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Morkai

Pan Searing

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Tonight for dinner, I am planning on marinating some lamb rib chops in EVOO, garlic, rosemary, a bit of lemon. Then, I plan on drying the chops, seasoning with salt and pepper, and pan searing them in a hot cast iron pan. I was thinking of broiling them, but I find home broiling to be woefully inadequate to the ultra-high BTU versions found in restaurants.

When talking to my father, I found we had a disagreement on the proper way to sear meat. He states that you should always add a small amount of oil (olive or vegetable) to the pan. I claim that the proper method is no oil at all - Dry hot cast iron pan, and add the meat. This way, the meat is actually "searing" to the pan, and releases when ready to flip. To me, if you add oil you are really just lightly frying the meat instead of properly searing it.

Anyone else have any thought on proper searing methods? Anyone noticed a difference in the way the meat comes out with or without oil?

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The idea behind the addition of the oil is to improve heat transfer from the pan to the steak in places where the steak does not quite touch the surface. With a well-marbled steak you're going to get rendered fat relatively quickly which serves that purpose, lessening the need for the addition of oil. One of the advantages of using oil is that you don't have to wait for the steak to release to flip it, allowing you to flip it many times during cooking (resulting in more even cooking, contrary to mythology).


Chris Hennes
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I will generally just add my salt to the pan, then in with the protein.


Its good to have Morels

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Thin, barely perceptible brush of oil on meat then into ungreased hot skillet.


Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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The best sears I've ever acheived have been in a dry pan, with pre-salted sreaks. However, the temperature of the pan was about 765 degrees f (cast iron skillet on a grill - pan seasoning ruined :laugh: ).

At stove-top temps, I'm finding that I prefer the results with a bit of oil.

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I like a tiny bit of oil except when searing steaks. But...the oil should be one with as high a smoke point as possible; in my case, I use grapeseed oil for this purpose, usually rubbing it on with a bit of clean cotton cloth.


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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When I'm searing a steak that has been cooked sous vide, I use a dry cast iron pan with the heat cranked up all the way, and then at the same time sear the top with a MAP torch, then flip it over and continue to sear.

The marbling on the steak releases enough fat so that the steak doesn't stick, and the torch speeds up the process.

I don't like to use oil, because my range hood isn't good enough and the oil gets all over the house.

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If the steak is already cooked SV then you aren't worried about getting even cooking and/or flipping the steak often, so yeah, in that case I don't see the need for oil. But if you want to flip the steak 15 seconds after tossing it cold and raw into the pan, I find that a bit of oil helps it release.


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Last night I cooked two well marbled steaks in a non-stick grill pan. I seasoned well about 1.5 hr. before with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Put the steaks in once the pan heated up on med-high setting. No oil and did not turn till steak pulled away from bottom. Very nice char and taste.

I've ordered this grill/griddle several days ago and I think it will give an even better taste.


Edited by Aloha Steve (log)

edited for grammar & spelling. I do it 95% of my posts so I'll state it here. :)

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Hmmm, I'll have to try less oil sometime. But plenty of oil (even up to 1/4 inch) always gave me great results throughout my career. Sorry for the obligatory fancy pants photos...

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5965333940_d9aa1f7375_z.jpg


Edited by ScottyBoy (log)

Sleep, bike, cook, feed, repeat...

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Your pictures said it much more eloquently than I could have. More oil will give the food a much better contact with the heat allowing you a more even sear. Especially if you are using less than ideal (or flat) food service equiptment!

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It's one of the things I tell my clients after the meal while talking food over a glass of wine. "It's not like the oil or fat is going to jump out of your pan and onto your plate". Especially with more novice cooks, more oil will = less stick and it might make them a bit more comfortable.


Sleep, bike, cook, feed, repeat...

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I do many of my steaks pan fried and add a little oil, seems to give a more even sear as stated above.

Heck, I even add a little oil when cooking bacon in a pan, although, usually I use a baking sheet and do it in the oven.


And I want a table for two and a chicken for eight o'clock.

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More oil gives a different type of browning, closer to deep frying.

Exactly, I'm looking to get a nice brown crust on it. I think of the darker stuff as "charring". Which has it's benefits in certain applications. As apposed to "Scorched".


Sleep, bike, cook, feed, repeat...

Chef Facebook HQ Menlo Park, CA

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you aren't eating all of that oil, just cooking with it. Let the steak or meat rest on a quarter sheet pan with a rack after for a couple minutes and you are ready to go.

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you aren't eating all of that oil, just cooking with it. Let the steak or meat rest on a quarter sheet pan with a rack after for a couple minutes and you are ready to go.

And, as a bonus, it seems to me like all that extra oil makes the rendering of the fat in the meat a little bit more efficient, giving you an ultimately lower fat product than if you had cooked it in a dry pan.


PS: I am a guy.

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