horseshoer, Jordan, is a real cowboy. He knows a lot about
horses and cows and all that other cowboy stuff. So when he
told me he had a part in a television series,
"Gunslingers," I had to watch.
enough, there he was; a real cowboy playing the part of a real
cowboy — sidekick to the legendary Texas outlaw, John Wesley
Hardin. His character managed to avoid numerous smoking guns…only
to meet his demise in another unpalatable way. (You’ll have
to watch to find out.)
brings us to the topic of smoke points. Not from guns but from
oils we use in cooking. Smoke point is the temperature at
which a cooking fat, when heated, begins to smoke. Besides
setting off alarms and stinking up your house, oil heated past
its smoke point degrades rapidly and releases substances that
harm the flavor and the healthfulness of our food.
fats — from animal sources such as butter and lard or
vegetable oils extracted from seeds, fruit and nuts — have
varying smoke points. And it’s important, say food
scientists, that we match the fat to its intended cooking
purpose. Here are some guidelines adapted from various
sources, including Supermarket Savvy — a publication for
nutrition professionals and consumers:
heat oils (smoke points from 445 to 510 degrees F) for
sauteeing or frying: refined sesame, peanut, olive, sunflower,
soybean, canola, or avocado; clarified butter (ghee).
heat oils (smoke point from 360 to 430 degrees F.) for baking
or sauteeing over medium-high heat: refined coconut, unrefined
safflower, walnut, grapeseed, hazelnut, macadamia oils, lard:
heat oils (smoke point from 250 to 350 degrees F.) for sauces,
salad dressings or sauteeing over medium heat: unrefined
coconut, corn, extra virgin olive, peanut, or sesame, butter;
Direct heat oils (smoke point 225 degrees F.) for blending
into dressings, dipping sauces, or taken as a supplement:
flax, wheat germ.
that high heat oils tend to be "refined" — meaning
their natural impurities such as resins, gums and free fatty
acids have been removed. Clarified butter (aka
"ghee"), for example, is "refined" because
its milk solids have been removed. Thus, it has a higher smoke
point than regular butter.
oils are better suited for low heat uses. They tend to impart
more flavor to a food but can easily become rancid at high
remember, say experts, no matter what the smoking point, do
not store any fat over your stove or other hot area. Just like
gunslingers who ask for trouble usually get it, extra heat
leads to the rapid deterioration and rancidity of your
precious oils. Great job, Jordan!