Top-Down Grilling 101

Our mission at SEARSMITHS has been to ensure the best steak you eat, is the one you cooked yourself!

What is the secret used by the best steakhouses in the world that turns the same meat you can buy at the butcher into a piece of succulent beefy goodness?

Producing the perfect steak boils down to a few key factors:

  1. The awesomeness of the sear
  2. How well the meat is cooked
  3. Quality of the meat

Of all the above factors, the sear is what produces the most flavour. A cheap piece of meat will taste infinitely better with a perfect sear, than an expensive piece with no sear.

So how does the Forge, help you cook the best piece of meat and nail the perfect sear? It all comes down to 3 major factors: Heat, Direction, Control

Heat

'Searing' is the term used for the process of creating a mouth-wateringly crispy outer crust on your meat. Scientifically, meat exposed to a high heat source triggers a process known as the "Maillard reaction", which is a chemical reaction that takes place within the proteins and sugars of the meat and results in the browned exterior and delicious flavour that we all love. So we know heat is key, and the Forge can accommodate temperatures up to an unmatched 900 degrees Celsius. To put that into perspective, the melting point for Aluminium is 660 degrees Celsius -  so yeah - the Forge is an absolute beast! Not only can you cook amazing meat with it, but could run a side business melting down metals!

Direction

Unlike traditional BBQs, the Forge has its heat source at the top, and food sits at different levels underneath.

Creating an awesome sear either requires a lot of heat for a shorter period, or less heat for a longer period. The problem with regular a "bottom-up" gas BBQ is that you simply cannot get a high enough temperature to achieve this reaction in a short enough time.  Your grandmother's Weber can maybe be pushed to 200-300 degrees with enough pre-heating. So, by the time you have an awesome sear - your meat has already become overcooked and ruined on the inside!

Control

But what about charcoal which is able to achieve much higher temperatures than gas, why not use that? We will discuss the issues with charcoal at length in another blog post, but in short, it comes down to control. Anyone who has used charcoal has experienced the epic flare-ups you get from fat dripping - at high temperatures it is simply unavoidable.

Not only do the flare-ups add a nasty taste to your meat, charcoal also lacks the control and flexibility of a top-down grill. If you have a thick piece of steak, you need to focus on both the sear and cooking inside the meat. For this, you need to be able to change temperatures pretty quickly - another drawback of charcoal.

Let's say you have a fat tomahawk and a blazing hot charcoal BBQ ready for searing. Even if you somehow managed to achieve the impossible and avoid flare-ups, you would very quickly end up with a piece of meat that was crispy on the outside but completely raw in the middle. If that's what you are into, then cool - but we like to cook the inside of our meat (even if it is just a little bit).

With the Forge, you are able to sear your meat at the highest setting, with zero flare-ups. Then you simply reposition the meat to a lower temperature point and let it cook through. Changing the temperature from 900 down to 90 degrees can be done in a matter of seconds - something impossible to achieve on either traditional gas or charcoal BBQs.

But wait..there's more!

1. Speedy Cooking: Not only can you cook the perfect steak, but the Forge lets you do it with blistering speed. A standard 1-inch thick cut steak will only require around 2 minutes per side of cooking time!

2. No Waiting: It's 7 pm and you have come home from work, do you really want to wait another hour or more for your coals to be ready? Even gas BBQs will require at least 20 minutes of pre-heating if you want to hit their measly high temperatures. The Forge hits optimal temperature in 2-3 minutes.

3. No More Sticking: Since the Forge uses a top-down and indirect heat source, the bottom of your meat always stays cool. Burger patties and fish sticking to your grill grates are a thing of the past. Zero oil, zero sticking, guaranteed!

4. Crazy Versatile: If there is a BBQ on the planet that has a wider temperature range than the Forge, we haven't found it! This means the Forge is perfect for any type of food grilling - beef, chicken, lamb, fish, prawns, even vegetables and cheese!

5. Cleanup's a Breeze: If you are anything like me, you love to BBQ, but you absolutely hate the clean-up afterwards! Charcoal is an absolute pain. You have to wait for it to cool down, then scrape it into a bin whilst getting all your hands and clothes dirty. Don’t even get me started on the cast iron grill grates. The Forge is fully stainless steel, which makes cleaning with warm water super easy. The removable drip tray and dishwasher safe accessories are the icing on top.

You're welcome!

 


3 comments

  • I always wondered how steakhouses were able to get the incredible finish on meat, which is near impossible to do at home.

    Daniel
  • WOW awesome article! Very insightful :)

    Trent
  • AWESOME blog article! I’ve heard a lot about top down grilling and salamander grill – really good read.

    Matt

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