Searing for beginners

I do not have one of these but if I were you I would get a couple of nice chicken breasts and try it. What is the worse that can happen? The skin will not be crispy enough but the meat would be great.

I’ve seen reference earlier to some using non-stick skillets to sear and not getting results. One thing I didn’t see mentioned is non-stick coatings are usually destroyed above 450 degrees or so. A pan hot enough to sear quickly will get much hotter than that.


I have found using a heat gun is perfect for searing! Nothing to clean, is fast and very controllable! Temperature up to 1300* searing is fast and no smoke in the kitchen!

Can i use a torch on a le creuset skillet? I do not want to destroy the coating.

What other alternative like the type of material of tray which you can use to sear the steak using torch? Does stainless steal tray able to withstand the head of the torch?

John, why are you using some type of torch on a skillet. There are easier ways to heat it, like your cooktop.

Why not place the steak on a rack set over an aluminum foil covered sheet pan and then apply your torch?

Never ever use soap & water on a cast iron skillet. It ruins it. I use a stiff bristle brush and kosher or large grain salt to scrub and brush the skillet after cooking, rinse with water and immediately dry, apply a thin coat of olive or canola oil and rub in. These are instructions that come with Lodge cast iron cooking utensils.

Hi @foodmedic,

You might be surprised by this (I know I was), but apparently the “no soap and water or you’ll ruin the non stick surface of your cast iron” has been found to be an old wives tail! While the fact that soap removes fats and oils from dishes - thus making it seem to make sense that it would remove that non-stick seasoned surface from your pan - it doesn’t remove the “polymerized” oil that makes up the seasoned surface of cast iron pans. So a little soap and water actually won’t hurt. Surprised the heck out of me.
That said, the steps you give work perfectly well, and it’s how I treat my pan - with the added step that I follow drying my pan with reheating it a bit just to be sure all the water on its surface has evaporated! What I’m trying to get at is that for those who don’t feel comfortable not using a little soapy water to clean their pan you don’t have to panic. You can use a little soap and water (be gentle) - and follow the steps Rick listed above as well. That little bit of oil you rub on keeps the oxygen (thus the rust) away - so wipe it on the whole pan, not just the cooking surface.

Good luck!

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Mirozen is correct, the never use soap on cast iron is culinary folklore and bunk.

The tough polymerized coating on cast iron pans resists normal cleaning agents like a dish detergents or soap. (Who uses soap these days?) Just don’t use an abrasive, except salt, which can scratch the surface away.

To best maintain your pan, rather than using olive oil, heat on high and wipe on a thin film of high temperature tolerant oil (canola, corn, flax, etc.) after cleaning and drying your pan.

If I cook chicken, or steak, on Sunday, put in the fridge (still sealed in the bag?) should I SV them back to temp before searing/grilling or just an hour on the counter? Thanks!

K, (yes, still sealed), - and yes.
Same for every day of the week.

Just an hour on the counter doesn’t seem to be consciously competent cooking.

i suggest you critically think about each of your unique meals and your expected outcome for it. Thinking about each step backwards from service should reveal the details you need to use, chicken or steak. It will soon become a habit.

Most folks expect hot food to be hot and that’s about 130F.
What’s your expectation?

You may have missed the frequent Community discussions here on reheating SV cooked items. You probably want to avoid aggressive searing/grilling that potentially overcooks your previously perfectly cooked food.

Chat, “consciously competent”? What are you talking about?

Simple question - To sear from cold do I bring to room temp (the incompetent way) or get out my SV and bring back to SV temp?

Service is chopped up in a rice bowl or salad, probably microwaved for the bowl.

If “aggressively searing…perfectly cooked food” is to be avoided why does virtually every SV steak/chicken/pork recipe call for it? I would like a char on my chicken and couldn’t get to that last night. Hence my question.

I did not look up reheating discussions. Thanks.

K, i’m talking about first thinking about your planned end-use of previously cooked food. That influences the selection of your finishing method which you thankfully demonstrated. To be done competently it required your prior thought and know-how in making the best choice for your intended food product use.
That’s all.

I haven’t seen any recipes calling for charring, but i don’t often use them. For charred chicken, which i consider to be aggressive or prolonged searing, - as in going beyond achieving the Maillard reaction, you could likely be applying enough heat to sufficiently reheat your cooked chicken.

You may already be aware that the production of potentially harmful mutagens can be significantly increased with prolonged heating at temperatures over 300F/150C, - as in charring. With every subsequent 50F increase in temperature the production of mutagens doubles.

You might find it useful to know the folks at America’s Test Kitchen recommend enhanced browning by using a pinch of baking soda with a thin film of a corn syrup, or similar source of fructose or glucose. Just a little now, i don’t mean you should make a glaze. The result is an enhanced roast meat flavour and aroma without the associated bitterness of burned meat.

Lately a lot of SV cooks are using the old grill cook’s trick of using mayonnaise on food to enhance browning.

If you plan to reheat cooked food by using a microwave oven, reheating by using the SV technique would be redundant.

Is this a Prime Rib?

Has anyone mayo seared pork chops?

It’s a random photo selected to illustrate browning of the fat matrix, but it looks like it could be.

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Agreed. I have three 100±year-old Griswold cast iron skillets. All have excellent seasoning, and all are washed with Dawn and hot water. The seasoning is polymerized onto the skillet–dish detergent can’t take that off! Don’t overdo it, of course. And when you’re done washing it, dry it thoroughly and put it on the stovetop for a couple of minutes to get it hot. Then put a tiny amount of oil in the pan and wipe it around with a paper towel, and you’re done!

Garden, if you have used your oven for the meal it will have enough residual heat to thoroughly dry your Griswalds after washing.

I use the best of both worlds – a cast iron pan and a “flame thrower”. Of course, you have to use it outdoors.There’s a ribeye steak sitting in that cast iron pan! Picture taken at night as you can see.


I’ve just tried this but failed. I used my Anova to cook a steak sous vide at 53.9 °C and then used the manual mode of the Optigrill to sear it. Although I had set the Optigrill to the highest temperature, it took more than 3 minutes to achieve a half decent sear. By that time, my Thermapen instant thermometer gave me a reading of 64 °C internal temperature. The steak was cooked and seared but too stiff and firm, so I thought it a waste of time.

What a disappointment and waste of food too. Isn’t Optigrill made for automated raw meat cooking?

I’ve never used an Optigrill and wouldn’t if searing takes more than 3 minutes. That’s cooking, not searing, and your Medium-Well Done outcome proves it.

It’s been my experience that domestic “clamshell” style grills can’t get hot enough to properly sear cooked meat quickly.

What’s your Plan B?