Sep 4, 2012 at 1:34 pm #1293701
I was at the local 99 cent store looking for a light frying pan. They didn't have any, but they did have an 8" "cake pan". Anyone tried cooking with one of these or have any idea if it would work alright for frying fish? It says it has a non stick coating, but it's probably not the best. It only weighs 3.9 oz.Sep 4, 2012 at 5:53 pm #1909101
@davidadairLocale: West Dakota
At 3.9 oz its pretty light alright. Being real thin you would have to be careful about uneven heating. So if you tried using it over a stove you would almost have to keep it moving. Trout breaded and fried in oil or lard are the best. Having about 4 oz of oil to fry in would make it easier to avoid hot spots. Could just keep reusing the oil. It might be easier to build up a wood fire and then push it aside to cook on the hot bare ground. Hard to beat fried brookies!Sep 4, 2012 at 6:27 pm #1909118
My next trip is above tree line and has to be fire free, so I'm stuck finding a light pan. I think I may give this a shot and use some oil like you said and just keep the pan moving.Sep 4, 2012 at 6:48 pm #1909134
You could use a flame spreader on the stove burner. That would spread the heat out more to the outside edges of the cake pan, which should avoid burning the center.
You can make a flame spreader pretty easily. Take a steel can and open up the round top, remove the contents, and then smooth the edges on the round top. Drill about a dozen holes in it, and you are ready to cook fish.
–B.G.–Sep 4, 2012 at 7:07 pm #1909141
@hikinggrannyLocale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Bob, do you have a picture of your flame spreader? Thanks!Sep 4, 2012 at 7:15 pm #1909143
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
Agreed on others' thoughts about hot spots and also that oil will really reduce those.
On flame spreaders I'll tell a totally non-UL trip. I mean TOTALLY. I brought a hot tub. And not the 90-pound BPing version, but the fast-to-heat, 300-pound car camping one. The 150,000 BTU/hour burner (that's 10x an MSR) put out so much heat that it melted the solder in the automotive radiator. I managed to resolder the radiator (I come pretty well prepared), and to reduce hot spots, I found a flame spreader. It was a 10" x 10" rock. It work great. I found it there, I left it there.
Another technique to reduce hot spots, reduce fuel consumption, and potentially reduce cooking time would be add some water (or white wine, shallots and dill) to partially poach the fish in the pan by sealing the top with aluminum foil. Light weight. I'd still grease the pan for easier cleanup, but use a LOT less oil to do so.
If a fish fits in a cake pan, I throw it back. But I realize I'm spoiled up here.Sep 4, 2012 at 7:21 pm #1909145
"Bob, do you have a picture of your flame spreader?"
No, it is a simple steel can lid with a dozen holes in it.
If you set that right in the flame pattern of a normal backpacker stove, it will spread the heat more to the outside.
I've even seen the steel can lid used with no holes in it.
–B.G.–Sep 4, 2012 at 7:33 pm #1909150
@bleanLocale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
> I've even seen the steel can lid used with no holes in it.
I've always used one with no holes — works fine.Sep 4, 2012 at 7:40 pm #1909153
Is the size of the flame spreader important? For example, the cake pan is 8". Do I need to have the flame spreader roughly the same diameter as the pan or could it be closer to the size of the backpacking stove?Sep 4, 2012 at 8:33 pm #1909161
Get a can of soup, cut the top out. It will be 3-4" in diameter. Drill holes, or not.
A typical stove burner flame is less than that wide, so the flame spreader will push the flames outward.
–B.G.–Sep 4, 2012 at 10:38 pm #1909191
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
I'd suggest, as a starting point, a flame spreader about twice the diameter of the flames in the original burner. If, as Bob suggests, you use a can lid, it won't weigh very much at all. If you have a jibsaw or holesaw, I'd suggest removing the middle of the can lid.
Existing stove diameter = 3"
Can lid = 5" or 6" diameter.
Hole in can lid = 2" diameter.
Note: the flame spreader doesn't have to be symmetric. If your cake pan is long in one direction, I'd try a 6" diameter can lid, with three 2" circles cut inline from the middle and centered on antipodal points. Hence, the widest part of the flame spreader prevents the flame from being "wasted" past the sides of your cake pan.Sep 5, 2012 at 12:49 am #1909207
I use the lid of a quart paint tin as a flame spreader (see Ultralight Baking article) – no cutting or drilling required. You might want a bigger lid to use with your cake tin.Sep 5, 2012 at 6:09 am #1909223
@jamesdmarcoLocale: Finger Lakes
Yes, you can use a cake pan as a frying pan. I have done so twice in the past 40 years because I decided to do some frying while out. In my case, a steak with fresh fried potatoe/onion/green pepper for supper, and, a half dozen scrambled eggs/bacon for breakfast on a zero day. I picked up a cheap aluminum cake pan to cook on.
The flame spreader is probably not needed. Typicaly, I simply dented in the bottom to make a "dished" bottom. The dished bottom seems to trap heat from a lower flame and spread it out along the bottom a bit better than leaving it flat. It changes the heat area from about 1-1/2" to about 3". 'Corse I used a wind screen to insure that the heat "puddle" was not disrupted. A small amount of oil was used to cook the steak, you may need a bit more with less fatty foods like trout. The non-stick coating on the cheap pans is very thin. Some gravelly sand will usually get the worst of it out, though it works OK the first time out. I added parified butter to cook the potatoe/onions and pepper before frying the steak. I was using the older Coleman F1 stove at the time. Since, I have gone back to a SVEA. After eating, I simply dumped in about a 1/4 liter of water and let it sit about 20min. All the residue came out easily with the piece of scrubbie and two drops of soap.
The second time I could only get a cheap steel pan. We made fried eggs and bacon that morning after a short hike up to a lake. That evening we had trout. Using the SVEA, I again bented the pan in, and cooked up the two trout by cutting them in half after removing the head/tail (the only way they would fit.) I used the aluminum foil as a lid to insure it was cooked fairly well…tapeworms and all that. The steel did not like to be dented and actually kinked around the edges. Again, a small amount of oil was used. This pan cost $1 at a dollar store as I headed up… Almost a throw away, it was put in the recycle bin after I got out.
If you happen to forget the fry pan, a cake pan can work pretty well.
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