Cast Iron Skillet, low heat

skillet, originally uploaded by Seligmans Dog.

When I cook bacon, I alter the (gas) burner real low so the bacon slowly renders its fat, becomes nice and crispy and the fat doesn't splatter all over the stove. It's a slow process that recently made me think about the heat source.

I've often wondered if a pan goes on a burner, does it constantly go up in temperature, or does it level off? Given that ignited natural gas must be over a 1,000F or so, I wondered what temp a skillet would get at vaious levels of gas on the burner.

I fired up a cast iron skillet and sandwiched a thermocouple probe on the surface with another smaller skillet to hold it securely on the surface. After a long pre-heating at a setting of 3 out of 8 on a 10K BTU burner, I was amazed at the stability of the temperature. The y-axis is expanded quite a bit and the duration of this brief, but not trivially short, test is over 10 minutes.

Seems kind of trivial once the data's in, but I couldn't figure it out before doing the expt.

This post should make my last 5 readers run for another blog.

Doctor Fire for a well-documented piece on flame temperature determination.