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Old 03-02-2012, 02:03 PM   #11
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Thanks, a little luck won't hurt, I'm cooking for my wife's birthday tomorrow.
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Old 03-02-2012, 05:12 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Kroll View Post
You need to be very careful with high heat, especially on a gas stove. High heat doesn't necessarily mean you turn the heating element as far as it will go. It sounds like you're very lucky you haven't started a fire. There have been a couple times I've added oil to a super heated pan, turned my back for a few seconds, only to turn around and see a fire raging in the pan.
Which makes the point of never heating oil in a covered pan. I don't remember why I did that years ago. Nevertheless, I did, and which I lifted the lid, superheated oil flashed. After years in the fire service and knowing better, I compounded the incident by trying to remove the pan from the fire. I have a portion of my left hand that has thin skin that won't tan 25 years after the burn and peculiar brown spots on one foot from the hot oil. (Had I just replaced the lid and turned off the burner, it would have been okay.)
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Old 03-02-2012, 05:13 PM   #13
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Old 07-02-2012, 09:26 AM   #14
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I'm tagging this onto the old topic, because in it, I said I saw no point in heating the pan before adding oil. Having had some other discussions along this line, I have to take that back.

The point that was made to me was that for many purposes, like searing a steak, the pan needs to be evenly heated across the bottom surface, and though they are good transmitters of heat, even aluminum and cast iron need time to equalize the heat across the bottom.

So it becomes a bit more of a skill than just putting oil in a cold pan and heating until a hint of smoke or signs of heat are shown. And more than leaving a pan on the fire to become terminally hot before adding oil and likely smoking it. The first doesn't evenly heat the pan. The second overheats the oil.

I now approach this situation in two stages by preheating the pan over a fire high enough to contribute enough heat to bring the pan to a moderate, even heat across the surface but not so much fire that it get overheated. Then bringing up the fire, so that there's enough to bring the oil, added at this point, to cooking heat and enough to recover from the meat being dropped on it.

This may not be such a big deal with an electric range where the fire is in contact over most of the bottom to about the same degree. Over gas, home ranges don't have enough of a flame pattern to accomplish that, so we're always needing more time for heat to migrate through the pan. The oil may get evenly hot through the convection currents set up in it, but the metal pan bottom may still be relatively cool away from the flame points, especially when the pan much exceeds the outer limits of flame.

Here's your typical home gas range burner.


Infrared image of the same burner with temperatures.


(More images at: Teaser Infrared Image – The Answer | Thermal Imaging Blog from Fluke Thermography )

Even considering that the grate can heat sink to a greater distance from the flame than a pan and the fact that there's no pan redirecting the heat, the temperature range from the burner out to the diameter of a useful saute pan is substantial, and it obviously takes some time for the pan to get to something akin to equal heat across the whole pan. My largest gas burner, the "quick boil" burner, is still only about 1/3 the diameter of my workhorse pan.
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Old 07-02-2012, 09:47 AM   #15
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without reading all the responces, doesn't SS requires medium heat and Not high heat? I do not use the stuff, never got hang of it, but i think I remember reading it here or elswhere that you cannot use high heat withh SS. Maybe that is the problem.
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Old 07-02-2012, 11:24 AM   #16
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I think the problem is that "high," "medium," etc. have so many different interpretations. There are huge differences across my gas burners as to what "high" could mean on any of them. And there's HIGH meaning highest flame/setting, HIGH meaning actual heat of the pan unloaded, and HIGH meaning what highest working heat you should maintain under load.

I use tri-ply SS. My gas burner, being typical, are mostly a bit lame. I can, of course, get an unloaded pan very hot indeed, but I mostly have to think about keeping it hot.

I've seen the advise to avoid high heat with SS, but I wouldn't use it if I couldn't use high heat when appropriate, and I haven't had any problem. I have hunted for some specific reason for the high heat advice. I can only find some comments implying food sticking. I suspect that is from people who had become used to non-stick coatings and who did things like turning meat they were browning before it naturally released. They can get away with that with non-stick but not with SS, but SS will release it when it's ready. I'm also particular about not using metal, SS being relatively soft, and I try to avoid scratches. The only sticking I encounter is really just burning on of oil and liquids on the sides, and Barkeepers Friend handles that.

And I suppose it might have been that early versions of laminate core SS could be delaminated by very high heat, and that might have prompted the warnings.

When Cuisinart warns about avoiding high heat, they follow it by saying that food could burn because the cookware is so conductive. It seems almost like their bragging by "warning" that their product is so good you'll burn your food without realizing it. But those who know their tools won't have that problem. And if you want to burn some food, there's nothing better than the classic Revereware copper bottom thin SS. I did do some sever damage to the copper on one of those years ago when I turned off the wrong burner.

So I think it's back to the problem of what "high heat" means in terms of the overall effect of heat method, burner size, pan material, pan size, and pan load.
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Old 07-04-2012, 10:06 AM   #17
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Out of curiosity I experimented with SS, I have few SS pots, so I decided to use one to sauté some onions. I had two pots non-stick and SS side by side; set the gas fire to about the same and put pots on the stove. Preheated both, the way I normally would preheat a frying pan for sautéing, added oil, preheated oil and added diced onions. The SS pot immediately started to burn the onions with huge amount of smoke; I had to turn the heat down to about half way. And then it worked about the same, I mean two pots worked the same. Maybe I should consider SS frying pan for the future. Save on gas.
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