            2. I like my brussel sprouts really pretty dark, and roasted chickepeas you really want crispy skins. I actually made a whole tray of just the chickpea skins for a snack (the rest went into some hummus). I pretty much think most of the roasted vegetable category (carrots, parnips etc taste better really dark).

              1 Reply
              1. re: melpy

                Yes, I'll eat the blackened leaves off sprouts.

              2. The little burnt pieces of roasted cauliflower- yum yum

                1. slightly burnt cheese is my fave.

                  1. The crunchy, pan-sticking bits in paella. I think the word is socarrat.


                    2 Replies
                    1. re: UnderemployedInNYC

                      Add this to my list! I adore the paella bits. Also the Persian rice bits are good if you get them.

                      1. re: melpy

                        +2 yeah the Crispy, on the edge of cooking pot, crunchy layer of rice! And sugar, as well as dark roux.

                    2. I ,too, love the flavor of little burnt pieces of onion, potato chips, cheese, pretty much any food that you can burn, I love the flavor of it. Roasted grape tomatoes that get all blackened...mmmmmm.....burnt bacon.....mmmmmm. Maybe burnt popcorn, not so much, kind of bitter, but sheesh, think about it...burnt sugar...mmmmmm...list goes on and on.
                      OH! And on the rare occasion that my mom made a pork roast...she would always fasten sliced onion to the outside of the roast...and the slices would blacken and be flavored with the pork fat...OMG, were those ever unbelievably luscious!

                      1. The little specks of coating from fried chicken that fall off and get just short of burnt... so crispy and good!
                        +1 on the burnt sugar, especially what is left on the pan after I make cinnamon buns.

                        1. The burnt pieces of rice in the Korean dish that I cannot for the life of me spell. But you all know the one: it comes in a very hot, stone-like bowl and has a raw egg on top. (I feel like a total idiot now!)

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: ttoommyy

                            dolsot bibimbap would be my spelling take on it- whatever looks phonetically correct :-)

                            1. re: liveloveat34

                              I know this post is old but hey - yes, the dish is called that, and the burnt rice bit is called noo roong ji. My husband always laughs when it's served in warm water at the end of the meal - "Koreans' idea of a dessert! Fabulous."

                          2. My fave is the burnt bits you can scrape up from frying porkchops. Yum! Also those little tiny bits left in the bottom of french fry containers, I really like those too. My DH calls the french fry bits "garflicks." I have no idea why he calls them that but when I asked him first time, he said quite seriously, well, because thats what they are. lol!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Joyfull

                              The charred fat on a grilled porterhouse, slapped between two pieces of bread with ketchup.

                            2. i like burnt rice, just the bits that stick to the bottom of the pot. actually i always burn it on purpose lol...

                              the crispy edge of a fried skate wing is also nice.

                              1. How about the crispy burnt edges of char siu? When I lived in Hong Kong I would always ask for the edge bits. The burnt edges of just about any barbecued food are dynamite and very popular -- many barbecue joints across the US sell the "burnt ends" separate from the rest! :)

                                3 Replies
                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                    +1...totally love the burnt pieces from the bbq pork and duck and sausages and the roast pork....and crap, that totally reminds me of the pictures that fmed posted about chinese roast pork over on the BC board...need to go back, have a look and drool some more...

                                    1. re: bdachow

                                      on the asian theme, i love teh crisp bits left in the pan after making potstickers. kind of a mix of starch and fat, i think.

                                1. Burnt edges (or end piece) of prime rib

                                  Burnt salmon skin

                                  1. I have a terrible habit of roasting green and yellow beans to within an inch of their life. My favorite ones get burned until they're almost black and take on a styrofoamy texture, but the ones that are just golden brown are nothing to complain about either!

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Jetgirly

                                      Snow peas are good that way too!

                                    2. Crispy edges of the dressing sticking out the turkey.
                                      I always cut any kind of grilled sandwich with cheese in half so the cheese can run out and burn. Rubens with the cheese and kraut burning on the pan-delicious.

                                      1. The crunchy slightly burnt tail of a whole fried catfish...yum.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Veggo

                                          OMG yes! A great memory from childhood in Atlanta.

                                        2. I opened a box of round Melba toasts recently and they were all burnt..but soo good!

                                          1. I actually like my bacon to be burnt crispy in some parts and soft and chewy in others. It's all about the textural contrast.

                                            1. I always slightly burn my roast pumpkin - yummy.

                                              1. After you nuke a tray of Stouffers mac & cheese, stir it a little and nuke it again. Now you'll get a few interesting little chunks and delicious edges.

                                                7 Replies
                                                1. re: Veggo

                                                  I love the overcooked/burnt corners of a Stouffers tuna casserole...yum!

                                                  1. re: scarsdalesurprise

                                                    It's the turkey tetrazzini for me. That's why I don't MW them :)

                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                      Likewise their spinach soufle. Although Stouffer's dumbed down the recipe over the years with more slime and less fluff, the crusties are still good.

                                                      1. re: Veggo

                                                        I hadn't had the spinach souffle in years until recently (trying to get elderly MIL to eat anything green). Dang, it's tasty. And, yeah, it's not done til the crusties appear.

                                                        1. re: Veggo

                                                          My gosh - reading through this thread is just reminding me of all my food quirks!
                                                          One of them is I used to burn the heck out of my Smart Ones Chicken Oriental and Szechuan Chicken dinners... I would nuke them until the rice or noodles were completely crispy...the flavor intensified so much - the whole thing was just all different tastes and textures and really quite delicious..It was all so dry and crispy that I wouldnt eat it with a knife and fork - I would just sort of pick off bits and break pieces off!
                                                          This was done entirely when I was alone as it would freak DH out!
                                                          I miss it.
                                                          I dont have a microwave at the moment and this technique doesnt quite work when done in the oven for some reason....

                                                          1. re: NellyNel

                                                            LOL! NellyNel, i haven't eaten one of those frozen meals since college, but i went through a phase when i practically lived on some sort of Smart Ones Chicken dinner with rice - i assume it was the Chicken Oriental but it's been so many years that i can't remember now. anyway, my favorite way to prepare it was to overcook the heck out of it and then douse the entire thing in red wine or rice wine vinegar :)

                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                              Glad to know I'm not the only one!!
                                                              (I can't quite understand the vinegar bit - but hey!)

                                                  2. I eat anything burnt, my SO thinks I'm nuts.

                                                    My favourite is burnt rice, and when I line the bottom of my rice stuffed grape leaves with chard stems which get burnt (or even if I skip this and the actual grape leaves on the bottom burn up) YUMM!

                                                    Any roasted veg is fine with me too, cauliflower comes to mind, broccoli too.

                                                    Good stuff.

                                                    1. I lost track of my roasted garlic last night. Most of it was too burned to mash. I wasn't sad *at all*.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: onceadaylily

                                                        I also like the bitterness of burntish garlic! ...Like little garlic chips

                                                      2. Hot dogs! I like mine almost black. The rest of the family thinks I'm crazy. Agree with LauraGrace on the burnt ends of bbq. Oh & a really dark crispy pork skin mixed with a melt in your mouth piece of roasted pork dipped in mojo. That could be the last bite of my life & I'd die a happy woman!

                                                        5 Replies
                                                        1. re: jcattles

                                                          Ditto on those hot dogs - I thought I was the only one!

                                                            1. re: BobB

                                                              Definitely NOT alone on the hot dogs! The browner the better!

                                                              1. re: LauraGrace

                                                                YES YES YES on the burnt hot dogs, gotta be grilled too...and the peeps post above--how did we all miss burnt MARSHMALLOWS? Delectable!!! Well, I was sort of close with the burnt sugar...hee hee!

                                                                1. re: Val

                                                                  Here here on burnt hot dogs....

                                                                  We have a gas stove and so oftern I will roast marshmellos over a burner...just love the burnt sugar gooeyness

                                                                  I am so loving this thread!

                                                          1. I think it would be quicker to name things that are never good with burnt edges. You'd have to think of things you wouldn't cook over charcoal.

                                                            Scrambled eggs?

                                                            1. Call me crazy, but I relish the few pieces of burnt popcorn that inevitably get stuck to the pan.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: cuccubear

                                                                You're not crazy, people who don't like this are.

                                                              2. Michele Cindy,

                                                                I would like to add to the list the burnt carmel and dark rum sauce which comes with top-notch flan. It sets off the creamy, eggy, milky, sweet flavor of the flan wonderfully. Unlike most burnt creations, the burnt sugar flavor of the carmel and dark rum sauce is made that way on purpose.

                                                                1. I loved the burnt edges of Lasagna!!! when the pasta gets all crunchy ...mmmm baked ziti too!
                                                                  But yes allot of things taste so good burnt - fat, sugar, cheese..mmmmmmmmm

                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                  1. re: NellyNel

                                                                    Ditto on the lasagna! That's the best part.

                                                                    1. re: NellyNel

                                                                      ditto on the burnt baked noodles. mac n cheese, kugel, tuna casserole...

                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                        Now you're talking! My childhood in a nutshell!

                                                                      2. re: NellyNel

                                                                        Yummy burnt chewy pasta/sauce/cheese bits! Love 'em!

                                                                      3. Everything above but I haven't seen roasted sweet potatoes or brussel sprouts yet.

                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                        1. re: chowser

                                                                          Thanks for reminding me...roasting fresh brussel sprouts, I love the crispy charred leaves that fall off...better than potato chips.

                                                                          1. re: cuccubear

                                                                            Oh I've never had burned BS - but yet another reminder that I love burnt spinach!
                                                                            - Tastes just like potato chips!!
                                                                            I went through a phaze where I'd roast some grape tomatoes (drizzeld w/ olive oil) till they were pretty well done, then I'd cover them with spinach, drizzle some more OO then roast some more until the spinach was burned and crispy - the contrast of the nutty tasting Spinach and sweet tomatoes was fantastic! (another one I enjoyed solely on my own!!)

                                                                            1. re: NellyNel

                                                                              That actually sounds quite good. I roast grape tomatoes with sliced onions or shallots. Maybe next time I'll top with some spinach.

                                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                                oh it is - but you have to watch it because it's a really fine line and a quick moment between crisp and nutty - to completely black and charred and not good!!
                                                                                In fact you can burn the spinach on the stove top You can still get it nice and crispy and do your tomatoes in the oven - it's a bit easier to control

                                                                                1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                  The delicate Art of Over-Cooking…I love it!

                                                                                  1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                    You reminded me of the comedian who told his wife that a smoke alarm is not a timer.

                                                                          2. Before I got married and my wife took over the popcorn cooking, I'd cook some popcorn, pour off about 3/4's in a bowl, and burn the rest. It tastes so good with some salt and melted butter. I had a special pot that I used for this, as it was ruined for any other cooking.

                                                                            1. my favorites:
                                                                              - the slightly burned edges of hash browns & home fries
                                                                              - charred brussels sprouts, fenel, cauliflower, broccoli
                                                                              - just-barely-burned English muffin or bagel with plenty of butter
                                                                              - brownie edges
                                                                              - charred, blistered thin pizza crust

                                                                              we had a lot of fun with this topic a while back, so i dug up the thread:

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. I'm not sure how many people will agree with me on this one, but peanut butter cookies. I like them cooked properly, but I always burn one batch a little bit just for myself.
                                                                                Anything grilled. Mostly chicken with barbecue sauce and hot dogs.
                                                                                My mother always loved everything burnt. I hated that she'd butter her toast over the butter dish and leave little black bits in it. Made for interesting baked potatoes that evening. Yuck!

                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                1. re: Driftbadger

                                                                                  I had a friend decades ago who would bring me her slightly burned peanut butter cookies. I almost actively dislike them if they're NOT a little burned.

                                                                                  1. re: Driftbadger

                                                                                    I definitely agree with you on the black-bottom PB cookies!

                                                                                  2. Oh, gribnes. I'd forgotten all about it. Waiting while my mother rendered the chicken fat, added the onions. Yum.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: ola

                                                                                      Oh, my, my grandfather used to bring a bag on the bus with him from Brooklyn to upstate NY. The bag was soaked with grease and none of the gribenes ever made it to the house. The crunchier, the better. My mom and I finished it in the car (along with a bagel or bialy).

                                                                                    2. Wheat Thins!! some boxes are slightly more toasted (burnt edges) than others. when i get a box that looks anemic, i put them on a cookie sheet and in the oven they go!

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: liveloveat34

                                                                                        I love the burnt edges of Triscuits!
                                                                                        I always get excited when I dig out a good one and nibble off the burnt edge first!

                                                                                        I never thought to toaste 'em! hmmm

                                                                                      2. Forgive me if already mentioned. I love slighty burnt popcorn, I like steaks and burgers a little burnt on the outside, I like my grilled cheese with a nice healthy burn, hot dogs... I guess I like a lot of things burned.

                                                                                        1. burned as in severely browned, not carcinogen char... broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, chayote, zucchini, carrots... most veggies anyway... and often i'm so gauche and throw them in a ziploc and toss them in the microwave... easiest way to get that brown burn... heaven.

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: Emme

                                                                                            When does severe brown become carcinogenic?

                                                                                          2. The roasted (Burnt) onions and potatoes done in the pan with the beef roast.

                                                                                            1. Burnt ends of roasted beef
                                                                                              Ham Crackling ...what could be better
                                                                                              Burnt Popcorn!!!!
                                                                                              Burnt roasted eggplant
                                                                                              Egg Whites, I love to cook them super crispy
                                                                                              Garlic chips

                                                                                              1. I love to eat the burned residue from fondue, raclete and the bottom of any cream soups.

                                                                                                Burn cheese in any form is great, as is the slight brown bits in the middle of overdone microwave bag popcorn. I'm probably the only person who looks for burned potato chip, but the optical sorters now in use have eliminated these discoveries. Ive never had a burned Tricuit but it sounds amazing.

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: Kelli2006

                                                                                                  Nope, I claim all burnt potato chips when ever a bag is opened. They are mine!!!

                                                                                                2. Yes to all- I was hungry anyway, now my stomach is growling. I want an omelette with cheese that runs out the side and burns a little...

                                                                                                  1. Another one - the burnt, charred, crispy, crackly potato skin roasted in campfire.

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: cuccubear

                                                                                                      I was windering when someone'd say baked potatoes, Russets with the skin extra crispy and brown. swooooon. Even in a toaster oven!

                                                                                                      And corn or flour tortillas lightly charred in a heavy skillet. Gotta have char.

                                                                                                      Oh--and corn on the cob, slow roasted on the BBQ till the kernals are dry and brown, they pop right off the cob whole and into your mouth. No butter or other "dressing" needed. Thank you, the late Sr. Valdez of Gonzales/Chualar, Ca for introducing me to that delicacy.

                                                                                                    2. almost forgot "burnt" roasted kalel

                                                                                                      burnt roasted cilantro

                                                                                                      1. I love the burnt ends when I smoke brisket. I usually cook the big packer and trim off the point when the flat is done. Then put the point back on the smoker for another 4 hours or so. Burnt ends are the best part!

                                                                                                        1. I almost always semi-burn the onion (deliberately) when sautéeing it - I prefer the flavor to onions cooked until softened but not colored the way you're usually supposed to. I find them too sweet that way. Started doing this when I started cooking Indian food a la Madhur Jaffrey with the thinly-sliced onions you fry dark in oil to add to some dishes and to use as a garnish. Yum yum.

                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                            yes, yes buttertart...thinly sliced & fried shallot also for Indian dishes...sooooo delish if charred or burnt...<pupils dilating>

                                                                                                          2. -The crispy edges of a pan of brownies;
                                                                                                            -Well-roasted Hatch chile (But then again, I'm an ex-pat New Mexican, so that's practically required by law);
                                                                                                            -The slightly burny crispy bits on a corn tortilla when you make enchiladas;
                                                                                                            -The well-charred edges of a good ribeye steak
                                                                                                            -And yes, I'll have to go with the slightly burnt popcorn as well.

                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                            1. While I like meat rare, the very ends of london broil are scrumptious when burned. Anything that sticks to the bottom of a pan is delicious. The harder it has to be scraped, the better it is!

                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                              1. re: samsaulavi

                                                                                                                Onions browed to the max in fresh duck fat,
                                                                                                                then sprinkled with a bit of salt. :) YUM

                                                                                                              2. Bread Pudding (= Bread and Butter Pudding in the UK)

                                                                                                                Pork rinds ( = scratchings)

                                                                                                                Roast potato bits

                                                                                                                Rice pudding skin

                                                                                                                The crispy garlicky bits after I slow roast lots of garlic in oil. (Making garlic olive oil)

                                                                                                                Burnt edges of slow smoked meat - such as pulled pork.