Cooking Methods - Pros & Cons: Pan Frying

Is essentially limited to steaks, patties, cubes, and pepper steak strips. Done properly, the pan is heated to a temperature where the oil is just starting to smoke and shimmer, such that the meat that hits it browns upon contact. It can reach the same temperatures as a grill, so you’ll want to cook your steaks quickly and turn them frequently so as to prevent the middle from getting too hot and cooking through (yes, that’s a bad thing for a steak).

Things to be careful about are crowding the pan, which can suddenly cause the temperature to drop and prevent anything from browning properly, and saturating the pan with liquid (be it added or purged by the meat you’re cooking), which will actually lower the pan temperature by evaporating and carrying heat off along with it.

If you are planning a stir fry, you can either start with the meat - and promptly remove it from the pan once it’s done, or you can fry your vegetables first and your meat afterwards, once the pan has been emptied of cooked vegetables and liquid and brought back up to a high temperature. What you DO NOT want to do is to start by cooking the meat and leave it in the pan while the vegetables cook. They’ll take on a beefy flavor, but the beef will get soaked and lose any crispy surfaces or browning that it had taken on when it first hit the pan. And chances are you’ll overcook the meat, too.

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