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The cooking pot just keeps smoking when I put it on the element and I don't understand why because I used it on my moms stove before without any trouble. But when I put the temperature to MAX it starts smoking and setting off the smoke alarm. When I take the pot off and look at the bottom it's white but it goes away when I wipe it off. I THINK it's a cast iron pot, so is this normal to be smoking? Because when I put the temperature to 7 it cooks fine with no problem.

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Are you talking about heating it without anything in it, or burning your food and releasing smoke? Is there possibly any residue from anything you've previously cooked in it? Or is the smoke coming from the bottom of the pot? –  Jefromi Mar 16 '13 at 4:25

3 Answers 3

There are a lot of variables here that can cause smoke.

  1. Are you oiling the pan before use? Direct contact electric stoves set to high or max typically cause light oils (olive oil) or other oils with low-ish smoke points (coconut oil) to smoke pretty quickly.

  2. There could be crud on the bottom of the pan as noted by a previous ans.

  3. There could be crud on the heating element itself.

  4. Cast Iron will smoke if it's seasoned well and placed on a direct heat source. The fats in the pan and oils that keep the cast iron from rusting (and also give it the smooth, stick-free surface, and excellent flavor profile) will cook off under high direct heat, causing smoke.

To tell if it's a cast iron pot, look for raw, exposed iron. If not, it could be enamled cast iron, which would not smoke like a seasoned cast iron pot or pan.

note: cast iron should not be heated rapidly under direct heat, you can crack the pot... heat cast iron gradually

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Your stove is probably hotter than your Mom's. Try using less heat. You can burn your pan.

Also, if you're using oil in the pan, what kind is it? You need to know the "smoke point" of your oil in order to assess whether it's good for pan cooking (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smoke_point). For example if you're using olive oil, the smoke point of Extra Virgin is only 375 but the smoke point of Extra Light is 468 so you can get the Extra Light more than 100 degrees hotter than the EVOO before it burns. The higher the smoke point, the larger your margin of error.

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Smoke usually comes from debris or oil build up on the pan.

If you clean the pan properly the clean pan will not smoke until you add something to it.

With older cast iron pans the can get a thin build up of debris - thickened burnt on oil for example, which will smoke at higher temperatures, that is normal.

Watch out for pots and pans with wood or plastic handles, specially when using gas, since it's possible to burn or melt them at the higher temperatures. Some of the cheaper plastic one give of some nasty gasses too which I'd avoid inhaling!

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