Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
Sep 23, 2012 09:35 AM

"Burnt Gas" flavor on steaks and hamburgers?

A recent local review for a new restaurant in Santa Barbara called Maggie's claimed the hamburger had a "burnt gas" flavor.

That finally put a description on a flavor we have been disappointed to find at a number of restaurants in this area when we order their allegedly legendary steaks: Madonna Inn; Hitching Post; Parkfield V Ranch. We did not have this flavor when we went last to Chuck's in SB, which was a relief.

We personally have found this "burnt gas" flavor very off-putting and could not understand why it kept showing up at such otherwise nice establishments up and down the south coast. Finally hearing someone else describe possibly this same thing at yet another restaurant, does anyone else have any similar experiences?

We used to describe it ourselves as more of a propane and/or lighter fluid overlay taste and because of its consistency showing up in so many places, we wondered if it was some sort of local treatment.

And of course, we wonder if this "burnt gas" flavor recently reported is the same odd flavoring we also noticed. Did they brush the steak with liquid smoke or use some sort of smoke flavored salt? Mystery because of its consistency here.

Any insights here ... or are we missing out appreciating this local "flare". (Ahem)

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Doesn't the hitching post grill all their meat over red oak?
    Wood fires can give off that flavor at times for various reasons, especially when the fire is too hot and flame comes into direct contact with the surface of the meat.
    Also, mesquite has a tendency to give more burnt flavors.
    This is one of the drawbacks to grilling over wood.
    Also both grilling over gas and wood can give off burnt flavors if the grills are dirty and they have accumulated too much burnt food residue on the grill surface and below.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Agrippa

      This taste to us goes beyond mere charred, but into the realm of chemical/propane gaseous -- do that sound like anything you have tasted under those wood-fire grilling circumstances?

      I think Chuck's uses gas grills - maybe how it gets grilled then is the cause. I guess we will just have to check how meat is grilled in the future. Thanks for the tips.

    2. I can't say for sure. But i've tasted some burnt 'off' flavors grilling over wood and mesquite.