Choosing Cooktops

A professional chef's tips on how to choose a cooktop that works best for you
Considering Heat Output

If you shop for cooktops, stoves, and kitchen appliances like a pro chef, you'll learn to check critical components that dramatically affect how well you cook. A former professional chef (and now a certified kitchen designer) gave us some insider tips on how to choose a cooktop.

Talking Heat
Firepower is often the essential—and unnamed—ingredient in many fabulous recipes. That makes understanding heat a critical cooking skill. For example, if chicken turns out greasy, the problem could be related to heat output, or more specifically, recovery ratio. When you drop food into a pan, the temperature of the water, oil, or grease plummets. The time it takes for the liquid to regain its original temperature is called the recovery ratio. Until the high-heat temperature is recovered and seals the chicken, oil seeps into the meat, creating a greasier flavor. Recovery ratio also plays a key role in preparing sauces.

Cooktops with a maximum heat output equal to or higher than 12,000 Btus (British thermal units) provide optimal recovery. The average cooktop produces a maximum of 6,000-10,000 Btus; some cooktops are rated in watts (1 watt equals 4 Btus).

Continued on page 2:  Cooktop Grates



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