When I make steak, I sear it on the grill at high heat, then transfer to a pan of already cooking onions, mushrooms, butter to finish on low. Sometimes I've left it a little too long in the pan and notice sear marks and some of the color has vanished. I notice something similar if I put sautee'd onions directly on top of steak; after a while, the grill marks disappear. Why?

My assumption is maybe there's an acidic compound in the liquid that leeches out of the onions when cooked, essentially washing away the sear marks. Or, perhaps with the butter for the same reasons.

  • Just a guess but onions have layers and layers of cells, so the sear marks may simply melt off of the outside of the onions.
    – Pointy
    Dec 31, 2022 at 18:12
  • 3
    I'd bet it is the moisture/steam that does most of the "removing" of grill marks.
    – gnicko
    Jan 2 at 1:51
  • 1
    @Pointy the grill marks are disappearing from the steak, not the onions.
    – brhans
    Jan 2 at 3:13


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