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Old 12-09-2006, 06:13 PM   #1
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Fry Pans: Aluminum Vs 3-ply Sst

i've got a question...

when i sear my steaks in my aluminum fry pan, the pan gets super hot, and the steak is seared WITHOUT lots of smoke.

but when i sear my steaks in my member's mark fry pan (tri-ply, all-clad knock-off), i smoke-up the entire kitchen, set off smoke alarms, etc.

... same stove, same setting on the gas burner, both steaks at 1-1/4 inches thick.

i'm an engineer that SHOULD know why this is happening, but i can't explain it.

what is going-on here?

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Old 12-09-2006, 06:52 PM   #2
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shape of pan (size of sides) size of pan, thickness of pan, type of aluminum...anodized or polished, silverstone or raw etc. purhaps the surface causes one to seal up faster than the other, thuis less fat oozing thus less smoke. I find I have less smoke and grease splatter when using the carbon steel French fry pans than with any other. go figure.
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Old 12-09-2006, 06:56 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo410
shape of pan (size of sides) size of pan, thickness of pan, type of aluminum...anodized or polished, silverstone or raw etc. purhaps the surface causes one to seal up faster than the other, thuis less fat oozing thus less smoke. I find I have less smoke and grease splatter when using the carbon steel French fry pans than with any other. go figure.
in terms of generating smoke, i'd say i get THE MOST FROM;

1. cast iron
2. tri-ply design
3. deBuyer French carbon steel
4. aluminum (polished)

wow, i just realized that i have 4 different types of fry pans.
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Old 12-09-2006, 07:31 PM   #4
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You clearly you take great pride in being an engineer. My personal experience is that debate with engineers is useless so here is one thought offered without any defense or intention of elaboration.

Aluminum heats fast but it cools fast too. A cold steak is fairly effective at cooling the temperature of the metal. Hence less smoke.

I'd love to eat with you buddy, but not interested in arguing.
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Old 12-09-2006, 07:51 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skilletlicker
You clearly you take great pride in being an engineer. My personal experience is that debate with engineers is useless so here is one thought offered without any defense or intention of elaboration.

Aluminum heats fast but it cools fast too. A cold steak is fairly effective at cooling the temperature of the metal. Hence less smoke.

I'd love to eat with you buddy, but not interested in arguing.
guess what? both steaks were at room temperature. i ALWAYS bring them to room temp. before searing.

btw, this is "discuss" cooking, not "arguing with engineers."
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Old 12-09-2006, 08:20 PM   #6
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How do I always get sucked into this?

You guys always sound like you're going to be reasonable but it never works out that way. The difference between 40F and 70F isn't that great compared to maybe 400F of the frying pan surface. The difference in surface pan surface temp. between aluminum and cast iron, in contact with a 12 oz. rib eye on one side and a medium burner on the other, would probably be pretty impressive, but you have to be an engineer to have that data.

The Grizzlies game has started so I gotta go.
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Old 12-10-2006, 09:42 PM   #7
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From an engeneering technologist, cast iron has more thermal mass and so requires more energy to heat than does the more heat conductive alluminum or copper. Clad pans, though made of SS, have a sandwich of aluminum or copper to distribute the heat more evenly along the pan surface. In addition, they are also lighter than is cast iron, and contain less thermal mass. They heat and cool quicker.

That being said, the reason cast iron produces more smoke is simply because it takes substantially longer to cool down, and has more latent energy to transfer to the cooking food. Thus, the oil, starch, whatever is heated by the pan generates smoke for alonger time period than they would if cooked in SS or aluminum at the same temperature.

Also, when the food is placed into the hot pan, the SS will be cooled to a greater degree than will the cast iron, again, generating less smoke.
See, no need for argument. It's simple thermo-dynamics.
And now, I'm going home.

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Old 12-10-2006, 10:27 PM   #8
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Yeah, what he said.
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Old 12-10-2006, 11:04 PM   #9
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Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...

Huh? Wha? Oh, sorry :P.
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Old 12-11-2006, 04:10 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goodweed of the North
From an engeneering technologist, cast iron has more thermal mass and so requires more energy to heat than does the more heat conductive alluminum or copper. Clad pans, though made of SS, have a sandwich of aluminum or copper to distribute the heat more evenly along the pan surface. In addition, they are also lighter than is cast iron, and contain less thermal mass. They heat and cool quicker.

That being said, the reason cast iron produces more smoke is simply because it takes substantially longer to cool down, and has more latent energy to transfer to the cooking food. Thus, the oil, starch, whatever is heated by the pan generates smoke for alonger time period than they would if cooked in SS or aluminum at the same temperature.

Also, when the food is placed into the hot pan, the SS will be cooled to a greater degree than will the cast iron, again, generating less smoke.
See, no need for argument. It's simple thermo-dynamics.
And now, I'm going home.

Seeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
i can understand your points, but the steaks were both at room temp. secondly, after placing the steak in the aluminum pan, i am able to crank the heat as high as i like WITHOUT generating more smoke... that is what i don't understand.

in the cast iron pan, because of latent heat & conductivity, i usually have to turn the heat DOWN 1-2 minutes after placing the steak in the pan... to decrease the amount of smoke.

the original discussion was cast iron vs. alum. my tri-ply clad cookware performs between these two extremes... giving me a good sear without an excessive amount of smoke.
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