Obviously once it taste burned, its burned... (yet nothing you can do anymore)

I love to cook, and I cook for years. But im always shy to "hear" the pan, because I'm afraid I will burn the food. I think my steaks are pretty good, yet maybe it can be better (of-course it can!).

I have seen lots of famous chefs showing how to make a steak, chicken, etc. They always state there is a ton of flavour on the bottom of the pan, which you extract (deglaze) by adding some form of liquid (water, stock, etc.). Got it!

When its truly black, its burned and you should not eat it. Sounds fair.

Apparently there is a thin line where it looks black, yet its not burned.

In similar fashion, when you throw stuff on the grill its even more obvious, because you can see the black stripes. Yet, im not sure if its actually burned?

So, any clues when does black becomes burned (before it happens)?


  • 3
    If it is black, it is burned. However, sometimes a small amount of black is tasty and adds to the experience. Your thin line is often a matter of personal preference.
    – moscafj
    Feb 23, 2018 at 17:09
  • What does black have to do with deglaze?
    – paparazzo
    Feb 23, 2018 at 19:23

1 Answer 1


This is a good question about differentiating between burned and 'browned', if you will.

Browning meat, which is often searing, is a way to introduce great flavors from the Maillard reaction, is the holy grail of meat cookery.

There are other techniques, such as 'Blackening' which provide a very spicy sear to food, but that is a different animal.

In essence, the answer to your question is 'Does it meet the criteria you are going for?

Braised short ribs are browned, often hard.

Brisket is smoked for a loooooong time, and get a big smoky, burny flavor?

Ultimately, is the effect unpleasant?

Blackened catfish, a filet of fish seared under high heat in certain spices is a prize dish,but not 'burnt.'

Does the technique want the char flavor?

If no, then burnt = not good.

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