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You’ve seared your meat perfectly and it’s resting happily out of the skillet. Tantalizing juices, fat and crispy bits still remain. How to get them out…no, wait…how to combine them!? Deglaze that baby while it’s still hot and get ready for sauce.

Deglazing is a cooking technique in which an acidic liquid like beer, wine or stock (or bourbon, or whatever) is added to a still-hot pan to lift any caramelized bits stuck to the pan and emulsify them with the juices and fat, resulting in a savory pan sauce. Whisked with a little butter right before serving, this is frequently the best thing to top a great piece of meat, much as we love fancy sauces. See also: basic red wine reduction.

There are other reasons to deglaze, however. Even if you’re not making a sauce, it’s not a bad idea (though kind of a shame) to deglaze and dump that stuff down the sink to make cleaning your pan much easier after dinner. Or the next morning. Or…well, you know. We’re not the dishes police.

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