When to flip when sauteing or pan-frying?

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laorulez

Assistant Cook
Joined
Apr 21, 2009
Messages
17
When I took a cooking-class the instructor said to trust nature, or something to that effect, when timing the flip of the meat. She showed us that when it was not time yet, the meat would be very hard to budge and would not move. When it was time to flip, the meat would be very easy to budge and would not stick to the pan.

Well lately, when I have been pan-frying chicken breasts, they do not want to budge no matter how long I let it fry! I have to force it which results in, sometimes, broken up meat. What is going on? Tx...
 

GB

Chief Eating Officer
Joined
Jul 14, 2004
Messages
25,510
Location
USA,Massachusetts
You are either not using enough heat or you are not using enough fat or a combination of both. You instructor was correct, but without the needed heat and fat the meat will stick no matter what.

What kind of pan are you using (stainless steel, Teflon, Cast Iron, etc)? How hot do you have your heat?
 

laorulez

Assistant Cook
Joined
Apr 21, 2009
Messages
17
You are either not using enough heat or you are not using enough fat or a combination of both. You instructor was correct, but without the needed heat and fat the meat will stick no matter what.

What kind of pan are you using (stainless steel, Teflon, Cast Iron, etc)? How hot do you have your heat?

I am using stainless steel I guess. I bought a box of Essentials cooking pots and pans from Macy's for like $30. Cheapest thing out there.

Actually one thing I have noticed is that when I use a lot of oil, the meat really sticks to the pan, whereas if I do not use a lot of oil, the meat doesn't stick as much. Or am I just imagining things?

I put the dial right in the middle on medium after the oil has heated up because I noticed if I use high heat I tend to char the meat. I don't like the char. I heard it is carcinogenic.
 

SNPiccolo5

Senior Cook
Joined
May 31, 2006
Messages
130
Location
Chicago, soon to be Boston
I've found there is usually a little bit of sticking. For me, especially with chicken, it rarely slides around.

That said, and as GB alluded to, there are some things you can do.

First, make sure your meat is dry -- use paper towels to pat it dry. If it's wet, it might stick.

Second, use enough oil. It should lightly coat the pan. My current stove isn't level, which can cause problems, but they're bearable. I find a tablespoon us enough for a 12" pan. I could probably use 2 tsp, even.

Third, preheat your pan without the oil, then add the oil, swirl it around, and then add the meat. Some people say that when you heat the ss, it expands and closes the metal's pores. I'm not sure how it actually works, but I know it does work for me.

Last, sometimes it will stick. This is good if you're making a pan sauce because the brown bits left in the pan are flavorful.

Hopefully this makes sense.

Cheers,
Tim
 

SoupDragon

Assistant Cook
Joined
Jan 17, 2009
Messages
40
Location
Wales
I tend to have the heat quite high before adding the oil. Once you get a good sizzle turn the heat down to medium and continue cooking. Nothing sticks for me when using this method. I would say a good quality heavy based pan should make a significant difference.
 

expatgirl

Master Chef
Joined
Mar 27, 2006
Messages
5,584
Location
Texas girl living in Kazakhstan
try spraying the breasts with bit of the spray oil (I'm assuming that you're frying without the skin on) and pure olive oil in the pan.......that will help and if at all possible use a nonstick fry pan......good luck!!!
 

Mimizkitchen

Head Chef
Joined
Apr 11, 2010
Messages
1,607
Location
Florida
I tend to have the heat quite high before adding the oil. Once you get a good sizzle turn the heat down to medium and continue cooking. Nothing sticks for me when using this method. I would say a good quality heavy based pan should make a significant difference.

I totally agree with you.. I never have a problem with things sticking as long as my pan is hot enough..
 

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