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Home made smoke filter for pan-seared steaks

Ok, here' s a weird one.

I've learned how to make great pan-seared steaks in my city apartment, with a kitchen lacking ventilation. High heat is the key, of course. (along with airing out the steak). This beats most steak dinners I've had in Argentina's "top rated" (tourist) steak houses and beats NYC steak houses, because the attitude doesn't come with the meal. ;)

I tape off my kitchen with plastic wrap. I wear a P100 ventillator. And I sear the steak for 1-2 minutes. It makes crazy smoke. I installed a range hood with a smoke filter, but that does a very paltry job, as you could imagine.

I am considering running another home made filter system, consisting of a box fan with an air filter taped across the front.

I've done this before, which works for general air quality, but never for smoke removal.

I know it won't be perfect, but it will help. Researching box fans, vornado fans, even commercial blowers.

Any other ideas?

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  1. no idea - but I like how you think.

    while you're researching, look into (I forget the exact term) negative pressure systems - you amp up the air pressure in surrounding areas so the area that's producing the smoke and has the vent exhausts first, essentially what bars in smoking cities often use between areas.

    and hell hit craigslist in towns that have recently banned cigarettes, ya never know. in STL one place voluntarily went clean pre-ban and gave their system to the grandfathered dive down the street.

    1. I just put the box fan in the window (facing out.)

      1 Reply
      1. re: weezieduzzit

        yeah that's the same idea, just not geeky and wound-up enough. needs more cowbell.

        (and if I read the post right and sev's in NYC, fumes are a big issue for neighbors)

      2. I cook just for myself and prefer the pan to a grill (which I choose not to have). Since I am not trying to impress anyone, or create a beautiful presentation, I take an easier, faster, and less messy route. I let the steak come to room temperature, slice it into bite-sized pieces, and put them into a preheated and oiled pan in a single layer. The first piece is ready to be flipped by the time I get the last one into the pan. Once they are all flipped, the pan can be pulled from the burner. The steak is medium rare and ready to plate. Again, first piece in is the first to be removed. It takes maybe 2 minutes to cook a steak this way.

        1. Hill food: Urban sophisticated redneck rube goldberg toolshed is how I roll.

          Neg pressure is a great idea, except I don't have an actual vent in the kitchen (which works). The hood range filter is a recirculation system (puts the air right back in the kitchen, just filtered a bit).

          Weez - I don't have a window in the kitchen. This would have been the first, ideal, & optimal choice. :)

          Fumes would be fine for neighbors, most people keep their windows closed, and unlike BBQ'ing, THIS smoke is a 2-minute operation.

          Grey, I've found that the super high temps which naturally make a lot of smoke give the best flavor. My steak is only on the pan for 2.5 minutes max, but the smoke is still huge, oil or not.

          My current idea is to get a blower and fashion a filter "wind sock" around the exhaust portion. Amazon has a decently rated, pretty high CFM blower for only $50.

          Not sure if it's worth it. It would be great to get a sealed box, like a sand-blasting system, with a high-amp hot plate, and cook the whole thing in a fully contained system.

          1 Reply
          1. re: sevitzky

            then a box, and distill the collected fumes.

            and hook up the bead-blast later to do weird things to your leather footware.

          2. I don't think any type of air filter you use will actually be able to remove smoke. If you are using a pan on your stove in a windowless kitchen, I would suggest you get a portable induction unit and set it up by a window in which you have set a box fan to suck the smoke out. Simpler than trying to set up a self contained enclosed cooker.