Keeping it simple

Many of the app recipes, like steak and salmon, call for searing the food in a pan on the stovetop, which leaves you with something else to clean. How come the broiling capabilities of the upper element are not used, as it is in the ribs recipe?

I’ve actually got a grill on my Jenn-Air cooktop, and can put stuff on that to brown with a torch, but it seems like more could be done just within the APO.

Hey Brothers, it’s your choice of less cleaning or more quality.

Contact heat in a pan provides more effective searing than oven broiling that may overcook your already cooked food.

A torch can be effective when used by a skilled cook as you can easily observe searing progress that’s difficult to do in an oven.

Great question! Here is a longgg answer: The Oven can sear meats, but we don’t always recommend that you use it this way. When searing steak, you want to get the outside of the steak really hot, really fast. “Really hot” because the Maillard reactions that create the color and flavors we’re after happen at temperatures above 350F, and “really fast” to ensure the high heat doesn’t have time to overcook the interior. The oven has a 1600W top broiler element, which is very powerful for a countertop device. However, broiling relies on radiant heat transfer - that is, it uses the infrared radiation from the heating element to heat up the food. And, while radiant heating can be quite powerful, it’s slow compared to heat transfer via conduction. That’s why, on a grill, the parts of a steak that are touching the grill grates turn dark brown much faster than the parts that aren’t. For thin steaks, or for any thin, lean meat, radiant heating just takes too long to turn the outside golden brown and gives the heat too much time to work its way inward. So, for those foods, we suggest stovetop searing (or deep frying, or blowtorching) to finish (See Steak 101 for example). But for thicker meats that can take the heat, or foods with a fat cap or skin, the Oven does a great job producing a golden brown crust (See Prime Rib 101, or Chicken Leg 101).

Great explanation Avova!
Isn’t it surprising how little some people actually think about their cooking in our app-based culinary world?

But what about Brothers’ cleaning issue?
Consider that if Brothers is using a cast iron pan for searing, simply place the steak on a large enough piece of aluminum foil and sear in the pan on the foil. Aluminum is an excellent conductor and withstands high temperatures.

The only drawback is that aluminum is essentially congealed electricity with it’s associated unfavourable environmental impact, - but the pan stays clean or only needs splatters to be wiped away with paper towel.

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Wow, really? I never thought of lining my cast iron with aluminum foil for easy cleanup, although I do this for all my baking/sheet pan items. This is mind blowing! Any downsides to this?

Hi Cynd, you’ll often encounter downsides when you are fully aware of what you are doing and using. Use your best fact-based judgement.

As an example, for the suggestion of searing a steak on foil it isn’t amenable to making a pan sauce to serve with steak. That could be a downside.

Also avoid using foil in contact with acidic foods unless you have been advised to increase your aluminum consumption.
If you value your brain, i wouldn’t.

In the short time required to sear a steak it likely isn’t potentially harmful, but my cast iron pan takes less than a minute to clean, - just a wipe and a rinse, so i wouldn’t bother using the foil.

And besides, i’m a frugal cook that detests waste.
Don’t need it, - don’t use it.