Not so stainless after all, Mr. "All-Clad"
March 6, 2010 9:47 AM   Subscribe

I am the proud new owner of an All-Clad 12" skillet. It's awesome. However, after a week—and four uses or so—my new pan has greasy-looking spots in the cooking surface that won't come off even when I scrub pretty vigorously. What is this? Is there anything I can do about it? Is it even a problem?
posted by sonic meat machine to Food & Drink (16 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: If deglazing the pan with a baking soda and water solution doesn't work, there's a great abrasive cleaner called Barkeeper's Friend that will work, I'm sure. Won't hurt the pan.
posted by middleclasstool at 9:54 AM on March 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

Half fill it with water. Pour in some dishwashing machine detergerent (the powder stuff). Bring to a boil for a couple minutes. Turn off heat. Scrub. You might have to repeat one or two times but it'll come out.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 10:01 AM on March 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Nthing Barkeeper's Friend. You can also make a paste of baking soda and water, or a paste with Barkeeper's Friend. I've been known to use steel wool on my tri-ply pans (not All-Clad, but very similar).
posted by devinemissk at 10:08 AM on March 6, 2010

You don't mention what caused the spots. Some substances can react with cookware and cause discolorations. That and all cookware will develop some degree of discoloring due to use. If it's not affecting the use of the pan then is it a problem?

Personally I think the all-clad stuff is just horrendously overpriced. That and not all that comfortable to use, let alone store in a crowded kitchen.
posted by wkearney99 at 10:32 AM on March 6, 2010

Response by poster: Barkeeper's Friend worked well.

wkearney99, I haven't cooked anything unusual--bacon, eggs, potatoes, onion, steak, ground beef, mushrooms... All-Clad is high, yes, but the skillet is the pan I use the most and Cook's Illustrated rated their 12" skillet the best in a trial. Add to that a half-price deal on Amazon and it doesn't seem so bad.
posted by sonic meat machine at 10:39 AM on March 6, 2010

FWIW I've noticed that I get spots like the ones you describe when I use cooking spray. When I use oil or butter it doesn't seem to happen.
posted by TooFewShoes at 11:04 AM on March 6, 2010

Is it even a problem

Not according to my Dad, who drove my Mum nuts by regularly saying: if it won't come off in the dishwater, it won't come off in the food.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 11:24 AM on March 6, 2010 [4 favorites]

Two things: I never use cooking spray in my skillets because they usually have a pretty low burn point. And they won't wipe out like burned butter. And never never never put your All-Clad in the dishwasher.
posted by ColdChef at 12:08 PM on March 6, 2010

I am not your someone who can actually see the pan in question, but this sounds like the colors you get when you temper (or ruin said temper) in a knife blade, only not particularly intense. Since your pan doesn't need to hold an edge it is probably not an alloy you could temper if you wanted to so it won't hurt anything.

If you're sharpening your pans, maybe you should just eat out.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 3:13 PM on March 6, 2010

And never never never put your All-Clad in the dishwasher.

Eh? Why do you say that? It's completely dishwasher safe.
posted by mkultra at 3:13 PM on March 6, 2010

I was speaking of the non-stick variety specifically. While the manufacturer says that it's safe for the dishwasher, I've found that the rubber handles get compromised and that you run a risk of scraping the pan against another and screwing it up. I wash by hand.
posted by ColdChef at 3:28 PM on March 6, 2010


OP, you may want to consider what kind of oil you're using. The All-Clad is probably cooking hotter than you're used to (which is a good thing), but you might be burning the oil. Are you using a high-heat oil like canola or safflower?
posted by mkultra at 3:46 PM on March 6, 2010

Just to be clear, you're talking about faint brownish stains from burned-on oil, right? Not the iridescent sheen you get in a clean pan after cooking something greasy?
posted by serathen at 4:04 PM on March 6, 2010

Response by poster: It's a vaguely iridescent sheen, with a clearly demarcated border. The Barkeeper's Friend removed it pretty easily, but I'm not sure it's really necessary to clean it at all—it doesn't seem to have affected cooking performance.

I'm using Crisco Canola oil, bacon grease, and butter.
posted by sonic meat machine at 6:36 PM on March 6, 2010

No nonstick should ever go in the dishwasher ever, despite what the manufacturer says. Unless (I am told, but do not own one) it's a non-teflon nonstick pan like Scanpan. Those, I'm told, you can scrape depleted uranium across and it won't hurt the surface. I think I'm going to try Scanpan next for nonstick, because I don't use metal tools and they still get scratched to hell. Not to mention the environmental (and potential health) problems with them.

As to All-Clad specifically, I believe the manufacturer says that the plain stainless line and the copper core line are dishwasher-safe, provided you understand that with the copper core model, if you don't get it out immediately and hand dry it, the visible copper ring will tarnish. For all other lines, it's hand-wash only.
posted by middleclasstool at 8:48 PM on March 6, 2010

I have noticed a slight iridescence on all of my stainless pans after cooking something greasy like a stew. But cooking other things (like tomato sauce) tends to remove it. I guess that means that there's a tiny bit of oil getting reabsorbed into my food; it's never really concerned me. But I too would be curious what's really going on with that.
posted by serathen at 3:36 AM on March 7, 2010

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