When grilling the sear is important. It basically dictates the end result and flavor profile. And although the end result can be achieved through several different paths, i.e. “Cooked meat,” the argument is flavor.
I hold the belief, searing meat does actually seal moisture inside the cut of meat and result in a juicier finished dish. It gives grilled meat dishes an incredible depth of flavor. Additionally, it gives meat an appetizing color and kills off any bacteria that might be hanging out on the surface of the meat.
Searing over high heat caramelizes the surface of the meat, which enhances the savory ‘meat’ flavor and fills the finished dish with complex layers of nutty caramel and coffee-like bitterness. In technical terms, this is called a Maillard reaction. Most of us happen to find the end result quite delicious. Without searing, meat dishes can taste flat and boring.
I find this especially true with poultry.
Preheat your grill to 420-500 degrees Fahrenheit. The thicker the cut of meat you’re grilling, the hotter the grill needs to be.
Now the question is, “How do you know if you have a good sear?”
A good way to tell without lifting the meat too soon (you never want to do that) is to watch for the bones of a bone-in cut to start to bleed – then leave it cook another 1-2 minutes at temperature. Bone-in cuts are great practice for this reason. It will allow you to “get the feel for” searing on the more challenging boneless cuts.