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Grilled steaks- odd instructions

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I was looking at a recipe for grilled steaks with chimichurri on America's Test Kitchen's web site, and they would have me coat the steaks before grilling with a mixture of cornstarch and salt. I coat them with salt and pepper, but have never ever heard of coating with cornstarch, AND they gave no explanation, at least not in the printed part and I lack the patience to watch the video.
Has anybody done this before, or even heard of it?

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  1. Coating meat with cornstarch is a common technique used in oriental cooking, but it's typically cooked in a wok and not on a grill. A light coating of corn starch would absorb the surface moisture on the steak and provide a nice crust. Other than that, I can't come up with a reason to use the coating.

    2 Replies
    1. re: todao

      I saw that episode not long ago and you are correct todao, the cornstarch was instrumental in forming the crust. Who'da thunk it?

      1. re: KSlink

        Do this with a roast duck or chicken as well to get a nice crispy skin.

    2. ATK's Cooks County (this morning) used it in a spice mixture for grilling chicken wings. They said it aids in the skin releasing from the grill - ie, makes a non-stick coating for low-heat grilling.

      1. The cornstarch acts as a drying agent thus aiding in the browning process and dark crust formation.

        1. Chef Morimota on ICA explained that technique of dusting meats with corn starch for a crispier crust. I then started using it for pork cubed steaks that my local S-mart foods sells...and any type of meat that I am browning in a skillet. I usually season the protein...let it sit for a bit and then "dust" it with cornstarch and let it sit on wire racks and it does create a nice crisp crust but it is a technique that requires a lot of patience because you can not leave the skillet untendedor it will burn quickly.