What am I doing wrong?

Q: My meat always sticks to the pan when I try to sear it. What am I doing wrong?

A: Chances are you're not letting your pan get hot enough, so your meat isn't caramelizing -- which means it's sticking to the pan because it's not getting a golden-brown crust. Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat for at least five minutes. (Don't use a nonstick pan for this purpose; because it has a special coating, it shouldn't be preheated when empty.) Then pour in some oil; as soon as it starts to shimmer, add your meat in batches (to avoid overcrowding the pan). It'll be tempting to move the meat around or lift it to see how it's doing, but the secret to a nice sear is to leave it undisturbed for at least two minutes per side. -- Diana Sturgis, test kitchen director, Rachel Ray magizine

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