The Honey Trick For Getting Top-Notch Grill Marks

Making great food is about more than just taste; in many ways, the food's appearance plays just as important a role. In terms of grilling, this means achieving perfect charring or browning along with classic grill lines, and fortunately, one common ingredient will dramatically improve these marks: honey.

The process is as simple as adding a bit of honey to your marinades for meat, vegetables, or other grillable items. You won't need much, though it's hard to overdo it — you can add as much honey as desired to develop uniquely sweet flavors that deliciously contrast your food's salt, pepper, and other savory spices.

To understand why honey creates such great grill marks, it's important to consider how these marks are made. They're more than just the grill's heat charring the food. While this contact between the item and the grill grate is necessary, contact alone often isn't enough for truly well-defined lines. Instead, grill marks rely in part on the Maillard reaction, in which proteins and sugars (like those in honey) exposed to high, direct heat transform into deeply browned, flavorful spots on the surface. This reaction occurs much more intensely at the points where the food touches the grate, creating restaurant-quality grill marks.

Additional secrets for the best steak

While this technique is an important "cheat code" for incredible-looking steaks, pork chops, vegetables, and more, the truth is that getting perfect crosshatch marks on your steak is easier than you think. To start, set up a grill with a hot zone for searing and a more moderate zone for extended cooking. Visualize the grill as a clock, and lay the steak on the grill's "hot zone" facing 10 o'clock. Then, after a few minutes, rotate the steak to face 2 o'clock. When performed carefully, this method results in a flawless crosshatch. You can repeat this on the steak's opposite side before finishing it over on the medium-heat section.

Even if you achieve perfect grill marks, there are still a few common mistakes people make when grilling steaks, so don't let those hard-earned lines go to waste. Remember not to flip the meat too frequently, and allow it to rest for a few minutes before slicing so the juices can distribute evenly. The next time you're hoping to make a steak that looks as good as it tastes, reach for the jar of honey and enjoy those crisp, classic grill marks.