You invite your friend to the dinner. so you would like to prepare 3 fried steaks but you do not have much time to cook. You are trying to figure out how to cook all steaks perfectly (fried and buttered on both sides) in a shortest time!

  • You only have one frying-pan that you can put only 2 steaks at the same time.
  • You need to fry both sides of the steaks and you only can fry one side at a time.
  • After you fry your steak (on both sides or one side), you need to butter your steaks on their both sides as well at the end. But you cannot butter while frying a steak. So you can cook one side first, take it and butter it then put it back to the pan, fry, take it back butter that side later.
  • To hold a steak you only have one tongs and you can put a steak on the frying-pan, flip a steak, take it from the pan and butter a steak one by one (it means you cannot do anything at the same time).
  • You have 3 sec to put it on the pan, 3 sec flip a steak (in pan or while buttering), 3 sec to take it back from the pan and 30 sec to wait to fry, 24 sec to butter.
  • At the end of the time, you are supposed to take all steak from the frying-pan and buttered already

Note: It is okay if the steak is overcooked (more than 30 secs).

So: How long will it take at least to roast all three steaks?

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Is there a class of cooking puzzles that requires a cook tag? $\endgroup$ May 4, 2016 at 19:24
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I can't say the title three times fast. :( $\endgroup$ May 4, 2016 at 19:36
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @IanMacDonald When I first read it, I thought it was "Flying Tree Sharks" $\endgroup$
    – Neon612
    May 4, 2016 at 21:11
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ What is this "buttering steaks" thing? Should I be doing this? To Google! (Or SeasonedAdvice.SE, maybe.) $\endgroup$ May 5, 2016 at 8:07
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ just want to clarify buttering steaks. total time takes 24 seconds, both sides have to be buttered so buttering one side is 12 seconds, and a side must be fried before it's buttered? $\endgroup$ May 5, 2016 at 21:16

1 Answer 1


If I understand your statement "you cannot butter while frying a steak" correctly, it means that you cannot butter a steak that is on the frying pan, but you can butter a steak while a different steak is frying.

I also understand that you only need 24 seconds of buttering per steak (at first I thought you needed 48 seconds for both sides).

So I put a solution that will at least provide an upper bound, and hopefully help people test their understanding of the problem (and mine):

Place steak 1 on pan: 3 sec. Cumulative time: 3 sec.
Place steak 2 on pan: 3 sec. Cumulative time: 6 sec.
Fry: 27 sec. Cumulative time: 33 sec.
Remove steak 1 from pan: 3 sec. Cumulative time: 36 sec.
Flip steak 2: 3 sec. Cumulative time: 39 sec.
Place steak 3 on pan: 3 sec. Cumulative time: 42 sec.
Butter steak 1: 24 sec. Cumulative time: 66 sec.
Wait: 3 sec. Cumulative time: 69 sec.
Remove steak 2 from pan: 3 sec. Cumulative time: 72 sec.
Flip steak 3: 3 sec. Cumulative time: 75 sec.
Place steak 1 on pan: 3 sec. Cumulative time: 78 sec.
Butter steak 2: 24 sec. Cumulative time: 102 sec.
Wait: 3 sec. Cumulative time: 105 sec.
Remove steak 3 from pan: 3 sec. Cumulative time: 108 sec.
Remove steak 1 from pan: 3 sec. Cumulative time: 111 sec.
Butter steak 3: 24 sec. Cumulative time: 135 sec.

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