Why You Should Pour Warm Pan Drippings Over Steak Right Before Serving

When it comes to searing meat, the leftovers are the best part. And by leftovers, we mean the residual browned bits stuck to the pan. These crispy fragments are an explosion of flavor when deglazed and whisked into a thick gravy or sauce. In fact, without it, you wouldn't have some of the ultimate comfort food staples like beef stroganoff, chicken marsala, Salisbury steak, and much more. 

But when it comes to debating chicken versus beef, beef tends to lend a tastier pan dripping thanks to red meat having higher saturated fat compared to other cuts (via Taste Inc.). And it's no secret that a cast iron steak can provide the perfect opportunity to achieve that golden-crusted sear on each side while holding onto all those delectable drippings. However, letting your meat rest versus cutting into it straight from the skillet is a big indicator of whether those natural beefy flavors will remain within the steak.

According to Steak School, this resting period gives the internal juices time to redistribute and thicken, which keeps them intact when slicing into it and yields a more flavorful steak. But when hungry enough, the waiting period feels like forever. There's got to be a savvy shortcut.

This brings back the sizzle

While waiting for your steak to rest can feel like an eternity, if you're short on time, there's a shortcut that won't sacrifice flavor. According to Serious Eats, all it takes is saving the pan drippings, and reheating them just before serving. This method works whether you decide to rest your meat or not. Simply place the pan drippings in a pot and heat until they're so hot that they begin to smoke, then simply pour directly on top of your steak, or add to a gravy boat or heated pitcher for serving alongside. 

This will not only make your steak sizzle all over again, giving the exterior another chance to crisp up, but it won't cook the interior like you would when basting. The steak stays perfectly cooked while the flavor is enhanced — a win-win. In fact, you can amp up the flavor even more by adding aromatics to your pan drippings. When heating them up, things like fresh or dried herbs will infuse the sauce.

If you're big on letting your meat rest, this will add even more flavor while still keeping those juices intact. If you decide to skip the resting method, this will bring those juices that were released back into the picture. Overall, eHow states that this method will prevent any unwanted dryness in your protein.

Save it for other uses

Got some pan drippings left over? Because it's practically liquid gold, it's smart to save it for future uses. According to The Kitchn, all you have to do is transfer the hot liquid into a glass container and chill it in the fridge until solidified, as it's good to use for up to one week. Not only can you serve it with meat, but there are so many other great uses. From greasing a baking dish, roasting vegetables, and caramelizing onions, to using it in your scrambled eggs, and even coating cubed bread to make your own croutons, fat is flavor, and infused fat is even better.

Furthermore, Cooking Manager mentions some other unconventional ways to sneak in pan drippings that may take you by surprise and delight your taste buds. You can add a dollop into the base of a soup, stew, chili, or casserole, the boiling water for cooking up rice or pasta, your mashed potato mixture, a hearty pasta sauce, the dressing of your chicken salad, your go-to quiche, or even burger patties using your ground-up meat of choice. The options are truly endless, and the flavor pan drippings offer is divine.