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Old 01-19-2013, 09:40 PM   #1
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Fryin' Pan fire!

Hey all, new here. Not the BEST at cooking, but I am interested in it! Made the account to ask a question for starters lol...and try to learn some stuff from here as well!

I sometimes cook using extra virgin olive oil, instead of some of the other more traditional oils used. Tonight, I was cooking on a gas stove. I think I had the knob set around 6-7 out of 10. (May of been my problem lol).

In a non stick frying pan i put a bit of oil in there and turned it on. Once it was warmed up i put an at the time frozen turkey burger patty in there. It def sizzled a bit, the oil did seem pretty hot (guess i was oblivious), but the patty cooked ok.

After 5-6mins i flipped the patty over, and as soon as it hit the pan a big flame shot up out of the pan.

I understand the smoke point, flash point, etc, as I have been reading since this happened. However they say that it happens from oil into the flame underneath, or spontaneously occurring.

These theories could make sense, however it was cooking just fine until i flipped the patty over. In the future, I will pay more attention to the smoke point and cook on a lower temp. But, was this flame up due to the patty itself? I doubt I could have hit the flame point, or could I?

I am new to gas ranges. I always had electric. I am also not a seasoned cook as i said, though i prefer to cook foods instead of carrying out/eating garbage. Do gas ranges heat the pan a lot higher then an electric in regard to the "knob position". Like 7 on a gas stove is a lot higher temp then 7 on an electric (there isnt numbers on my knobs, just saying).

I guess its possible i dripped oil off the side of the pan when i flipped it, and it flamed up which caught the oil on fire....really not too sure. All i know is i ripped it off the range and threw the lid on it, lol....meanwhile setting off my smoke alarm, and scaring the crap out of myself (no damage done).

Thanks

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Old 01-19-2013, 10:32 PM   #2
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Yikes! Welcome to DC, I don't have a gas range, but someone who does should be by soon!
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Old 01-19-2013, 10:41 PM   #3
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Welcome to DC, sounds like it was oil that flamed sloshing out of the pan when you flipped the burger.
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Old 01-19-2013, 11:02 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by PrincessFiona60 View Post
Welcome to DC, sounds like it was oil that flamed sloshing out of the pan when you flipped the burger.
Yes, I cook with gas and this can happen, probably too much oil in the pan if it could "slosh" ;). Also with gas you will find that you really only need to cook on low to medium.
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Old 01-19-2013, 11:21 PM   #5
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It is well to remember that heating any flammable liquid makes it easier to ignite. It is a particular problem with gas, because small droplets that are slashed can be easily ignited by open flame, and any larger amount can flash over to the flammable vapors in the pan. But there is no reason to expect gar or electric to, either one, be hotter than the other. Knob settings are arbitrary, and there is no consistency at all among ranges as to the meaning of various setting labels. For instance, I cannot really simmer at all on the simmer setting of my gas range without a heat diverter.

You only made one mistake, moving the pan off the burner. I have an area around the web of by left hand where the skin will not tan and a noticeably more weathered skin over the rest of that hand. I had, for some unremembered reason, a lid on a pan of oil I was heating and superheated the oil, and it flashed when I removed the lid. In trying to move the pan, I sloshed burning oil over my hand, thus earning the attention of some particularly sadistic physical therapists for some days. The bad thing was, I was a firefighter and knew to just turn off the burn and put the lid on.
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Old 01-20-2013, 12:32 AM   #6
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GLC was absolutely correct. If the contents of a pan flash into fire, simply, and carefully place the lid back onto the pan. This will smother the fire, and keep you from splashing hot oil onto the flame, or heating element of your stove. Things like that have resulted in burned homes, serious burn injuries, an at the vary least, like with you, some scary moments.

It sounds like you had too much oil in the pan, and the pan too hot. Non-stick pans should never be used above a medium heat setting, as the coating can be ruined, and give of dangerous gasses. You only need to wipe the pan with a brush dipped in oil. Then, cook your meat over medium heat. When the juices start to run on top of your burger, steak, or whatever meat you are cooking, flip it carefully, to avoid splashing yourself with hot grease. Also, don't forget to season your meat on both sides before putting it into the pan.

If you don't have a lid for a pan, and the grease within it ignites, you can pour salt or baking soda on the flaming grease to smother it. If the food is ruined, so be it. It's better to have to re-cook food than burn yourself, or your home.

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Old 01-20-2013, 01:04 AM   #7
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Thanks for the replies. Yea the pulling it off the burner was a gut reaction. By this time I dont think there was enough oil in the pan to really slosh out of the pan onto me. But i definitely see your point.

I will try it again tomorrow, for the sake of trying it. With the lid and baking soda handy HAHA, but with medium heat and a lot less oil. I didn't know the non stick coating would be damaged/ emit vapors...definitely good info there.

If the oil is crackling and spitting a lot, does that generally mean the heat is too high...or just if its smoking.
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Old 01-20-2013, 09:18 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by JC000 View Post
...If the oil is crackling and spitting a lot, does that generally mean the heat is too high...or just if its smoking.
If it's crackling and spitting it means there's water in with the oil. When frying, you should always pat the food dry with paper towels (or whatever) before seasoning it and putting it in the pan.
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Old 01-20-2013, 10:59 AM   #9
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If it's crackling and spitting it means there's water in with the oil. When frying, you should always pat the food dry with paper towels (or whatever) before seasoning it and putting it in the pan.
Hmm, well the patty was frozen. Could that do it? When I flipped the patty it definitely had a lil pool of "juice" on the top that may of spilled as i tipped it, and when it hit the real high heat of the pan initiated the flare up? Or unlikely...
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Old 01-20-2013, 11:06 AM   #10
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I think that was it. There is surface frost on the burger as well as moisture near the surface the appears as you cook.

Also, when you flip food, don't let it splash down, lower it into the pan. You only need enough oil to coat the pan.

Next time, try cooking the burger thawed.
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