A perfectly cooked, browned piece of meat is easy to achieve if you avoid these mistakes.

The first mistake is trying to sear meat over heat that’s too low. The inside of your steak or chicken will cook at the same rate as the outside, resulting in very little browning and a gray, overcooked piece of beef. To get a good sear, you need a burst of heat so that the proteins in the meat cook quickly. Crank the heat up to medium-high or high and let your pan get hot. Add a skim of oil and then add the meat.

Another common mistake is turning meat too often or too soon. The more you prod and turn the meat, the more liquid comes out of it. Plus, it won’t be in one place long enough to get brown. If you’re not sure whether a chop or steak is ready to be flipped, nudge it or use tongs to lift a corner. When the outside of the steak is sufficiently browned, it will release from the pan easily. If it sticks, let it continue to cook and try again in a minute or so.

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