I love picking up simple tips and also tricks in the kitchen. I particularly love tricks when they room unexpected.

You are watching: What does score mean in cooking

When it pertained to scoring meat or vegetables I’ll recognize I had actually thought I quit learning. My development went from being oblivious come the importance of scoring these points to the emotion of immediate mastery. As soon as I learned to whiz a knife in a few quick passes end the surface of the point I to be cooking, I assumed I had actually learned that all. I was dreadfully wrong.

Let’s start with the basics:

What go scoring mean?It way to reduced lines into the surface of what you space cooking. In the situation of a potato, this means to simply cut lines right into the potato about a quarter-inch (slightly much less than a half-centimeter) deep. Girlfriend generally cut lines top top a diagonal prior to rotating the potato 90 degrees and also cutting again to do a diamond pattern.Why do you score potatoes?For a variety of reasons – yet the most common are for appearance and also that that speeds food preparation time (resulting in quicker cooking and better texture – both that a crispy outside and also moist interior). It likewise increases surface ar area (which is great because it boosts the crispy bits and also leaves an ext room because that condiments including chives the won’t loss off and also butter that will certainly sink in).Why Score Brussel Sprouts?Many human being score the stem-end that brussels sprouts through the concept that the tribe will cook quicker. When this might be true several food researchers (including Harold McGee) insurance claim that this allows excess water right into the stems and also makes lock soggy. We eat castle al dente – or we shred them through a grater (in the food processor) and also then blanch and also fry them with bacon. For this reason this one’s a trick question – we don’t score ours sprouts.Why score meat?Typically human being score very fatty meat (such as the duck recipe that we’ll share tomorrow) and also score the special fat lid (or layer). Friend score the fat layer till you with the muscle and don’t want to cut into the meat. This is excellent for numerous of the reasons over and one more: fat tends to shrink an ext than muscle – scoring it enables it come tense up without pulling the meat into a dense ball and enables for much more even cooking and a larger-looking end product which cooks more evenly (imagine do the efforts to cook the outside of a tennis ball evenly).

So now that we’ve covered the what and why the scoring, let’s change our focus to the most important thing to save in mind as soon as doing it. It’s likewise the many important:

Many that us have actually heard to chop vegetable the exact same size prior to cooking. We understand that smaller sized ones will cook much faster than bigger ones (which have a bigger volume). The most important thing around scoring is ensuring you are doing so at a uniform depth. Imagine:

You have a slice of potato that’s a half-inch (12mm) tall.Your an initial score is 1/16th that an inch deep, it would certainly leave 1/7th of one inch not scored.Your second cut is 2/16ths deep. This leaves 1/6th of one inch not scored.While the difference in between the two cuts is only 1/8th (3mm) that an customs more, the represents 12.5% of the depth the the potato. This inequality will result in different cooking times. * fine print at end of storyWhile this might seem like severe difference, mine old hack and also slash job of scoring would leave such variances.

Cutting into meat is even more problematic – most (if no all) that the fat lid is the same depth however an inconsistent cut finds us sometimes cutting the meat, sometimes getting it perfect and other times leaving the fat still attached at parts (contributing to shrinkage).

The ultimate problem we’re make the efforts to deal with is: how do i make cuts of consistent depth that the surface of item I’m trying to score?

The ultimate answer is my new ‘kitchen’ knife:


An X-acto knife is one infinitely adjustable tool that enables you to set – and also lock – her blade come the depth of her choice. There are several arrays of these knives yet a version choose the one over that has actually an adjustable length and lock is the best pick.

There’s a overview that won’t let the blade go deeper 보다 your setup – so start your cut thinner 보다 you need and also make micro adjustments to acquire the cut you want. They are affordable, have the right to be taken apart and reassembled through ease and also will last a life time in a kitchen if they’re looked after. I haven’t investigated the food-safety of the blade but for the extremely minimal amount that scoring I’m going to execute (a few times a year in ~ most), I’m more than comfortable utilizing the brand new knife we were gifted because that the purpose this weekend.

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A special thanks goes the end to mine Dad for this idea – he check out it in the flow Cottage Meat book (a publication that must be next-to-required analysis for those that eat meat). I’m certain this idea has actually been passed around many kitchens and also tables and also am excited come share it.

What ‘unusual’ tools are part of your kitchen equipment?

* for the extreme mathematicians in our firm (which ns am not), these instances are of food flawed – for they treat a potato choose it’s a cube once of course it’s an ext like an non-geometric egg. I acknowledge the best method to score a potato would not be a uniform depth however instead a laser which take it the broad of the potato and also cut the depth at some type of bell-curved ratio of depth that potato contrasted to broad of potato at cut. However I’m quick one laser cutter and also a totality lot that IQ to understand that one.