Hard anodized + high heat searing?

cuttervonwifflepuffMarch 1, 2008

My husband wants to sear our steaks on high heat on a pan on the stove before popping them in the oven..... he used my cheap Teflon coated skillet to do this, and the high heat ruined the Teflon, as well as made the steaks *taste* like Teflon. Not to mention the smoke (fumes?) this produced. The pan went into the garbage. No more Teflon!

So, now I need a new pan to sear steaks in on high heat. I was thinking about cast iron, and that's certainly an option, but what's really caught my eye is hard anodized pans. Are they okay for high heat searing? How hot is the "high" heat setting on my smooth-top stove, anyway? I've been looking at the Circulon Infinite, which is oven safe to 500*, not that I'm intending to use it in the oven, but I'd think that it would mean it'd survive high heat searing. What do you think?

I've also been drooling over the Kirkland (Costco) Hard Anodized set and the Circulon Commercial 2 set (also available at my local Costco), but I don't know if those would be okay for high heat. They don't say on the outside of the box, at least not that I've noticed.

Any opinions are appreciated. I'm banging my head on a wall... just as I think, "Fine, I'm just gonna buy this and be done with it", I doubt my choice and go over the whole searching out my options all over again.

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antiquesilver

Anodization is not a coating & so far as I know, isn't affected by heat.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2008 at 8:34PM
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alexrander

If the inside does not have any non-stick coating, it will work, but it may warp. The thicker the aluminum, the better, Dan has said that 'cast' aluminum is better. And you want the pan really hot before you throw the steak in. Aluminum pans that have an inside of stainless seem to keep their shape.

Both of the brands you mention use a 'Teflon' equivalent, so they would not be good for high heat.. if they use the word non-stick, that's basically the same stuff as Teflon.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2008 at 8:52PM
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deanb

Hard anodized cookware is great for a lot of things but searing on high heat isn't one of them. You just can't beat cast iron for that task.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2008 at 9:59PM
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alexrander

I've been reading that all Hard Anodized pans have non-stick coatings as well. They don't have to, of course, but they do. And heating non-stick type material is not good at temperatures above 500 degrees. I left a horrible link on a similar topic in this forum. Here's another article I linked to from the Environmental Working Group.

Here is a link that might be useful: non-stick dangers

    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 12:46AM
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cuttervonwifflepuff

Cast iron it is, for the high heat searing pan! Thanks for all your input.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 5:16PM
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alexrander

Stainless tri-ply is fine too. Like All Clad, or Demeyere fry pans. Any aluminum or copper pan that has stainless on the inside cooking surface will work well.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 7:53PM
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cuttervonwifflepuff

I'm rather iffy about the stainless pans, and I base this on my experience with ONE pan, which is awful, I know. When DH and I joined households, he had a stainless pan that had burnt gunk stuck to it (now that I think of it, that gunk might have been steak juices!). And I scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed that pan, but that "stuff" wouldn't budge, it was like a stain. We never used that pan for the 6 years we had it. I'm sure not all stainless pans will have burned-on-gunk on them, but that one stinkin' pan turned me off stainless forever, LOL!

    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 9:20PM
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danab_z9_la

There is a form of high heat searing known as "Blackening" (not bronzing...which is a similar technique done at a somewhat lower temperature). The blackening technique was invented by a local Cajun chef....Paul Prudhomme. Properly blackened red fish is to die for. It is so good that Redfish actually became an over-fished species due to the country's high demand for this dish. Very restrictive fishing regulations had to be adopted to save this fish. Blackened rib eye steaks too are absolutely fantastic. You really have to put the heat to the pan to get a real blackened effect. Stainless steel pans will not work for true blackening of steaks. Only cast iron can take the heat that is necessary to do this properly. Cast iron blackens the steak while stainless steel pans "burn" the steak. Blackened is wonderful.....burnt is garbage.

Some stainless steels when heated too hot also will develop a blue/gray stain on the pan bottom than cannot be removed from the pan. You sometimes see this type stain develop when a stainless pan is heated too long at a high temperature when nothing is in the pan. I have seen some instructions in the past that cautioned against heating an empty pan too long. I do not recall the manufacturer who had this caution in their instructions.

Stainless steel surfaces also can act to catalyse the polymerization of certain oils. It is the composition of the metals contained in stainless steel that makes this happen. Ever put Pam cooking spray on one of your stainless steel pans only to have that pan develop an extremely difficult to remove stain?? Stainless steel turns PAM into polymers and is why you shouldn't use it on stainless.

This is not to say that stainless steel pans aren't good. But from my considerable experience, when it comes to the high heat searing of steaks......cast iron is simply better suited.

Dan

    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 11:42PM
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alexrander

I'll take back the term 'stainless' because there are so many poor stainless pans that do burn. But I've had my copper fry pans (lined with stainless on the inside) exceedingly hot without any problems. I would assume aluminum lined with stainless would be the same. This would be the 'clad' type, where the aluminum or copper goes all the way up the sides.

Someday I'll buy that cast-iron fry pan and season it the way dan says.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2008 at 12:56AM
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awm03

My experience with aluminum pans, even thick cast aluminum, is that they warp from extreme temperature changes. That's why I don't buy aluminum cookware anymore.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2008 at 12:24PM
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kenzo

hmm happy to see this thread because I was thinking of filling a gap with hard anodized but I am going to put it in the NO catagory with the rest of the "non stick"

cast iron is definitley the way to go for perfromance. Enameled cast iron will do high heat well butyou may discolor it (I dont worry... if its clean im cool marks from wear and use I live with)

that said on the stainless issue quality is key. I have done horrible things to DeMeyere pans and they come out the other end beautiful. If I can affiord it I will get myself some again (lost to the x)The asian made Cuisinart i have now cook fine but I have to scrub them much harder and they permanetly mark much more easily. Those DeMeyere had a finish I couldn't hurt and I am hard on stuff. I miss them.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2008 at 11:59AM
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