Here’s the situation. You decide to fry bacon (or chicken or sausage or pancetta or ground beef) in your stainless steel skillet. The bacon turns out perfect. Your pan? Not so much.
When faced with a very dirty pan, are we doomed to arduous scrubbing? No way! Today I want to show you how to take your pan from very dirty to almost pristine in about thirty seconds flat. Too good to be true? Watch and see.
When we brown protein in a pan, two things occur. We create a nice crust on the outside of the meat, and we leave behind part of that seared meat in the pan.
That layer of brown in the bottom of your pan is officially called frond, and it is a sign that you did excellent work browning whatever you were cooking. In many recipes, you would use this layer of tasty brown bits to build a sauce. You would add a liquid (wine, stock, etc.) and deglaze the pan. Once you add the liquid, it would sizzle and bubble up, and you would use a wooden spoon or spatula to scrape up the browned bits into the liquid. Like magic, they would effortlessly release themselves from the pan and led their flavor to whatever sauce you build.
But what if you aren’t building a sauce? How do you clean this layer of gunk from your pan?
Take the idea of deglazing, swap out wine for soap and water, and you have a fast easy way to clean a very dirty pan.
In these photos, I had just cooked a pound of bacon in this pan. It was very dirty.
The first step is to squirt a bit of dish soap into the hot pan while it is still on the burner (it will sizzle) and then add about a cup of tap water.
Next, grab a wooden spoon or a metal spatula (anything will work), give the hot soapy water a stir, and begin to scrape the bottom of the pan.
Very quickly, and without much effort, you will see the water become dark. The bottom of the pan will begin to clear up, and in less than thirty seconds, most of the seared on brown bits will no longer be on the bottom of your pan. It’s so easy!
At this point, carefully take the pan to the sink, dump out the water, and wash the pan as usual.
Essentially, all we are doing here is deglazing the pan with soapy water. The idea works whether you are building a sauce or cleaning a pan. I hope this home hack helps you quickly and effortlessly keep your pans clean!
The results are amazing, and in this photo the only reason there is a ring of residue left around the base of the skillet is due to the square spatula I used. If I had grabbed a rounded wooden spoon, it would all have been gone.