What is the Maillard Reaction? Otto Explains it All
What is the Maillard Reaction? Otto Explains it All

What is the Maillard Reaction? Otto Explains it All

The Maillard reaction describes the series of chemical processes responsible for the golden-brown color and crust that forms on well-grilled meat. Amino acids react with sugars to build new chemical compounds, changing the color and texture of the meat's surface. Named for the French chemist who discovered it, we can't say for certain whether Louis Camille Maillard also loved a nice crust on his steak, but we think he must have!

The Maillard reaction
Achieving the Maillard reaction is part of the art of grilling. It’s not only responsible for the delectable browning of your steak, but also its distinctive aroma and juicy flavor. In other words, without the Maillard reaction, grilling meat would be boring!


Perfectly grilled steak fillet                                                                          

Temperature is everything
Give it some heat! The higher the temperature, the faster the chemical reactions occur. This basic rules of chemistry are also valid for steaks. If you were to cook your steak in water, for example, you wouldn't get any of those delicious aromas. The meat would only become more greyish-looking, and it would never get that crispy crust we grillers seek. On the other hand, you should always make sure that your meat isn’t cooked at high temperatures for too long. On the Otto Grill, Otto recommends grilling your cut of meat for no more than a few minutes on high heat, otherwise your dinner will look more like charcoal than steak.

The Otto Grill: a Maillard machine

With temperatures around 1500°F, the Otto Grill is hotter than any other home grill. This high heat capability gives you the perfect conditions for the Maillard reaction. At such a high temperature, the chemical process kicks in faster than you can say “melanoidins” and your meat becomes a golden-brown delight covered in a flaky, crunchy crust. The distinct grilling aroma occurs quickly on the Otto Grill and ensures a top-notch taste. Not only does the Maillard reaction require the Otto Grill’s high temperature, but also dry heat. Water in or around the meat creates steam, preventing a crispy crust from forming. The Otto Grill provides heat from above, so that liquids drip down onto the drip tray, leaving the Maillard reaction free to grill your steak properly.

The rules of the Maillard reaction don’t only apply to meat, either. The tasty chemical compounds known as melanoidins can occur to almost any type of food. The rule is, the more protein the better. For example, sweet potatoes or fish turn into real aroma feasts when grilled on the Otto Grill, Even the caramelization of sugar, which for example occurs when you flame Creme Brulee, is nothing other than the chain of chemical reactions triggered by heat. Thanks, Maillard!

To the Maillard Machine – The Otto Grill

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