Is the black part of foods that got burning - called 'coal'?

When putting a steak on a grill, sometimes it gets burn and we see black scorched place where the fire touched it (See the attached photo below, that visualizes what I'm saying). What is this black matter called? The same can be with a piece of bread in a toaster. Can I call it coal?

Based on Cambridge dictionary it seems that this name is for "a hard, black substance that is dug from the earth in pieces, and can be burned to produce heat or power, or a single piece of this". So, it seems that I can't use it, then if it is true, what's the name for this thing?

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1 Answer 1


No. Coal is compressed carbon, often used as an energy source.

The portions of food(especially meat) that is blackened through cooking is referred to as "char". However, in my experience, it is more common to use the adjective form "charred", as in "the meat is charred" or the "charred portion of the chicken".

  • 2
    You can also call it "blackened". If you are unhappy or it is now inedible, you can say it is "burnt".
    – user3169
    Dec 14, 2018 at 0:06

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