Possibly, this is a rather trivial question, but I've not yet found any good explanation.

Whether I cook a steak for bacon, as long as it is red meat, the ground of the pan fills with a brown sediment, similar to this picture.

What's that? As for bacon, I heard that some people even collect the flavored grease.

  • Welcome to Seasoned Advice! Note that questions on health and nutrition are mostly off-topic here.
    – Stephie
    Feb 27, 2016 at 20:15
  • 1
    Hello Xiphias, and welcome! Stephie is right, healthiness is off topic, and we don't want questions to even invite a discussion about it. Your main question is fully OK, but I removed half a sentence just in case somebody took it as an opportunity to start a health discussion.
    – rumtscho
    Feb 27, 2016 at 20:26
  • @rumtscho Thank you for pointing that out and editing! Just as nice here as at StackOverflow ... :-)
    – Xiphias
    Feb 28, 2016 at 21:38

1 Answer 1


The brown color is given by the caramelization of the sugars contained in the meat. It is due to a chemical reaction that is triggered by the high temperature in the pan (take place between 140c and 180c or 284f and 356f) called Maillard reaction. It is exactly the same thing that gives bread and fried foods their characteristic golden-brown color and their delicious taste!

But back to the picture: the reason why you see the bottom of the pan becoming brown is because during cooking the meat lets some juices out. Those juices contain sugars that caramelize and stick to the pan or float in the hot grease.

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    Feb 27, 2016 at 20:17

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