© John Kernick

Sometimes burning food is a good thing.

April 06, 2016

Ever set off the fire alarm while cooking? We've all been there. But sometimes we do it on purpose. From smoky, charred cauliflower to the ultimate strawberry tamales, here are five times when food benefits from being a little burnt.

1. Barbecued Brisket and Burnt Ends

Ten hours on the grill with a slather, a rub and a mop give this brisket an extraordinarily robust flavor.

 James Baigrie

Chef Paul Kirk's juciy brisket calls for a whole packer brisket, which includes both the flat (the larger, leaner portion) as well as the point (the smaller, fattier part for the burnt ends).

2. Grilled Fava Bean Pods with Chile and Lemon

Grilled fava develop a lovely charred flavor on the grill—they can be eaten whole or the traditional way—by popping the beans out of their pods and outer skins.

3. Charred Cauliflower with Cornichons

Smoky, charred cauliflower makes an excellent fast side dish combined with tart cornichons and crunchy toasted bread crumbs.

4. Burnt Strawberry Tamales

You may be familiar with plenty of incredible strawberry desserts, but have you ever heard of a strawberry tamale? Chef Carlos Salgaldo creatively makes these fantastic tamales by charring strawberries in a skillet, then mixing them into a buttery masa filling. Impress guests with this inventive dish at your next dinner party.

 © John Kernick

Mixing charred strawberries into a buttery masa filling makes for amazing dessert tamales.

5. Smoky Glazed Asparagus

Chef Nate Appleman swears by coating vegetables with a mayonnaise-based mustard; it creates a beautifully blistered crust when grilled.