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Old 03-20-2008, 02:09 PM   #1
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Stainless steel pot and extreme heat

I've been searching this site and can't find anything that matches specifically what I'm looking for so sorry if it is a repeat.

I work at an outdoor adventure program for troubled youth. They trek for about a week at a time. The problem is finding a SS 12 qt pot that can withstand a lot of use being put on a campfire.

They were using some very old pots that did the job but when buying new SS pots they just couldn't handle the heat.

Any ideas about what could be wrong? I think they tried 18/10 but I have no idea what brand.

They are not interested in the superlight pots because of durability and don't want cast iron because of the weight.

Thanks if you can help.

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Old 03-20-2008, 02:20 PM   #2
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You might want to check out a restaurant supply (you can google this and get lots of hits if there isn't one near you). The stuff they carry is made to withstand abuse and 12 qt. or larger would be no problem. You might consider aluminum also since it is very lightweight. HTH and welcome to DC!
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Old 03-20-2008, 02:30 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by DinoDish View Post
They were using some very old pots that did the job but when buying new SS pots they just couldn't handle the heat.

Any ideas about what could be wrong?
What went wrong?
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Old 03-20-2008, 03:42 PM   #4
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dino, you start a fire every night to cook over? that must be tough in really wet weather.

i'd go with a white fuel stove, or even a propane burner. you can get pretty big ones now, and can regulate the heat.

if you must cook over an open flame (you should try to cook over the coals), you'll need a pot with a really heavy bottom. the sides don't matter as much. 18/10 is the way to go, as you'd mentioned.

a quick tip for cleanup: coat the outside of the bottom of the pot with a thick layer of soap. it helps to keep the soot from sticking and makes it easier to wash off.
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Old 03-20-2008, 05:49 PM   #5
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BT, you took the words right out of my mouth. Also, an encapsulated aluminum bottom on the pan will add some mass and help spread the heat more evenly. As Buck said, make sure to soap the outside to help make clean-up easier.

Also, if you opt for aluminum pans, they can be seasoned the same way you wold season cast iron. Not many people know this. I tried it while camping and the pans became almost as non-stick as my cast iron.

The problelm with aluminum is that it's a softer metal and so will ding up easier than will the SS. Also, before adding oil to the cooking surface of SS, heat up the pan to a good cooking temperature over coals. This will help keep food from sticking, again making clean up easier. Also, make absolutely sure that the pan is on stable, thick wood. This will make cooking easier, and help to avoid dangerous spills. Purchase a pan with a metal lid if possible. Then, if there is ever a grease fire in the pan, it can be quickly put out by putting the lid on to smother the fire. Do not try to put out a grease fire with water. It will cause the grease to pop violently, and the flaming grease will splatter onto other things, spreading the fire. And if the hot grease touches skin, you have instant scalding. I have burn scars from a clothing fire (not from cooking) and can tell you from experience that there is nothing more painful than a bad burn. If you don't have a lid, or fire extinguisher, then use salt or sand to smother the fire.

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Old 03-20-2008, 08:37 PM   #6
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I'll throw in my vote for the heavy duty aluminum pot and pans you can find at the restaurant supply stores ESPECIALLY if you're cooking over a campfire. The thick stuff is going to withstand a lot of use/abuse without dinging or denting, and is as light or lighter than heavy duty SS.

And, as Goodweed noted - aluminum can be seasoned just like cast iron. For a 12-qt pot I wouldn't worry about it - I personally don't see the need. But, I definitely would for skillets.
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Old 03-21-2008, 11:15 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by bowlingshirt View Post
What went wrong?
First, thanks for welcoming me! The riveted handles on the old pots popped off and I think he said one pot got lost. The liquid started leaking out the holes from the handles.

I'm actually writing this for a friend that works in the adventure part of the program (I work in a different area). I don't think they have fires every night and I don't think the camp stoves are allowed for safety reasons but I'm not sure. It's a correctional facility you can check it out if you want. Oops didn't know I couldn't post it. It's thistledewcamp.

The old pots had no give if you squeezed the sides. They ran around $150/ea over 10 years ago and they can't remember the brand. No name stamped on the bottom just 18/10. The new pots are too thin and won't stand up to abuse especially for 10 years.

He said he has looked at restaurant supply stores but hasn't found anything. Do you have any specific names of good suppliers or specific names of good thick SS pots?

I've been reading that tri ply is good. Anyone know about spun carbon steel? I also read American made is better because of QC standards.

I'll let him know that Aluminum was suggested but I think he thinks that it will bend easily and not hold up.

Thanks for all the help!

Michele
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Old 03-21-2008, 01:21 PM   #8
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Is this what ya'll are looking for?
Tri-Ply Stainless Steel Stock Pot - 12 Qt, Stock Pots, Cookware
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Old 03-24-2008, 11:16 AM   #9
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Is this what ya'll are looking for?
Thanks so much that is exactly what we are looking for. And thanks for the cooking tips also!
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Old 04-25-2008, 01:40 PM   #10
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That is exactly the brand I was going to suggest -- Vollrath.

They have made stainless steel and also aluminum pots and pans for restaurant use for many many years. The stainless steel steamer pans you see in cafeterias holding hot or cold food are made by them. They also make great stainless steel bowls, long handled spoons, ladles, etc.

I have their stainless steel aluminum clad bottomed stockpots and other pots that I use in the kitchen and on the smoker grill. They are much cheaper than the tri-ply if you are on a budget, and even cheaper yet in a used restaurant supply store.

Great quality stuff.
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