What Are Fake Grill Marks Made Of?

One way to ensure your food has NOT been grilled is by the presence of fake grill marks. In fact, the totally flavorless, flaking-off char lines are entirely indicative that your "food item" was mass-produced in a factory and has never been in the presence of open flames or even a grill pan. Here are the facts behind the cruel trickery.

Most chains serving "grilled" options — McDonald's, Burger King, Taco Bell and especially Subway with their creepy, rubbery obviously not-grilled chicken breast — receive these components from suppliers pre-cooked and branded with dark stripes. But wait, before the meat is cooked (with blasts of hot air, not grills or pans or even giant griddles) it's soaked in or injected with a solution of salts, extra animal fat and chemicals like smoke flavoring and other preservatives to make the grill marks "take" more effectively and taste more convincing.

So if you were wondering where the grilled flavor in your fast food grilled chicken sandwich went, you can stop looking. And don't go searching inside the Charmarker 5000; that's how people lose hands to branding wheels. Happy Grilling Month! Let's show 'em how it's really done.

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