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Gas Stove + Cast Iron + Frying Steak = Smoke in the house!

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[OP]
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Jun 9, 2011
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Gas Stove + Cast Iron + Frying Steak = Smoke in the house!

background:
21 000 BTU Gas stove
Lodge/Calphalon Cast Iron Skillet/pan
36" wide 600 CFM chimney Range hood w/ 6" duct
9'-0" ceiling entire floor
1" thick Costco steak/Rib eye/tenderloin~
Grape seed oil and Butter + dry garlic
Photoelectric Sensor Smoke Alarm

my steak is marinated w/ salt and pepper (sometimes montreal spice)
i turned on my stove high, and the Cast Iron is screaming HOT for 5minutes!
used very little grape seed oil,
frying the steak, flip it every 3 minutes
melting butter and garlic on top to finish
and my whole entire ground floor is smoked up to the ceiling
Smoke alarm doesn't come on as often after i swapped out Builder's cheap smoke alarm w/ a photoelectric one

smoky house, but beautiful and tasty well seared Medium Rare meat


What am i doing wrong, please advise~

when my wife fry a steak w/ a non-stick pan, no smoke......she prefer not to use the CI, since it's too heavy...
34 replies
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Jun 8, 2005
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Grapeseed oil has a lowish smoke point (390). If you're heating your pan to above that temp, it will smoke. Try an oil with a higher smoke point (peanut oil) or forgo the oil altogether, making sure that your cast iron pan is seasoned properly beforehand.
[OP]
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�� wrote: Grapeseed oil has a lowish smoke point (390). If you're heating your pan to above that temp, it will smoke. Try an oil with a higher smoke point (peanut oil) or forgo the oil altogether, making sure that your cast iron pan is seasoned properly beforehand.
i thought 400F is quite adequate, but i may try other oils like avocado oil..

MY pans were all seasoned after purchased, +500F in oven, seasoned w/ layers of beef fat....then used for multiple times....
my skillets and pan doesn't stick

a co-worker j/ told me, i should turn down the fire to medium once i lay the steak down.....and turn off the fire when i apply butter and garlic.....

i'm gonna try that~
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yellowmp5 wrote: i thought 400F is quite adequate, but i may try other oils like avocado oil..

MY pans were all seasoned after purchased, +500F in oven, seasoned w/ layers of beef fat....then used for multiple times....
my skillets and pan doesn't stick

a co-worker j/ told me, i should turn down the fire to medium once i lay the steak down.....and turn off the fire when i apply butter and garlic.....

i'm gonna try that~
If they're seasoned, why use cooking oil at all?

Butter has a lower smoke point than grapeseed oil. If you're going to baste in butter (the whole point for cooking steak in cast iron really) then you'll have to turn down the heat or risk burning it.
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Sep 18, 2009
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�� wrote: If they're seasoned, why use cooking oil at all?

Butter has a lower smoke point than grapeseed oil. If you're going to baste in butter (the whole point for cooking steak in cast iron really) then you'll have to turn down the heat or risk burning it.
Oil or clarified butter (ghee) is necessary to to form a crust on the steak(s).

OP, the crust should take 1 minute per side, without too much smoke. Then finish in a pre-heated 480 F oven
for a few minutes until the internal temperature is 120 F or whatever you prefer.
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Aug 22, 2006
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yellowmp5 wrote: What am i doing wrong, please advise~
Nothing. To build a good crust you're not doing it right unless the smoke alarm goes off.

EDIT: This is why I'm tempted to put my smoke alarm on those bathroom timers. Except instead of turning on for an hour I can turn it off for an hour.

when my wife fry a steak w/ a non-stick pan, no smoke......she prefer not to use the CI, since it's too heavy...
This is doing it wrong. Non stick can only hit X temperature before becoming dangerous.
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Dec 3, 2004
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Use regular refined olive oil. It has the 3rd highest boiling temp of 365 F/240 degrees celcius versus 390 F/195 degrees celcius of your grapeseed oil. (Extra Virgin Olive oil is another type of olive oil altogether, and has a very low boiling point.)

Use the chart for this article for your reference:

http://www.seriouseats.com/2014/05/cook ... atter.html
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Sep 2, 2008
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Do you turn your heat down after getting the steak in the pan? You don't need to blast it the entire way through.
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jayt90 wrote: Oil or clarified butter (ghee) is necessary to to form a crust on the steak(s).

OP, the crust should take 1 minute per side, without too much smoke. Then finish in a pre-heated 480 F oven
for a few minutes until the internal temperature is 120 F or whatever you prefer.
Used this method all the time when I lived in a condo, worked great, really kept the smoke down. My oven only went to 450, usually left it in for 5-7 minutes depending on the thickness.
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Nov 20, 2008
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Reverse sear or sous vide is better, preheat the steak to a few degrees below medium rare then sear at high hear. Your range hood isn't powerful enough, 600CFM is the bare minimum for gas ranges.
[OP]
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thanks for all the advises, i'm going to try the "turn down the heat" method first, if that doesn't work, i'm gonna try the reverse sear...
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Sep 2, 2008
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yellowmp5 wrote: thanks for all the advises, i'm going to try the "turn down the heat" method first, if that doesn't work, i'm gonna try the reverse sear...
Be sure to blast the heat when heating the pan. Once you drop the steak, you can turn the heat down since the pan retains a ton of heat in it. Keep an eye on it and adjust heat as you see fit.
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yellowmp5 wrote: thanks for all the advises, i'm going to try the "turn down the heat" method first, if that doesn't work, i'm gonna try the reverse sear...
Reverse sear makes for a much better steak. Not sure why you'd do that as a last resort.
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Aug 22, 2006
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Strider wrote: Reverse sear makes for a much better steak. Not sure why you'd do that as a last resort.
This. You need really high heat to develop a crust.
Reverse searing dries out the outside which aids in crust development.

This is the first (and basically only) method you should be using to cook a steak.
Sous Vide is a variation on this.
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Are cast-iron skillets safe to use on electric stoves? I recently gave a new Lodge cast-iron pan as a gift. I'm hoping both the pan and stove don't get ruined on an electric range.
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Mr_Fanta wrote: Are cast-iron skillets safe to use on electric stoves? I recently gave a new Lodge cast-iron pan as a gift. I'm hoping both the pan and stove don't get ruined on an electric range.
Yes. But more importantly, how could a puny electric burner hurt a enormous hunk of solid cast iron metal?
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Jul 11, 2009
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I have lots of experience in this (this happened to me to before I saw the light) and can answer your question.

Contrary to what we would all love to believe, nuking the hell outta a steak with full throttle on your big ass range and tank like cast iron skillet isn't gonna make the steak any better. We all love the crust, but we are governed by the chemistry.

Like CSAgent posted, Get your self some good oil, like safflower oil available at any non-discount supermarket (smoke point of maybe 510°F) and
an infrared thermometer (crappy tire has them on sale a few times a year for < $ 20). e.g. http://www.canadiantire.ca/en/pdp/infra ... aflrp3D-70
heat the oil to 500°F and cook the steak.

keep the oil temp at 500°F and absolutely no higher, and you won't generate any smoke from no oil burning (& making all those nasty free radically carcinogens)

the more oil, the better the crust. flip every 30 seconds

get your self a superfast thermopen instant read thermometer and remove from the skillet at 125°F for medium rare. don't forget to rest the steak for 5-10 minutes. u can add the butter on top and clean the counter top and floor from all the grease splatter while waiting. i'd recommend not adding pepper until after cook (pepper will burn).

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�� wrote: Yes. But more importantly, how could a puny electric burner hurt a enormous hunk of solid cast iron metal?
Was more worried about the cast-iron pan ruining the element on the electric stove.
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JimU wrote: Contrary to what we would all love to believe, nuking the hell outta a steak with full throttle on your big ass range and tank like cast iron skillet isn't gonna make the steak any better.
I should clarify a little as this is a TERRIBLE way to cook a steak from start to finish. For crust development though (after let's say the oven for reverse searing or SV)? I nuke it with as much fire as I can throw on it.
the more oil, the better the crust. flip every 30 seconds
This is very important as well. You essentially want to shallow fry your steak.
Or better yet, deep fry it.
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Mr_Fanta wrote: Was more worried about the cast-iron pan ruining the element on the electric stove.
If you have a coil element, I wouldn't worry about it. Even if you did somehow (which I don't think is possible) they're cheap to replace.
Now... if you have one of those smooth glass topped stoves that are stupid then yes you can wreck the surface, which includes breaking it.
I'd start saving up for a non-stupid stove at that point.

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