I have noticed that sometimes when I am frying beef steak it does not turn dark but it becomes rather light-colored. I have also noticed that those steaks that do turn dark during the frying tend to taste much better (more juicy, more like beef) than the light-colored ones.

Just today I was frying a rump steak which turned out light gray.

What explains those different results? Is it the beef quality, the preparation or something different?

1 Answer 1


It's quite likely that the steaks that ended up darker were dry when you started cooking them.

If you don't dry off the surface of your steak, the heat is used to evaporate the moisture on the surface, which ends up steaming the steak rather than developing a good char/crust.

The darker colors are the result of a chemical reaction that results in more flavorful compounds being created.

As for the juiciness, the higher heat (as there wasn't evaporative cooling) will brown the outside faster while leaving the inside more rare (and therefore moist/juicy). When it steams, we leave it cooking longer, which can result in the middle overcooking (squeezing out moisture).

  • 3
    +1 Agree with your answer. Just wanted to add that some beef is infused or injected with a salt solution. It has been my experience that it doesn't sear or brown well and will more likely turn grey.
    – Cindy
    Jan 19, 2017 at 21:19
  • Thanks for that answer. I'll be sure to try it out. How can I ensure that it's dry enough? Will a thorough kitchen roll treatment be sufficient?
    – Bonilla
    Jan 19, 2017 at 21:34
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    @Bonilla : Kitchen roll (paper towel for the Americans) is the best way that I've found.
    – Joe
    Jan 19, 2017 at 22:24
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    @Bonilla : are you cooking it in a pan, outdoor grill (barbecue) , or an oven broiler/grill (top heat)? And did you let it pre-heat to make sure it was really hot before you placed the meat?
    – Joe
    Jan 20, 2017 at 20:23
  • 2
    @Bonilla : Ack. Do notuse a teflon pan! You want to heat the pan past the point at which you'd ruin a teflon pan. If you have an oven grill/broiler, I highly recommend it over a a teflon pan. You want to adjust the rack so the steak will be about 1" (2.5cm) from the heating element.
    – Joe
    Jan 21, 2017 at 2:12

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