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Grill Marks on Steaks at General Consumer Restaurants

CyndiA Dec 12, 2010 10:34 AM

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. j
    joonjoon Dec 18, 2010 07:51 PM

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

    1 Reply
    1. re: joonjoon
      porker Dec 21, 2010 05:10 AM

      yeah, we wanna know...

    2. c
      collardman Dec 15, 2010 10:26 AM

      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
        fourunder Dec 15, 2010 11:13 AM

        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. c
        Chef Jimmy J Dec 14, 2010 08:42 PM

        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. m
          Muskrat Dec 14, 2010 08:14 PM

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


          1. porker Dec 14, 2010 03:48 AM

            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. paulj Dec 12, 2010 04:18 PM


              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
                Danybear Dec 13, 2010 08:46 PM

                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: Danybear
                  Uncle Yabai Dec 14, 2010 01:46 AM

                  Put on with a Sharpie!

                2. re: paulj
                  coll Dec 14, 2010 02:08 AM

                  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
                    soupkitten Dec 14, 2010 08:04 PM

                    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. f
                    fourunder Dec 12, 2010 03:37 PM

                    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. s
                      Sal Vanilla Dec 12, 2010 03:27 PM

                      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
                        CyndiA Dec 12, 2010 03:57 PM

                        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
                          Sal Vanilla Dec 14, 2010 06:40 PM

                          I don't think that is all too common.

                      2. ipsedixit Dec 12, 2010 01:56 PM

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

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: ipsedixit
                          tatamagouche Dec 13, 2010 05:43 AM


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

                          1. re: ipsedixit
                            CharlieKilo Dec 14, 2010 04:17 PM


                          2. j
                            jla1960 Dec 12, 2010 12:24 PM

                            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: jla1960
                              CyndiA Dec 12, 2010 01:28 PM

                              Thank you!

                              1. re: CyndiA
                                goodhealthgourmet Dec 12, 2010 01:59 PM

                                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.

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