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How to Achieve a Perfect Sear on Meat

You know that crisp, caramelized crust that comes on a steak or a pork chop at a restaurant? You can get equally impressive results at home. Here’s how.

By Lygeia Grace
Steak pan illoOlivier Kugler

Step 1: Thirty minutes before you plan to cook, take the meat out of the refrigerator so it can come to room temperature. Then pat it dry with a paper towel. (Don’t rinse it or you’ll risk spreading bacteria from the raw juices into your sink.)

Step 2: Get your skillet good and hot—a drop of water should sizzle on the surface. (Avoid nonstick pans, which don’t brown adequately.) Add a splash of oil. Season the meat just before adding it to the pan; do it any sooner and the salt will pull juices from the meat.

Step 3: Cook the meat and wait until it releases easily from the pan before turning it. The meat will release once a nice crust has formed. Don’t tug: If there is any resistance and the meat sticks to the pan, let it cook for an additional minute before checking again.

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Aluminum foil and plastic wrap in a drawer

The flan can be baked up to 3 days in advance; refrigerate, loosely covered with plastic wrap. Unmold just before serving.