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Butter Usage in High Heat Cooking?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 28, 2013 at 8:26 PM

Do I need to worry about using butter (grass-fed, if that matters) in high heat cooking, i.e., searing meats, roasting, etc.? I know this is an issue with olive oil where the high heat causes the PUFAs (I think) to become oxidized or unstable whereby resulting in inflammation upon consumption and other negative health effects. But does this oxidation/unstability issue strictly relate to PUFA fats or is it all fats in general? Or do I just have it all wrong?

D7b12d3b022ec97ea1c0647380cfff97

(50)

on May 28, 2013
at 11:53 PM

Seems to about cover it. Thanks much!

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Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106

(19150)

on May 28, 2013
at 08:43 PM

Roasting and searing meats are two very different things when it comes to heat. Searing involves a direct heat, and you are much more likely to burn oils in the pan; roasting does not create a temperature at the surface or inside of the meat being roasted that is the same as the air temperature in the oven.

For roasting, any butter or any olive oil should be considered more than safe for anything less than 450F or so. Above that, I wouldn't use extra virgin olive oil, but I may use light olive oil, and I wouldn't use butter, but I might use ghee. For pan searing, you want to use a high temperature safe oil - ghee is your best bet here, but depending on how hot you are searing, light olive oil might be AOK.

Basically, just don't pan fry with extra virgin olive oil at very high temperatures, and don't use temperatures hot enough to burn the natural sugars in real butter, and you avoid most of the possible issues. Roasting should never be an issue, frankly - if you are doing something like loin hot and fast - 550F for 5 minutes or something - definitely use ghee.

D7b12d3b022ec97ea1c0647380cfff97

(50)

on May 28, 2013
at 11:53 PM

Seems to about cover it. Thanks much!

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