Saturday, July 27, 2013
Recalibrating the Presto Electric Skillet
While cooking any given meal in a cast iron skillet is my usual preference, I have found that an electric skillet does a fine job of cooking pancakes & hoecakes. Not just any ole electric skillet, though – it HAS to have a bare-metal surface because the Teflon® coated versions tend to produce a leathery-skinned product. Since non-Teflon® coated electric skillets are a scarcity nowadays, I was thrilled to find an antique one during a trip to Branson Missouri last year to keep in the Airstream so that the house’s skillet did not have to be loaded for every trip. But after the last camping trip, I finally decided that the skillet just was not getting hot enough - it was time to recalibrate the skillet’s thermostat.
After opening up the thermostat to locate the calibration screw, I noticed the cover had a removable plug directly over the screw. That’s something you don’t see on newer models.
So after removing the plug & reassembling the thermostat, the skillet was set up in my shop with an 1/8-inch of peanut oil, a timer, and a temperature probe. Sure enough, after about five minutes, the skillet cycled off after only reaching 370 degrees instead of the dialed-in 400 degrees.
While hanging out & drinking beer, the thermostat’s screw was gently tweaked until the skillet heated to the requested temperature.
I managed to stretch it in to almost a three beer project. Of note, the thermostat appears to be designed for a 25 degree differential (the temp difference between cycling ON & OFF).
What an improvement! The hoecakes cooked that night came out great in a short amount of time, and went well with the pork chops.
It looks like we are going to have perfect pancakes & hash browns on our upcoming trip to Topsail Hill in Florida. I can hardly wait!