Want a wicked sear? Grab the mayonnaise!

You pull that perfectly juicy steak from the water bath. All that’s left between you and heaven is a quick sear to crisp up the crust. We’ve heard of all the common methods: canola oil, butter, etc. What if we told you there’s a better way? Mayonnaise. Yes. When mayo is suggested as an option, people usually stop listening.

There are good reasons this popular sandwich spread produces a superior sear. Strip mayo down to its core and it’s essentially two things: oil and eggs. Both of these are commonly used in culinary applications for browning. Think egg wash on bread for a golden crust when baking, oil in a hot pan for the way you USED to sear. So what happens when they get used together? Magic. Maillard reaction magic.

Learn more below and unlock the secrets to some seriously superb sears. Bonus tip? Red meat not your thing? This trick also works great on pork, chicken, fish, etc!

How Does it Work?

For a quick explanation, we bring in renowned #anovafoodnerd and food scientist Erika Turk: “The protein and sugar in the mayo make all the difference in searing. You also have the emulsification of the oil and egg which means that they’ve already done the work in incorporating water into the oil so it’ll stick to the meat rather than want to repel (the old oil and water issue) like plain oil, and it accelerates the Maillard reaction (a chemical reaction between amino acids and reducing sugars that gives browned food its distinctive flavor) through a non-enzymatic reaction. Restaurants and the food industry, in general, have been using this for years and years.”

In short: it just works. Super, super well. And we know what you’re gonna say – its gonna taste like mayo. It doesn’t. At all. The mayo as we know it is quickly burned down to the bits that make the sear special.

Searing With Mayo

1. Season steak with salt and pepper   2. Set your Anova Sous Vide Precision Cooker to your desired doneness using our steak guide here. Sous vide steak for 1-4 hours.   3. Apply a layer of mayonnaise to the steak. Season again with salt and pepper. 4. Heat a skillet over high heat. Cast-iron is our favorite option. Do not add any oil. Place steak in pan and sear for 1 minute.
5. Flip steak and sear one minute longer.
6. Remove steak from pan. LOOK AT THAT SEAR!
7. Slice steak, serve, and receive endless praise from your dinner guests.

Wrapping Up That Wicked Sear

Be sure to head to our recipes site and find some inspiration for your next sous vide cook! Give us a follow on Instagram and Twitter to stay in the loop with all things #anovafoodnerd.