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Almost burnt my house down today

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by JimmyS1985, Mar 6, 2012.

  1. JimmyS1985

    JimmyS1985 St.Louis Active Member

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    Last night I bought a nice $9, $11 a pound, ribeye steak. Its shameful but Im 26 and never cooked a steak before, but I've recently taken an interest in learning how to cook.

    I spent the morning watching youtube videos including one by Gordan Ramsay that he would be ashamed of me if he read that one of his youtube watchers had this happen to him after watching a video he made.

    The one thing they all emphasized in each video and including an article was if you wanted the steak medium rare, the frying pan needed to be hot, so the outsides of the steak were cooked but the inside was still pink.

    So I made the mistake of making the pan too hot, I set the electric stove to a setting of "8", initially it was "9" but I thought backing it down a notch might be a better idea. One thing my mom tried to ingrain into me was that meat needed lower heat than vegetables but I didn't follow that advice this time.

    So I seasons the steak with salt and pepper, and got the pan really hot. I go to dump in my virgin olive oil, and within 3 seconds the pan has 2 1/2 foot flames shooting out of it. Initially I watched it but then I realized it was burning the microwave directly above the stove, so I took it off, I didn't set it on the floor since I knew it would probably damage the floor. I let it burn off for about 30 seconds and then finally put it in the sink to let it finish burning off the rest of the way. One thing I do recall from boyscouts was in the event of a grease fire, you should let it burn off rather than dump water on it, so atleast one thing from Boyscouts came into use about 10 years since my last boyscout meeting.

    The light coverings suffered from smoke damage, and the dog was afraid of staying upstairs, she went downstairs when she saw the flames. The microwave was covered in carbon residue but not melted. Ive since removed a lot of the carbon so it isn't quite so obvious a fire happened underneath it.

    So after that, I got out another pan, heated it up, this time with a setting of only 6, and instead of dumping oil directly into the pan, I just put it on the steak, and put the steak into the pan, this time, no grease fire. It came out ok, but since alot of the oil had dripped off while transferring it to the pan, the steak did stick a little bit to the pan, and therefore burned. When there was obviously not enough oil in the pan, I threw in 3 slices of butter and that seemed to help a lot.

    It came out good, but not restaurant good which is what I was going for (who could blame me though it was my first try) and the reason it did come out good was because I chose the best piece of meat in the small grocery store to cook.

    So here is what Im going to do next time, Im going to oil the pan just so it won't stick and burn like it did, this time while at a setting between 5/6, but man if Gordon Ramsay saw what just happened after he gave me good directions (albeit nothing on the exact temperature of "hot" is) he would be yelling at me out of the house since I damn near burned down the whole thing. Would of really been screwed if the fire spread since we don't have a fire extinguisher. My only defense was it was my first time trying to cook a steak, unfortunately I have done a lot of damage to my reputation as far as having any future as a cook or chef, still a good story though.

    Im also going to get some type of garlic or herb seasoning to throw on it on top of the salt and pepper.
  2. Redcap

    Redcap Lewis County, WA Well-Known Member

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    I won't admonish you for your first time cooking a steak.

    If you'd like a good starter rub, try some paprika, a little cayenne, coarse ground pepper, onion powder and some minced garlic. Apply it thickly, then rub it into the meat and let it sit for a bit before cooking...15-30min.
  3. JimmyS1985

    JimmyS1985 St.Louis Active Member

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    I did a little of research into it, namely the flash point for the olive oil I was using, which was extra virgin olive oil. Of all the olive oils, extra virgin olive oil has a really low flashpoint, Heres what it said on a forum about it.

    the problem is a definition of "terms" - how hot is "hot"?

    overheated oils (or any fat) starting breaking down with an associated change in flavor - usually not an "improved" flavor

    here's what I found for the 'smoke point' olive oils:

    "Extra virgin olive oil 320F
    High quality (low acidity) extra virgin olive oil 405F
    Virgin olive oil 420
    Extra light olive oil 468F

    taking them past their smoke point is one measure of "too hot"

    I use plain old olive oil everyday for cooking / sauting / frying.
    and yes, inattention to the heating pan produces smoke, odor and icky brown goop in the pan....."

    Im going to buy an olive oil with a higher flash point along with another steak when i go to the grocery store today.
  4. jquirit

    jquirit Forest Grove, OR Member

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    What I found works great for a medium rare steak is a method my brother taught me. Similar method as to what you're using, get a well-seasoned cast-iron frying pan hot. Give the steak a nice sear on each side (maybe a minute on each), and then toss it into a 300 degree oven until required done-ness. That way you won't burn the steak but you'll get that awesome sear and if you have people that like it different done-ness (one person wanting rare, another person medium).. just pull out the rare steak earlier than the medium. As a bonus, you can toss in like sliced onions and bell peppers into the pan when you put the steaks into the oven as well for a nice tasty side.

    I've made similar mistakes as well, but it's from these mistakes we learn. Keep at it and don't let this discourage you, and soon you'll find how to prepare the perfect steak for yourself. :)
    Redcap and (deleted member) like this.
  5. ATCclears

    ATCclears Seattle area, WA Well-Known Member

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    Redcap's recommendation for a steak rub sounds good. I do something similar here in Seattle with a Tom Douglas brand of steak rub.

    Another idea that I use for Filet Mingon. You'll need a cast-iron frying pan for this, or a pan with no plastic parts that can go in the oven.
    - apply a rub to the steak(s), let them sit for a bit
    - turn the oven on to 375F
    - put a cast-iron frying pan on medium heat, let it get warm
    - don't put any oil or butter in the pan
    - put the steak(s) in the pan, cook/sear each side for about 30 seconds
    - leave the steak(s) in the pan and tranfer the pan to the oven
    - cook for 15-19 minutes, depending on how you like your steak done and how thick the steak is
    - double-up on the oven mitts before removing the pan since that sucker will be hot(!)
    - transfer the steak(s) to a plate, cover with a bit of aluminum foil, and let sit for about 10min

    Use this idea to judge how well the meat is done. Don't cut into the meat, just push it a bit with say a set of tongs. You don't want to break the "seal" of the sear and accidentally allow more juices to escape from the steak.
    The Finger Test to Check the Doneness of Meat | Simply Recipes

    The last step of letting the meat "rest" is important since it will reabsorb more of the juices and be more tender/juicy.

  6. Simonpie

    Simonpie Portland Active Member

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    Cooking is chemistry, biology, thermodynamics, and art all rolled into one.

    Baking soda puts out fires pronto. It won't help the art any.

    My french mother, who is an awesome cook, does steaks in butter. It is a lower temp than oil, but I like my steak heated a little deeper than most people. The "burnt outside-raw inside" style isn't my thing.
  7. Toxic6

    Toxic6 Higher then a PDX hipster (~10,000 ft higher) Active Member

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    Whoops, lol.

    I like to soak em in Worcestershire over night, then salt and pepper while cooking. We have one of the griddle cast iron pans with the lines in it - spray with pam or oil it and the steaks usually won't stick.
  8. Cougfan2

    Cougfan2 Hillsboro, OR Well-Known Member

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    One thing you might want to try to learn to get your steak cooked the way you want it is to learn how the steak "feels" when it's cooked the way you like it. I learned when I was cooking in a restaurant when I was in college to take the spatula or cooking fork and press down gently on the top of the steak while it is cooking. The more "give" in the meat, the rarer it is. With a steak that is seared well, you can't often tell my looking at it how done it is, but you can definitely feel it.
  9. bruzer

    bruzer Grants Pass, OR Well-Known Member

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    Glad you and the house and the dog are OK. I was always taught never heat up an empty pan so I always puts my oil in the COLD pan before any heating takes place.
  10. gunnails

    gunnails Hillsboro Active Member

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    To extinguish flame, put a cover over the pan.

    Steaks go on the BBQ.
  11. korntera

    korntera Oregon Member

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    And I thought this was going to be a thread about how you were trying to better see your Meth pipe since your last tree burned down :paranoid:
    unklekippy and (deleted member) like this.
  12. billgrigsby24

    billgrigsby24 Beaverton, Or Active Member

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    Truffle butter is really good on a steak also.
  13. Bigfoot

    Bigfoot Clack Co. OR Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like you are going for the same flavor that I like. I mix equal parts salt, pepper and garlic. Restaurant cooks call it SPG.

    Last year I was reading recipes for KFC Original Recipe and one of the formulas was 2 parts salt, pepper, garlic and 1 part MSG. When used on fried chicken it tastes like KFCs Extra Crispy. It's become my go-to spice on meats.
  14. ericb

    ericb Klamath Falls, OR Active Member

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    When I cook steak, I use a well seasoned cast iron. I don't add any oil, I sprinkle coarse salt (kosher, sea salt, himalayan, etc, as long as it's coarse it works well). Then I get the pan nice and hot, so that it'll give a pretty vicious sizzle when I flop the steak down. Not so hot that it starts to smoke-out the kitchen though. One of my tips for cooking steak is to let it sizzle on each side for a long enough time that you only have to flip it once. After it's done (get a meat thermometer if you cant tell by squishing it a little), let it sit for 10 or so minutes so all the juices don't just bleed out as soon as you cut it.
  15. unklekippy

    unklekippy In The Mountains Near Sprague River Well-Known Member

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    Wait, no one has touched on the real tragedy here. You're TWENTY SIX YEARS OLD AND HAVE NEVER COOKED A STEAK?!?!?!?! The American way to learn to cook a steak is as follows: Take 1(one) drunken Father, 1(one) 9 or 10 year old Son, 2(two) chuck steaks(the good stuff), 1(one) rusted out barbecue, 1(one) bag of store brand briquettes and 1(one) gallon of lighter fluid/gasoline/leftover methamphetamine production items. Spend at least 30-45 minutes carefully arranging and stacking your briquettes(apparently it's best to do this before they are on fire). Douse briquettes with propellant of choice(Aquanet?). Set on fire(it is best at this point to have your mullet/rat tail/perm pulled back. Remember, Aquanet is a propellant). Within 90 seconds of lighting, place steaks on grill, leaving rust or previous burnt goodies on as "seasoning". Flip after 2 minutes. Cook for 3 minutes on opposite side. Remove steak from grill and garnish with Frito's and catsup. Dinner's served! Kip
    beavernation, PBinWA, mat33 and 3 others like this.
  16. PBinWA

    PBinWA Clark County Well-Known Member

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    Made me laugh - thanks for sharing! You'll figure it out - just don't die trying. ;)
  17. Swedish K

    Swedish K SW Washington Moderator Staff Member

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    As posted above add the oil before you heat the pan - if it starts to smoke turn the burner down a bit. Also if you like a bit more flavor and don't marinade the meat you can always make your own flavor infused oil, especially if you are going to fry the meat. Its really pretty easy to make - the long way is put your seasonings and oil in a bottle and let it sit for a month or more in a dark place. The quicker method is to put your seasonings and oil in a pot on the stove and warm it up over a lower heat for a bit to help the flavors to infuse more rapidly.
    One of my favorites is an Italian oil - put the oil, a few cloves of crushed garlic, a few sprigs of rosemary, some Italian seasoning or oregano and some crushed red pepper all in the pot and heat on a lower setting for about a half hour. If you want to make it "pretty/decorative" as well you can remove the rosemary and crushed garlic and replace it with a few cloves of garlic and a sprig of fresh rosemary in a clear glass bottle of your choosing. I tend to use a decent amount of crushed red pepper in it for 2 reasons - 1) I like spicy foods, and 2) the crushed red pepper and garlic tend to reduce the risk of mold growth - only important if it is going to sit out for more than a month or so.
  18. Mark W.

    Mark W. Silverton, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    WOW you got Olive oil to flash and burn?

    I used to be a full time custom knifemaker I used olive oil as my quenching oil because you could put a 1500 degree kinfe blade into it and it wouldn't burn and just made the shop smell like someone was baking cookies.

    I had a jug of the stuff I used over and over for maybe 10 years Must have had 500 pieces of steel quenched in it over the years. Olive oil bought from the health food store or grociery store.
  19. Cougfan2

    Cougfan2 Hillsboro, OR Well-Known Member

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    Frito's and Ketchup with Steak??? You sir, are a heathen! :laugh:
  20. JimmyS1985

    JimmyS1985 St.Louis Active Member

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    Regular Olive Oil has a much higher flashpoint than extra virgin olive oil, thats what I gathered from doing research on chef forums.

    Im going to probably do another steak tomorrow to practice what I have learned from my first steak. Theres no practice like actually doing it yourself.

    The steak was delicious due to its high cost, but I think a professional chef could of made it much better. There were other things I learned, like if I had a properly oiled pan, I should of put the butter slices late into the cooking process and then basted the steak with the buttery oil, as Chef Ramsay did.

    I am probably going to try garlic, should I go with fresh garlic, or garlic powder? One I have the other I dont (fresh garlic). I might try the red pepper, I think my brother has some for Pizza's.