Cast Iron pan on gas stove -hot spots

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by masseurchef, Nov 8, 2018 at 7:19 PM.

  1. masseurchef

    masseurchef

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    Recent (1-2 years) culinary school grad, line cook.
    Hi, using my cast iron pan on my gas stove I seem to get really pronounced hot spots, to the point that food cooked on the hot spots will burn while food at the edge is undercooked. I find myself wondering if the pan is warped or my burner is malfunctioning or something. Is this just the way it is when using a cast iron pan on a gas stove at home? The flame is contained to a small area such that a specific spot on the pan gets overheated? Any strategies to address the issue? I was thinking perhaps starting the pan on a high flame such that more of the pan is exposed to flame and gets heated, but then reducing the flame for cooking...
     
  2. brianshaw

    brianshaw

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    What size pan? What size burner? How long are you pre-heating?
     
  3. masseurchef

    masseurchef

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    Recent (1-2 years) culinary school grad, line cook.
  4. brianshaw

    brianshaw

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    Probably not a pan or range burner problem.

    Try preheating more. Bring up to temp low and slow. When pan end of the handle is hot, then crank the heat to desired cooking temp.
     
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  5. Seoul Food

    Seoul Food

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    With my home stove I always have to put pans like that on the "largest" burner for even and faster heating. In the restaurant never had a problem with cast iron. If you are cranking the heat up all the way and still have hot spots I would add some liquid into the pan to see if it pools in any particular direction. It may be your pan or the burner tops may be slightly angled and not flush.
     
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  6. halb

    halb

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    That's the problem with consumer ranges like that. The burners are just a ring of flame while commercial burners will have a pattern of jets that fill in the center also, providing more even heating.

    To further complicate the situation, if you chose a burner with a diameter of flame that is within the bottom of your pan or pot that burner is so low in BTUs that many times it's almost useless. So you leave the fire on and the pattern of flame tends to burn your contents. Put a pan or pot on the largest burner and the flame heats the sides burning the contents there- unless you use a large utensil, then you are back to the above situation.

    This is just the sad state of consumer ranges today. I don't know who they are designed for or by whom, but obviously they never had to use them. I don't know why burners don't have a star or other pattern. They used to many years ago.
     
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  7. sgsvirgil

    sgsvirgil

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    There is probably nothing wrong with your pan. I highly doubt that its warped either. Unless your pan has an inherent defect in the iron, which happens from time to time, there is really no way you're going to warp that pan with home use. Period. There is a much better chance that your stove or floor is not level than your pan being warped.

    The issue you are dealing with is that cast iron cookware do not perform well on low output, residential stoves. This is because cast iron is a terrible heat conductor compared to aluminum or copper or even stainless steel. As a result, the center of the pan where the flame and the iron meet will be far hotter than the edges. Because of the stoves low BTU output, the edges of the pan will never get quite hot enough.

    @brianshaw is 100% spot on......heat the pan low and slow to minimize the hot spots. However, the best way to evenly heat the pan is in the oven.

    But, once the cast iron pan is properly heated, there are very few pans that can match it precisely because of its ability to retain heat, which is pure gold when it comes to cooking, especially when it comes to searing and other things like frying.

    Good luck. :)
     
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  8. french fries

    french fries

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    You could get a heat diffuser:

    [​IMG]
     
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  9. masseurchef

    masseurchef

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    Recent (1-2 years) culinary school grad, line cook.
    These tips are actually helping a lot, thanks everyone. Upon closer inspection, I see that my pan is not sitting flush on the burner, there's nothing I can do about this, but the "low, slow" heating is something I will try, it's not that hard to just put the pan on low flame when you start prepping.
     
  10. masseurchef

    masseurchef

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    cool! I had no idea something like this existed, I will look for one, thanks!
     
  11. brianshaw

    brianshaw

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    The issue of sitting flush on burner is a problem with stove design and GE is one of the worst. I have to continually check and adjust mine. Not a major problem but a real annoyance... especially when not using a lot fat in the pan to compensate for the tilt.

    But not sitting flush isn’t likely to lead to hot spots as you initially indicated. Preheat exactly as you plan to do: pan on low burner, prep... and by the time your ready to cook so will the pan be ready to cook. Just make sure you don’t forget it. I once forgot a cast iron griddle (don’t ask how) and a decade of seasoning burned off. Boy, was I upset!
     
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  12. masseurchef

    masseurchef

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    Seasoning a pan, that is a whole other thread that perhaps we should start...
     
  13. fatcook

    fatcook

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    You can also pre-heat the pan in your oven while prepping.
     
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  14. toddhicks209

    toddhicks209

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    It can help to fully stir your dish occasionally to prevent sticking and isolated burning.
     
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