Does cooking create smoke or am I doing something wrong?

I can't seem to cook a meal without setting off the smoke alarm. Yes, I use the hood fan, but still, even a hot dog on the stove gets that thing wailing. I disconnected the one in my old apartment, but I've recently moved and can't figure out how to disable the one in my new place.

Giulia Melucci


the P. August 1, 2011
SKK called it--I should have read your profile, as I thought this was a novice cook's question. The plastic bag method works! I did it in my Queens apt for years.
SKK August 1, 2011
After having read your profile and all your great recipes, some of which I have tried and found to be amazing, don't think your cooking is the issue. My thought echos Sam1148 and Martin and some others - check your sensor on your stove, put a plastic bag over your smoke detector - check drip pans. This is a technical issue.
Sam1148 August 1, 2011
NEVER leave the kitchen while your frying food. Or even just 'oh well I'll warm this up a bit on the stove' and then do something else for awhile.

Get a nice comfortable 'bar chair' for the kitchen and maybe an extra flat screen TV to mount to a wall to watch while your cooking.
This is a big issue here as my SO will turn on a pot of soup and walk away for hours which usually results in having to clean off crusty bits bonded to the pan.

Droplet August 1, 2011
There are small fire extinguishers in a can form that might be a good thing for you to keep on hand just in case. If the way you cook really is the reason for this happening. Sometimes we run out of luck.
Martin69 August 1, 2011
Sounds to me like what ever you are cooking your food in my be causing smoke? Or as others have stated, you are cooking too hot. Check you cooking pot/pan to see if there is food burning on the outside or in a nook/craney? Are you cooking with gas or electric? I had a stove once that no matter what temp. I set it at, it cooked on high, had a sensor go bad in it. Those are about all the ideas I have.
Sam1148 August 1, 2011
Place a plastic bag over the fire alarm and secure with a rubber band when you plan to make something that might smoke. You do NOT want to disable it in a way that's inconvenient to restore after you finish cooking.

Author Comment
Just an opinion, but it sounds like you might be using too high a temperature to cook...medium or medium high works just fine for most stove-top cooking; for simmering or braising, consider setting the temperature to medium-low or low.

Also, think about what you are cooking. If you are frying a hot dog, for example, use a combination of butter and vegetable, canola, olive or peanut oil to raise the smoking point of the butter. If you are cooking a sauce, it does not have to be at a rolling boil to cook. Make sure you have spatter guards or pot lids to prevent food from landing on burner you are using as well as other burners.

Also, a question to you-are you cooking on a gas or electric range? If you are moving from one to the other, it does take a bit of adjusting to get the hang of it. For example, cooking on a gas stove offers instant gratification in temperature reduction. However, reducing the temperature of the burners on an electric stove takes time and is definitely NOT instaneous.

A final thought, make sure the drip pans under the burners are clean. If you cook and stuff boils over, that bakes onto the drip pan and can smoke. If you can't get the drip pans clean, buy new ones; the cost is minimal.

BTW-NOT a good idea to disconnect fire/smoke alarm; you never know when it will come in handy. Just a thought! :-)
fiveandspice August 1, 2011
Are you actually creating smoke that you can see/smell? I've lived in apartments where the fire alarm seemed incredibly sensitive to heat being produced even when there wasn't any smoke anywhere. Actually, sometimes when there actually was smoke it wouldn't go off!
the P. August 1, 2011
sounds a little odd. maybe you should try roasting and baking rather than stove-top cooking? (i'm a little puzzled by the hot-dog on the stovetop; are you using a grill pan?) if you have sufficient moisture, in the form of fat/oil/butter or water/stock, you shouldn't be smoking things up too much.
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