The Science Of Grilling: What Makes Steaks Juicy?

See why all steaks aren't created equally

One of the most memorable characteristics of a nice piece of meat dribbles down your face and pools on the edge of your plate. Popular Science and Saveur teamed up to learn about the science behind a juicy steak, and filmed the discovery.

Steak juices are a delectable combination of melted fat, water, gelatin, and love. In order to keep your steak chock-full of moisture, start the cooking process by salting your meat an hour before it hits the grill. As the sodium chloride enters the meat, it breaks down into charged ions and attracts water molecules. These ions also nudge their way between meat proteins, pushing them apart and making more space for water molecules to fit. This helps to lock in the juices and makes the meat more tender.

When the steak’s internal temperature starts to rise, meat fibers elongate and shrink, pushing out some of the juices. After the meat is taken off of the heat, it’s important to let it rest for about 10 minutes before slicing, depending on the thickness of the steak. This allows the meat fibers to relax and reabsorb some of the lost liquid.

Enjoy your mouthwatering steak, and make sure to stock up on napkins.