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Of All-Clad & Steaks

I've always more or less adhered to All-Clad's rec that you don't use anything above medium heat with their SS cookware. I do go a notch or notch-and-a-half above when browning meat. Always worked brilliantly. However, I like a deeply browned yet rare steak---the kind you get from a truly hot pan smoking up the house. Is this feasible with All-Clad? If I don't mind using a bunch of Bar Keeper's Friend and some elbow grease to deal with the aftermath, will I actually do any damage to the pan by "overheating" it?

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  1. "will I actually do any damage to the pan by "overheating" it?"

    You could if you really overheat it. Just use any inexpensive cast iron or carbon steel pan.... they do a much better job than All Clad.

    1. I would save the AC for basic searing and de-glazing, and go with a heavy carbon steel for real action. It's not as heavy as cast iron, and can do the job quite well. Oven ready too - esp if you want an oven finish. Takes a good seasoning fairly quickly and washes up easily with a paper towel or green meanie for any bits that stick. I use several versions of deBuyer, not the mineral line that seems to be popping up everywhere, but the Carbonne Plus line. Not sure there's much difference, but I've had mine for quite a while before the mineral debuted.

      You can getting them smokin' hot and they can almost smoke you out of your kitchen. Get the vent going and open your windows!

      Perfect for anything a diner flat top can do: eggs, bacon, home fries, etc. etc.

      7 Replies
      1. re: breadchick

        Thanks, breadchick. That's kind of what I was thinking, but it just strikes me as so odd that such expensive pans with such a large market presence aren't all-purpose.

        I've been eyeballing that DeBuyer stuff for awhile. I think your rec might be the final nudge to get me to pick up a piece. Since you don't use soap, do you have any problems with lingering odors? My cast iron is pretty much reserved for cornbread.

        1. re: eight_inch_pestle

          Marketing is very pervasive. AC is a strong leader in high end cookware, and does have its place. I have a huge AC collection. However, when I wanted to replace my non-stick, I just happened to be watching (of all things ) Diner Drive ins and Dives on Foodtv. I noticed how no matter what was dumped on their flat tops, it was as non-stick as it gets. Thought about cooking on our grill and the same thing. Light bulb moment.

          I've cooked fish in mine, and I haven't noticed any lingering odors. Once the pan is heated dry (and I crank it up to smoking) it seems to lift any odors. That's just my experience, though.

          Good luck with whatever you decide to do!

          1. re: breadchick

            Love that your light bulb moment came from good old Triple-D, breadchick. "Best revelation/tip from most unlikely source" has lots of potential as a stellar CH thread.

          2. re: eight_inch_pestle

            "it just strikes me as so odd that such expensive pans with such a large market presence aren't all-purpose."

            Expensive + Large Volume Sale = All Purpose?!?!

            Sorry, that is bad logic. Le Creuset cookware are expensive and have a really good market share, but it is far from all purpose.

            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              +1, expensive doesn't mean all purpose, a Ferrari is far from all purpose . . .

              Just pick up a $12 Lodge Cast Iron skillet at Walmart and have at it. Check out Alton Browns steak recipe using a cast iron skillet, should give you exactly the type of steak you like.

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                I'm not interested in a logic debate, ck. I'd bet (and win) a good deal of money that many, many people walk out of Williams & Sonoma loaded down with All-Clad without realizing (or being told) that they need to buy additional pans for high-heat cooking. On the other hand, no one would mistake a Ferrari for a family vehicle or an enameled cast-iron Le Creuset casserole for an all-purpose vessel. To the average person, an All-Clad skillet looks and feels like an everyday, all-purpose skillet.

                My intent wasn't to start a whole thing about All-Clad. I've had some for years and love it. And I know how to cook a steak beautifully. I was merely looking for some good advice on whether I could cook steaks in All-Clad when my usual steak pan is otherwise occupied. Breadchick kindly provided that advice.

                1. re: eight_inch_pestle

                  I have cooked a number of steaks black and blue (or black and bloody) in an AC copper core saute pan and a Mauviel 7 layer M'Cook stainless saute pan and a Winco Apollo fry pan and de-glaze all the hot pans with wine. I have not had heat discoloration or warping in any of the pans.

                  The thermal mass of a heavy cast iron pan combined with it's durability to withstand high heat does have advantages for searing and braising, but I would not be afraid of using AC pans in general for high heat searing.

            1. re: subal

              Gotta love rouxbe. As mentioned, I brown and cook meat and poultry in All-Clad all the time with great results. My favorite pans for the job, actually.

              1. re: subal

                Agreed! The Rouxbe panfrying video lesson is well worth the effort. Thanks subal

              2. For high heat searing I use a Staub 10 inch enameled cast iron skillet. It is a pain to clean, but it sears steak so well. I would not subject my A-C to that punishment. My advice would be to use cast iron or a DeBuyer pan.

                1. Why not grill steak steaks? As in an outdoor grill