There’s nothing quite like the sound and aroma of sizzling food on a hot pan.
However, when that sizzling turns to smoking, it’s not such a pleasant experience.
Smoking pans not only affect the taste and quality of your food but can also be a health hazard.
Smoke from overheated oil contains harmful chemicals that can cause respiratory problems and even cancer.
If you want to avoid this, it’s essential to learn how to stop your pan from smoking.
Here, we’ll share some tips and tricks for achieving perfect cooking results without the smoke.
How to stop pan from smoking
The basic idea is to prevent substances such as cooking oil and food on the pan surface from overheating to the point of breakdown and smoke.
Choosing the right cooking oil
Choosing the right cooking oil is crucial to achieving great results in cooking.
While there are many types of cooking oils available in the market, not all of them are suitable for high-heat cooking methods such as frying and sautéing.
Oils with a low smoke point, such as olive oil, butter, and flaxseed oil, should not be used for high-heat cooking as they are prone to break down and release smoke.
Instead, oils with high smoke points, such as palm oil, canola oil, grapeseed oil, avocado oil, and refined coconut oil, are ideal for high-heat cooking.
Apart from the smoke point, other factors to consider when choosing a cooking oil include its nutritional value, flavor, and stability to degrade over time when exposed to light or air.
Therefore, it is essential to understand the properties of different oils and their uses in cooking.
Avoid food sticking on the pan when cooking.
However, choosing the right cooking oil is not enough to achieve perfect cooking results.
One common problem when cooking is food sticking to the pan, which can ruin the taste and texture of the food and cause the pan to release smoke.
To prevent food from sticking to the pan, it is crucial to follow some simple steps.
Firstly, it is recommended to preheat the pan until it reaches around 215 degrees Celsius.
Then, put in the cooking oil and heat it until it starts to lightly smoke.
This process, known as “spot seasoning,” is a way to quickly season the pan each time before cooking.
Preheating the pan is essential to make the tiny pores and gaps on the pan surface expand and let the oil molecules fill up in them, then fully coating the pan surface, preventing the food molecules forming chemical bonding (sticking) with the pan’s metal material.
Another way of keeping the food from sticking to the pan is to keep moving (stirring) the food in the pan.
When food remains static at the same position in the pan, it will get burnt and smoke.
Monitor the pan temperature with a thermometer gun.
To avoid the pan temperature exceeding your cooking oil smoking point, you need to use a thermometer gun to gauge the pan temperature accurately.
Instead of using methods like the drop water test or feeling the pan temperature by hand which lack accuracy, use the thermometer gun to measure the temperature when preheating the pan and during cooking.
Simply aim the gun at the surface of the pan to get an instant reading.
However, using a thermometer gun with a stainless steel pan that has a reflective and shining surface can be challenging.
So, it’s best to use a thermometer gun with adjustable emissivity features.
Controlling the heat setting of the stove.
Controlling the heat setting of the stove is also essential for achieving perfect cooking results.
It is recommended to use a low heat setting for delicate foods such as eggs and fish, medium heat setting for most foods, such as vegetables and meat, and high heat setting for searing and frying.
When the thermometer gun detects the pan overheating, immediately turn the heat setting to the lowest until the pan temperature successfully lowers down, then increase the heat setting slowly until the desired pan temperature.
Using a good quality pan.
Using a good quality pan that can distribute heat evenly is also essential to prevent hot spots and cold spots on its surface.
Uneven heat distribution can cause food to stick to the pan and release smoke.
A good quality pan should have a thick bottom and high conductivity character.
For example, copper or aluminum pans are good in conductivity but chemically active with acidic food.
A thick bottom cast iron pan is able to retain heat but has low heat conductivity.
A multi-clad stainless steel pan constructed by a core of copper or aluminum sandwiched between stainless steel material is a good choice as it has good heat distribution, good heat retention, versatility, stability, and durability.
Keeping Your Pan Clean
As mentioned earlier, keeping your pan clean is essential for preventing food from sticking and ensuring even heat distribution.
Food residue and grease can build up on the pan, causing the food to stick and the pan to heat unevenly.
This can result in smoke being released from the pan.
To keep your pan clean, follow these tips:
a) Allow the pan to cool down before cleaning.
b) Wash the pan with warm soapy water.
c) Use a non-abrasive sponge or brush to clean the pan.
d) Do not use harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners, as they can damage the pan’s surface.
e) Dry the pan thoroughly after cleaning to prevent rust.
Following these tips will help you maintain your pan’s quality and prevent smoke from being released during cooking.
Add cooking oil when necessary.
Another factor that can cause smoking pans is the lack of oil.
When frying, it’s important to use enough oil to coat the food and prevent it from sticking to the pan.
However, over time, the oil may be absorbed by the food or evaporate, leaving the pan dry.
When you notice that the food is starting to stick to the pan, it’s important to add more oil.
A small bottle of oil kept beside the stove can be used to quickly add oil to the pan when necessary.
In conclusion, there are several ways to prevent your pan from smoking while cooking.
One of the most important things to consider is using the right cooking oil with a suitable smoke point.
It’s also important to preheat the pan, use a thermometer gun to monitor the temperature, control the heat setting, use a good quality pan, keep it clean, and add oil when necessary.
By following these tips, you can enjoy delicious, smoke-free meals every time you cook.