If Alton Brown says something is a good idea, then it almost certainly is. The king of kitchen hacks posted about a last-minute cooking hack on his Instagram account and honestly, it sounds like something out of his former show Cutthroat Kitchen. As in, another chef has stolen your olive oil and butter, but you have to cook a flavorful steak, so what do you do?
If you're Alton Brown, you work with what you've got, which sometimes mean you cook steak with mayo. That's right; last week the host of Good Eats started to cook a steak only to realize he was out of both oil and butter, so he improvised by slathering a nice layer of mayo on the steak.
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It sounds crazy, but really, you can cook steak with mayo. The component ingredients make the condiment an excellent choice for an oil or butter substitute. Mayo is made from oil, egg yolk, lemon juice, vinegar, and seasonings like ground black pepper and mustard that add flavor along with the fat, so it's got everything a good slab of meat needs to get all caramelized and tasty.
In fact, as quite a few people jumped into the comments to say, mayo can be used instead of butter or oil in all sorts of recipes. Several people noted that they use mayo instead of butter to get a perfect grilled cheese sandwich and the crispiest quesadilla, while others used it in their homemade cornbread recipe. You'll also find mayonnaise in quite a few old-fashioned cake recipes.
Mayo is good for grilling, too, as the Los Angeles Times noted. Because mayonnaise is an emulsion, the oil in it sticks better to whatever you're grilling instead of running off (which can cause flare-ups on a grill). That means mayo is a great release agent because the oil sticks to the food and the food don't stick to the grill, even over high heat. You can use mayo on any kind of beef (hamburger, rib eye, flank steak), but it also works well for pork chops, chicken, and even delicate foods like fish to keep it from sticking and to keep the meat from drying out.
From the "after" picture Brown posted showing the golden-brown perfect steak cooked in a cast iron skillet, I'd say you could do far worse than to cook steak with mayo instead of butter.
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If you're going to grill this summer, do it right. Or the Hank Hill way. Here's what you need to get those steaks cooked medium rare.
Meat thermometers are pretty important for novice grillers, but you can never be too safe. Unless you grill like a Dad in New Balances and cargo shorts, it's good to always check and make sure your steak isn't undercooked, or overcooked. Again, who is willingly eating well done steaks?
7. Steak Knives
This article was originally published on September 24, 2018.