Burnt Taste

Who loves the taste of burnt popcorn, marshmallows, hot dogs or other foods? Growing up my dad always jumped at the chance to eat the burnt popcorn we left in the bowl. If memory serves me well, I believe after awhile he started making his own batch of popcorn so that he could burn it and not be booed out of the kitchen by the rest of the family.

And then there are those of you/us who set marshmallows on fire to toast them as opposed to my perfectly-browned-on-the-outside-and-warm-on-the-inside preference. Same with hot dogs. I never liked that black char on my dogs, but there would always be somebody pushing the limits of the campfire…so I know you’re out there.

As a cook now, I know that the stuff stuck to the bottom of the pan after roasting anything is pure gold. But I still don’t like burnt food.

A few weeks ago we had a crowd to feed, so I took the opportunity to make two identical racks of ribs, one slow smoked, and one grilled at a higher heat. There were two totally separate camps weighing in on which were better. The slow smoked ribs were favorite to the non-burnt camp, and the grilled were the favorite of the “burnt” camp. Yes I made those terms up. It leaves me to wonder how else this impacts what we like and don’t like to eat. Is it in our DNA? Is it regional? Burning questions, no?


I’ve been thinking about it while I write my grilling and BBQ book because I guess I really don’t mind a little on a rack of baby back ribs, and I do like how that crust forms on slow-smoked brisket, pork ribs or whole chickens. Even more, I like how that contributes to a good bone broth.


What say you? Do you like the “burnt” food flavor? Leave your feedback in the comments.


One Comment Add yours

  1. Cher Smith says:

    I like the burnt!


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