Frustrated w/food burning - is it the cookware or the stove?

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Frustrated w/food burning - is it the cookware or the stove?

Postby oklahomajewel » Wed Jun 24, 2009 5:34 am

I have a pretty good propane two burner stove and bought some Coleman cookware at Cabela's... skillet and sauce pan, and carry a 2nd older metal saucepan .

I'm not a bad cook ... really! But it seems like I'm constantly burning things... eggs, bacon, even veggies in the saucepan sometimes.
I thought it was because it seems like I can't get the flame low enough to 'simmer' but that's not always the case.

Someone mentioned that the cookware is too thin or not suitable for the higher heat of the propane stove. That it's different than a regular stove (huh? even a home gas stove?) Is that right?? This Coleman cookware is marketed for that.

I'm seriously considering getting an electric skillet , one that is a couple of inches deep not just a griddle.
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is it the cookware or the stove? or the cook?

Postby xrover » Wed Jun 24, 2009 6:18 am

In my case it would be the cook.
I endured the same problem until I found the perfect solution. Cast Iron.
Get yourself a couple of good pieces of cast iron - skillet + dutch oven, season it (I did mine in the bbq at home), and your troubles will be gone. Naturally you still need to be mindful of cooking times and how much flame, but cast iron does a much better job at heat distribution. And I had a great steak this past weekend. A little bit of butter and then fried the sirloin on the cast iron skillet. They were excellent! And easy cleanup.
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Postby bobhenry » Wed Jun 24, 2009 6:55 am

Does this same cookware work on the gas stove in the kitchen O.K. ?

If not it probably IS because of the metal being thin. I have a couple at home that are the same way. Unless you are boiling water they arn't worth a darn.

I was having problems regulating the flame on my propane 2 burner because of junk in the burner I blew them out with compressed air and it helped. I also picked up a flame difuser somewhere. I don't even know if that is the proper terminoligy but it is basically a 1/2" thick hollow shell about 9" in diameter with hundreds of small holes in it and fitted with a handle. You place it under the offending pan and it allows it to heat more evenly. But I gotta say cast iron is great except for the weight.
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Postby campinwi » Wed Jun 24, 2009 7:49 am

My thought is the bottom of the pots are too thin also. I burned alot of food also. The best way around this for camping does seem to be cast iron as proposed earlier. The cast iron can handle the intense heat from the burners.
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Postby madjack » Wed Jun 24, 2009 8:09 am

...COOKWARE...I have a set of Coleman cookware and while it is teflon coated, it is made of thin aluminum...you can't hardly help but scorch/burn food in them...getcha a good CI, "chicken fryin" skillet and your camp cook problems should go away........
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Postby xrover » Wed Jun 24, 2009 8:10 am

Yes, yes, and yes. I tried the coleman stuff with the copper bottom. Burned and very difficult to clean. Then went to a teflon coated bottom. Chipped that off which caused burning. Both of these types suffered from hot spots. I then tried some nice stainless steel cookware (each time it got more expensive) and while it did a better job, it was a tough clean up and still gave the opportunity for burn. That's when a friend turned me on to the power of cast iron. Back to the original stuff your parents used. As long as it is well seasoned (coat lightly with oil and bake in the oven (or bbq)for an hour), it makes food a beautiful thing.
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Postby FireLion » Wed Jun 24, 2009 9:06 am

On my first couple of trips, I used stainless steel skillets on my Coleman stove. I burned everything including water! After that, I switched to cast iron, and everything was perfect. My thought is that cast iron spreads and holds the heat better. Just be sure to have a handle cover or hot pad nearby. And...if you can find old Griswold or Wagner iron, they seem to be smoother than new Lodge pieces.
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Postby madjack » Wed Jun 24, 2009 9:43 am

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Postby oklahomajewel » Wed Jun 24, 2009 10:09 am

I do have my mom's old cast iron skillet but don't use it much at home. I will try that out . I want to be careful because of weight too , but that would likely be the only CI peice.
But of course still want a big pot for boiling water.

Thanks for the replies... it's kind of nice to hear that others have had the same problem!

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Postby Steve_Cox » Wed Jun 24, 2009 12:22 pm

I'm a fan of the old cast iron too... Same skillets that get used on the electric at home go camping and get used on propane. I plan to never spend another dime on thin non-stick cookware. When using the cast iron, if something sticks or burns, I know for sure it was the cook not the pan :lol:
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Postby CAJUN LADY » Wed Jun 24, 2009 12:34 pm

Jules,
I'm on board with the rest of em'...cast iron is the way to go. But, I also bring a 10" electric skillet for those days when I'm feeling lazy. I think I am going to order a diffuser to keep on hand.
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Postby bobhenry » Wed Jun 24, 2009 1:03 pm

Look what I found !

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Postby Kurt (Indiana) » Wed Jun 24, 2009 1:10 pm

Bob, that's kind of what I was thinking of. A "heat diverter" plate.

I have trouble with the Coleman type stoves also. Seems that I can't get the flame low enough sometimes.

I use a cast iron skillet and sometimes a small DO on the stove too. The cast iron will cook after the flame is off.

A thick (metal) plate with holes drilled in it placed under the pot might help too.
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Postby Laredo » Wed Jun 24, 2009 2:11 pm

ah, the wonders of lightweight camping gear!!!

a diffuser plate is a great notion. If you can't find one get a couple throwaway pie plates (the foil kind that you bake-and-take) and notch a rim out to fit the handles on your coleman pots/pans. fit the pie plates one inside the other over the outside of your pan, and that *should* give you a better control of the heat in the bottom. Handle with care, though -- the pie pans and the air between 'em gets hot.

make sense?
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Postby caseydog » Wed Jun 24, 2009 2:15 pm

Julie, you need cast aluminum, or cast iron. If you want stainless steel durability, then get tri-ply stainless, which has a cast aluminum core.

I buy my cookware from AceMart restaurant supply house in Dallas. They also sell online. It is reasonably priced, and it spreads heat well around the pan. I use the non-stick aluminum they sell.

www.acemart.com

Any cookware made of "sheet" type metal is going to burn food. Always go with cast metals.

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