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Grilled vs. Pan Fried, Which is Better?

Flame Grilled Meat photoAmongst the numerous ways to create healthy and tasty meat recipes are grilling and pan frying. When grilling, dry heat is applied on the food  surface, either above it or below it. The heat applied is direct and radiant. The grilling method is used typically on slices of meat that require a quick manner of cooking. In contrast, pan frying meat is cooked by partially covered with oil and placing in a frying pan on a hot stove. An electric skillet or a wok can also be used throughout the cooking process.

Taste Comparison
Cooking meat through flame grilling can make the texture dry and less appealing if done incorrectly. This usually happens when too much fat  is allowed to drip away during cooking. However, because flame grilling uses a direct heat for cooking, the food that is exposed to a heat temperature of above 260 degree Celsius will give off a distinct taste and aroma. This significant smell is a reaction to the chemical process called the “Millard Reaction” which occurs if food has reached a temperature that is above 155 degrees Celsius.

For foods which are pan fried, one should expect crisp, darker, golden-brown and tasty crust with a moist interior. Much of the original flavor of the meat and its other ingredients are maintained. Thus, you can also expect to have a fresh taste when the food is cooked.

Different Cooking Methods For Different Recipes
The best foods that are cooked through pan frying are those meats that are naturally more tender and those that are delicate such as fish, shellfish and vegetables. It is also best to cook foods that are less than an inch in thickness, although thicker steak cuts can also be deliciously cooked through pan frying. When frying, place the food above the heated oil and wait until the first side becomes browned. Immediately flip the food and cook the other side. At this time, the other side cooks faster than the first side since the food ius already heated. The best and fastest way to pan fry is to try to flip the meat as little as possible.

You can also use this technique in when preparing a seafood dish. Preheat the pan first over a medium-high heat. Add oil to coat the bottom of the pan and while the pan is heating, coat the fish with flour on both sides to render a protective coating between the pan and fish. When the oil is hot, place the fish in the pan placing the top side down. Jiggle the fish in the pan for 2 to 3 times to prevent it from sticking to the pan (if you’re not using a non-stick surface). When the first side is cooked, flip it and use the same method on the other side and you are done.

As stated earlier when grilling, heat is applied usually over or under the food. Directly grilling the food over flame generates a crunchy and or slightly charred flavour while retaining a moist interior. You can also create a smoky flavored food by soaking a cup of fruitwood chips in water before placing them on top of the charcoal.

Is One Healthier Than Another?
Every cooking method may have its advantages and disadvantages. As for the flame grill method, it is a good way of cooking your food as this process lowers the fat content of the food which makes it a lot healthier. However, this kind of cooking process can lead to formation of carcinogens if excessive charring occurs.

Pan frying, like flame grilling also has its advantages and disadvantages. Fried foods can absorb more fat which can result in a weight gain which can become difficult to manage when eaten on a regular basis. It is also harder to digest than grilled foods because of its higher fat content.

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