Tips & Techniques > What are Sucs?
The word sucs, which derives from “sucre” (French for sugar) was invented specifically to describe those caramelized bits that stick to the bottom of a pot or pan. When pan-frying, searing or sautéing, juices from ingredients, in particular meats, caramelize and form these browned bits. Sucs have an intense, sweet flavor, which can be released from the bottom of the pan by the process of deglazing.
To develop the best sucs, which are dark-golden brown, it is essential that you properly heat and oil your pan before adding any ingredients. The ingredients must be patted dry before adding. To properly develop and preserve the sucs during cooking, the heat must be controlled. The heat must be high enough to develop the sucs in the first place, but not so high that the sucs burn. Burnt sucs must be discarded as they will only add a bitter flavor to the dish. If the heat is too low or if the pan is overcrowded, little or no sucs will form.
It is also important to not leave too much space in between ingredients, as this could cause the exposed oil to continue to heat and burn. Therefore, you should always use an appropriate-sized pan for the amount of food you are cooking or cook in batches.
The last thing to note is the amount of sucs that form depends on what is being cooked. Leaner cuts of meat will yield less sucs versus meats with higher fat content. In addition, foods that are high in natural sugars, will yield more sucs.