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For better browning on your beef, some mavens suggest that you lower the (Arm &) Hammer.

Go ahead and google "baking soda browning beef" and behold the plethora of results, all gushing about the latest kitchen hack for putting a superior brown crust on your steaks or burgers. Does it really work? (Purportedly by raising the pH and also fostering the Maillard reaction?) Or is this like that stupid post circulating on Facebook a few years ago about "December 2023 has 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays, and 5 Sundays. This only happens every 823 years!" A cursory glance at the freaking calendar reveals that it happens every time one of our five 31-day months begins with Friday the 1st, on average once per year.

As a homeowner my age, every chore I do comes at the expense of doing another... and sometimes that's a good thing. Today I chose to test this baking soda hack instead of mowing my lawn, organizing my tool room, and several other items on my never-ending "honey-do" list.

I found a perfect piece of sirloin at the store. I coated one side with a half-teaspoon of salt, and the other with a half-teaspoon of salt PLUS an equal amount of baking soda. I let them stand for an hour, cleaned off the coatings, and gave each side 5 minutes on low heat in clarified butter. It smelled really good in my kitchen.

Here's the result:

An one can plainly see, one side is decidedly browner and more delicious-looking than the other. There's only one problem: THE BROWNER SIDE IS THE ONE WITHOUT THE BAKING SODA!

Granted, as scientific experiments go, this was only one trial. But I nonetheless proved to myself that this hack is, at the very least, unnecessary... and that one shouldn't believe everything one reads on the Internet.

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