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For a single burger I am using a Cusinart 7 ¼ model II 9022-18 18/10 stainless pan. For my first attempt at searing a 3 lb. pot roast I will be using a 4 quart Dutch Oven. My oil is GV Light Tasting, which is supposed to have a high smoke point.

Up to last night I have avoided seasoning my burger to avoid salt. Last night I seasoned one with salt and pepper: that seemed to help with the sticking, but the burger still wanted to become one with the pan. Unseasoned if I used too much oil when cooking the burgers (90/10) they got oily: if I used too little they stuck to the pan.

So how do I determine how much oil to use in each application so that the meat does not stick to the pan at all and sears properly? I am thinking that there should be an optimal depth of the oil in millimeters for specific types of meats?

Secondarily I am uncertain if I should expect seasoned meat to stick to a pan as part of the searing process, and if I should flip the meat for minimizing any sticking of a forming crust.

Thanks for any thoughts.

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Meat sticking to metal happens in the very first few moments of contact. Salt will help a little because it draws moisture out of the meat, and that moisture is what is reducing the stick. You can reproduce the effect by oiling the bottom of the meat rather than the pan, this reduces the amount of oil required. If you want to avoid oil you can use water instead, I know this sounds wrong somehow, but all you are trying to achieve is a barrier between the meat and the pan for a few moments until the meat releases its own juices.

Leave the meat to form a crust - crusts are good, they give you flavor and texture, once they are formed they also won't stick to the pan. If you flip and it sticks a bit that's okay, let if form a crust and use a thin metal spatula to get it loose.

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To agree with and add to what GdD said, meat sticks to the pan initially but if you just leave it place and let it sear, it will mostly detach on its own. It's only when you try to move it very soon after you put it in the pan that it really sticks.

If you salt immediately before you put it in the pan, it will help a little but you'll lose some of the salt into the pan. If you wait a few minutes, the salt will start to draw moisture out of the meat, which will dry out the meat, though it may help a little with sticking. But if you wait about 15-20 minutes after salting, the meat will re-absorb the salt solution which will both make the meat juicier and more flavorful and allow you to dry the surface of the meat with a paper towel without losing any salt which will lead to a good sear.

Another good tip for the pan is to make sure it is evenly heated, depending on the pan and your burner this might take a few extra minutes. You can also put the pan in a hot oven for a few minutes before using it to make sure it is evenly heated.

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