HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


Grill Marks on Steaks at General Consumer Restaurants

I am on deadline and need to confirm or get the correct information on this.

It is my understanding that the grill mark lines at most of the chain type or family steak houses are put there by using a press grill kind of like a Foreman.

Can anyone confirm or tell me how they do get the hatched lines on the steaks?

Thanks, Cyndi

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. All I can tr=ell you is Bonefish Grill does not use a press, just the actual grill the steaks are cooked on.

    2 Replies
      1. re: CyndiA

        one chain doe not an industry standard make, so it's altogether possible (i daresay probable) that your original information was correct for *some* restaurants...though likely not at high-end establishments.

    1. I hear that Outback uses a Sharpie. Unconfirmed, however.

      2 Replies
      1. re: ipsedixit


        Interesting topic for a piece; hope you'll link to it when done (if allowed)...

        1. Sounds like an urban legend. I worked at a chain type place where steaks were served (as a kid). They flipped them.

          Foreman is a machine.

          You might be mistakenly believing a press (to get something to cook quicker) is a marker.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Sal Vanilla

            Actually, I don't know. That's why I bounced it off here. I'm trying to decide how much time to spend on the research. If it's not common to press or brand etc the grill marks, that's fine. I won't spend an hour or so calling and checking. So, it is helpful to hear back either way.

            Thanks for the responses. I've never worked in a restaurant, so I don't know what goes on in the kitchen. Someone mentioned the marks were pressed in (and perhaps they are at this one place). I would not want to pass along misleading data or say something is common which is not.

            1. re: CyndiA

              I don't think that is all too common.

          2. There are high volume electric radiant grills that cook on both sides of the meat simultaneously.
            There are two different types of cooking equipment.. One is a grill and the other is a broiler. These are known as Clamshells or conveyor broilers. While it is possible some chain restaurants may use them...... I would say in reality, most chains actually do not......

            1. http://www.ehow.com/how_2318873_perfe...

              If the cross hatch is perfectly aligned on both sides and on every steak it has been made by machine or a perfectionist grill man!

              4 Replies
              1. re: paulj

                I know Cardinal Meats here in Toronto ( a commercial provider) offers steaks and burgers pre-printed with grill marks. I believe the ink they use is soy sauce.

                1. re: paulj

                  It's so easy to make a cross hatch why would they buy a machine? They only do it on the first side anyway, one minute and turn 90 degrees, I used to enjoy doing it at the chain restaurant I cooked at. One of the more creative things we were allowed to do!

                  1. re: paulj

                    well, grill 100 steaks a day for a while, and behold, the cross hatch is "perfectly aligned" every time. . .

                    not that difficult to do. unless you're in a horrible chain (and even in some horrible chains), a human probably cooked your steak, really!

                  2. As most of the posters replied, I don't think many joints use any type of contraption. I ran a kitchen for a number of years - we woulda laughed at such an idea. Getting nice marks is quite simple, the added cost/work/procedure for such a gadget would make the cooks annoyed at best (the guys I know would've "dropped" it until it didn't work anymore).
                    The only real application I could see is the kitchen not having, but wanting the perception of, using a grill.
                    I did think about getting a small brand with the resaurant's name on it, to brand each steak...having 10 letters and an apostrephre made things difficult and I dropped the idear.

                    1. I'd follow this link and start investigating from the hints there (calling Sysco, for instance). Remember: Google is your friend!


                      1. Many professional Grooved Plate Sandwich Presses will heat above 500 F, more than enough heat to mark and cook steaks and other meats. In many chain operations speed and simplicity is what is most needed. Telling Joey Bagadonuts, to cook the steak for 3 minutes (ding, timer goes off) turn 90 degrees (two week training coarse) and cook 3 more minutes (ding) then plate and pass to finishing station, is reasonable and may be more common than many of us know! Sorry if this info is late....JJ

                        1. One kitchen phrase is "mark 'em and park 'em" Steaks are seared on the grill but finished in the oven. This is a great method for keeping steaks juicy.

                          I think many chains just go from the hot grill to the plate and the marking is not done with a "branding iron" device.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: collardman

                            I think many chains just go from the hot grill to the plate and the marking is not done with a "branding iron" device.
                            The same could be said for most independents as well.

                          2. Just curious...what exactly are you researching and for what purpose?

                            1 Reply