The Superior Sear Showdown: Nonstick Aluminum vs. Stainless Steel
Not all metals are created equal. When it comes to searing and browning proteins, while nonstick aluminum will do OK, stainless steel was made for the job. Here’s why.
Aluminum is an excellent heat conductor; sounds like a good thing for this, right? Not necessarily. Aluminum conducts heat super fast, it heats up fast, but crucially, it also cools down super fast and guess what happens when you put cold, wet meat on a hot aluminum pan? The pan gets cold, fast. Bad news for a sizzling hot sear!
Stainless steel, on the other hand, gets beautifully, blazing hot. While it will take longer to warm up, it will store up a ton of heat that will give you a much more powerful and rapid sizzling sear than an aluminum pan would. This allows you to blast your meat with a hot sear to give you that delicious golden browning, and then you can gently bring it to your desired temperature in the oven. Perfection.
Luscious chicken thighs, with their gloriously flavorful dark meat, does brilliantly with this treatment.
- While the oven heats up to 225°C/440°F, salt and sear the chicken thighs skin down on a ripping hot, thick-bottomed stainless steel pan till the skin is beautifully golden brown and crispy.
- Then, flip and finish them in the oven, taking them out when they reach 65°C/150°F at the thickest part. It should take around 12 minutes, but it depends on your oven, so use a meat thermometer.
- Rest the meat for about 10 minutes before digging in.
With all this in mind, we developed the Accent Series Sauté Pan to be your perfect sizzling, searing companion. With a thick-bottomed base, it will retain heat like a champ, and its tall sidewalls are made to contain sizzles and spatters. It performs brilliantly in the oven, too, up to 230°C/445°F.