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Old 09-01-2015, 09:26 AM   #1
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Post Frying: 3 minutes?

On most cooking videos, chefs always mention you should fry meat or fish for 3 minutes on each side.

How do I practically measure how long 3 minutes is?
What if I don't want to use any type of timing device but I just want to base those 3 minutes off of experience?
I don't want to keep flipping over the food periodically to check its color/texture/readiness because that seems inefficient.

Any tips on how to measure those 3 minutes.. or better said: how to know it's time to flip the food over?

Thanks.

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Old 09-01-2015, 09:35 AM   #2
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Three minutes may be a rule of thumb, but there are too many variables to make it a hard and fast rule. Size of burner, burner setting, type of fish or meat (cooking times are hugely different), thickness of fish or meat (again, cooking times are hugely different), etc.

A much better idea would be to learn to identify the correct time to flip an item.

I almost never use time as a measure of how done an item is.
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Old 09-01-2015, 10:43 AM   #3
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+1..well said ^
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Old 09-01-2015, 10:47 AM   #4
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Agree with Andy. Some things you have to learn from experience. And there's nothing wrong with flipping foods to check doneness. With thicker items, it's a good idea to use an instant-read thermometer.
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Old 09-01-2015, 11:29 AM   #5
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I agree with Andy.

While you are developing your skill and increasing your experience you could count, in your head.

Remember these?

one Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi, etc...


one battleship, two battleship, three battleship, etc...

one Piccadilly, two Piccadilly, three Piccadilly, etc...


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Old 09-01-2015, 11:48 AM   #6
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I just got this answer back from a cook: "Flipping a piece of meat over and over in a pan is considered poor technique. Doing so makes the protein tough and/or greasy". Well, I learned something new.
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Old 09-01-2015, 11:59 AM   #7
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be careful what you learn....my quick search did not turn up any "famous" names - but someone can probably cite them.

The Food Lab: Flip Your Steaks Multiple Times For Better Results | Serious Eats

Why Constant Flipping is the Key To Perfectly Grilled Meat: And Other Tips! | The Kitchn

another aspect to the topic is a creating a sear / crust vs. a through cooking. I rather often sear a chunk of meat multiple minutes on a side, flipping only once - alternately for big round things once per "side" - before finishing it in the oven. the counterpoint theory to that method is "reverse searing" - do the oven roast first, then remove to a hot pan to sear / crust it up.

I presume you're joking about how to measure three minutes....
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Old 09-01-2015, 12:00 PM   #8
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So just pick up the edge of the meat with your spat and see if it's browned. If yes, flip it, if not, leave it.

Keep this in mind. When you put a piece of met or fish into a hot pan with hot fat, It will initially stick to the pan. As it heats up and starts to cook, it will release on its own. Don't force the issue. Wait until it releases then check/flip it.
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Old 09-01-2015, 12:02 PM   #9
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I presume you're joking about how to measure three minutes....
No I am not joking and this is a serious question. I understand very experienced cooks may find it a silly question, but I am very new to cooking. I don't know anything about temperatures, thickness, types of pots.. I just know how to make a few dishes.
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Old 09-01-2015, 12:08 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ProCuisine View Post
No I am not joking and this is a serious question. I understand very experienced cooks may find it a silly question, but I am very new to cooking. I don't know anything about temperatures, thickness, types of pots.. I just know how to make a few dishes.

You can easily measure time with a wind up timer or a phone app.

But Andy's right, it's not good technique to use 3 min for everything. Cook by doneness not time.
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Old 09-01-2015, 12:30 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ProCuisine View Post
On most cooking videos, chefs always mention you should fry meat or fish for 3 minutes on each side.

How do I practically measure how long 3 minutes is?
What if I don't want to use any type of timing device but I just want to base those 3 minutes off of experience?
I don't want to keep flipping over the food periodically to check its color/texture/readiness because that seems inefficient.

Any tips on how to measure those 3 minutes.. or better said: how to know it's time to flip the food over?

Thanks.
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Old 09-01-2015, 12:34 PM   #12
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as pointed out, timers are available. leave it in the drawer.

as pointed out, with proper temp proteins release from the pan when they are ready to flip. forcing them too soon involves scraping them off the pan - and that almost always makes a mess of it. just grab the handle and shake the pan a bit - you see when the meat/fish comes loose.

there is one very important note for fish - especially skin on: the pan and oil must be hot, and the fish surface must to be dry. and, when it applies, do fish & poultry skin side down first.

moisture+proteins+heat = glue
beef/pork/poultry you can get away with some moisture - not with fish - you will very definitely tear up the fish trying to flip it.
I use a paper towel to dry the fish immediately prior to putting it in the pan - as "while in the air headed for the pan"

btw, the flip many times theory does not apply to frying fish.
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Old 09-01-2015, 12:34 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ProCuisine View Post
I just got this answer back from a cook: "Flipping a piece of meat over and over in a pan is considered poor technique. Doing so makes the protein tough and/or greasy". Well, I learned something new.
Overcooking makes protein tough. Using too much fat makes it greasy.
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Old 09-01-2015, 12:46 PM   #14
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Like anything new you'll eventually develop a "feel" for it. You'll instinctively know when to flip it. That's when you know you've got it. It is a cool feeling...
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Old 09-01-2015, 01:00 PM   #15
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Using this 3 minute rule can, and most likely will, lead to food poisoning when it comes to chicken, pork, most fish, and shellfish. When in doubt of cooking time, ask here, look in cookbooks, type in "meat or fish cooking times" in Google and read, and read again, then apply the advice and common sense and VOILA ! After a while, it will be second nature to you.

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Old 09-01-2015, 01:31 PM   #16
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I almost felt sorry for that big thick beautiful rib eye in the first video!

I know to each their own, but for me, I just can't bring myself to multi-flip. I turn it over when I see the little beads of red juices being pushed to the top of the steak - the steak is almost always nicely crusted on the other side by then.

Also, just as an aside - I think that steak was WAY overseasoned and messed with. A good rib eye with s & p has plenty of flavor without the 'rub' he heavily sprinkled on it which IMO, looked burned by the time he plated it. I'd rather let the Maillard reaction naturally do it's thing rather than false browning with multiple pats of butter and an over amount of seasoning.

ProCuisine, welcome to DC! As others have said, disregard the 3 minutes rule you've read - you'll get the hang of cooking with practice. And remember to take your meat/fish/chicken off the heat just before you think it's done, and let it rest. Carryover heat will continue to cook it.
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Old 09-01-2015, 02:35 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ProCuisine View Post
... snipped how to know it's time to flip the food over?

Thanks.
I've watched many You Tube, etc videos on many different tips and techniques, I find that they are very helpful and amusing in some cases.
But then I'm a visual type of person... just reading words on a page don't stick for me.
Just a thought...
Oh and welcome to DC.
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Old 09-01-2015, 03:15 PM   #18
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Old 09-01-2015, 07:23 PM   #19
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Flip when it doesn't stick. I don't care what kind of protein you are cooking, this is what I learned cooking for the
food photographer. Patience
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Old 09-02-2015, 07:38 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
Keep this in mind. When you put a piece of met or fish into a hot pan with hot fat, It will initially stick to the pan. As it heats up and starts to cook, it will release on its own. Don't force the issue. Wait until it releases then check/flip it.
Excellent info. Thanks for sharing your knowledge! I am learning a lot here.
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