Why grilling meat makes it taste different?

We are all fans of grilling. So much that grilled meat becomes our only kind of preferred meat once we come across it. As a matter of fact, grilling does more than just enhancing the flavor of the meat. A close perusal highlights that the taste of meat becomes markedly different. To state the facts, chemistry governs the changes that take place in the meat when tossed on a grill. The taste that we experience after grilling the meat is particularly stimulated by the aroma given to it by the reactions taking place on the grill. 

 

As a matter of fact, a reaction takes place while smoking. This reaction is termed as Maillard Reaction. Basically, this reaction involves a breakdown of proteins into what has called as amino acids. These amino acids, in turn, interact with carbohydrates that are present in your food. This results in a specific scent that draws us closer to food. Also, the methods of preparations play a crucial role in developing flavor profiles which are tangible in the end products. 

You may be familiar with four primary flavors but be very surprised to hear that there exist two more flavors in addition to salty, bitter, sour and sweet. One such flavor is what the Japanese call ‘Umami’. Literally, the word means yumminess or deliciousness. Umami generally alludes to the protein present in food. When brought together with the Maillard reaction, it indicates that the food is safe for consumption after cooking to a certain degree. 

Three elements give rise to umami. These elements are: 

  • Guanylate

This flavor enhancer is found in yeast, seaweed, and fish. It possesses a taste similar to that of mushrooms dried out. 

  • Inosinate  

This enhancer comes from muscle fibers of the animals. It can be identified by its specific taste somewhat similar to fish and meat.  

  • Glutamate 

It serves as a vital element required for converting proteins into amino acids. It alludes to saltiness associated with the likes of soy sauce. Glutamate occurs naturally in seaweed, eggs, poultry, and fish. 

The case when two or more umami elements come together is called an umami-bomb. This is the reason why some foods have a unique taste. You may even consider bringing some umami based recipes to your grill. 

Now let’s fall back on the most disliked aspect of food. We are talking about fat. Yes, fat comes in crucial in the matter of how the food that you grill tastes great. When we grill food, fat is oxidized. This leads to the even greater appeal of food in terms of taste. Surprisingly, fat lends a soothing feeling to our mouths – bring butter and cheese to your mind. Fat also affects how our taste buds perceive food. 

Conclusion: 

It is fascinating how science can elaborate the mechanics of food and bring to us an unseen picture of something that we come across every day. While this write-up deals with the basics, it is the combination of chemical compounds, methods of cooking and preparation that produces the taste of a certain recipe. So, when you savor food to try to look at the hidden aspects of it. Happy grilling! 


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