How To Use The Broiler To Cook Food

Broiling is a method of cooking that exposes food to direct radiant heat. Broiling can be done with either a gas of electric stove.

When baking and roasting you would use indirect hot air to cook food with. Were as, broiling uses high heat from a direct heating source (again, either gas or electric) to quickly cook food surfaces.

Just as with grilling a broiler too is an ideal method for achieving the perfect char on whatever food you place under the broil.

If it be vegetables, fruits, meats, fish, an egg dish like this Asparagus Frittata, or to char a pasta dish and even to melt cheese or caramelize sugar for a creme brulee.

Foods Either Cooked Or Finished Off Under A Broiler

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How To Use The Broil To Cook Food

The following are easy step-by-step instructions for using your oven broiler to cook food.

Step 1 – Location Of Broiler

Some broilers are positioned in the oven above the oven racks or below the stovetop burners. If your oven is electric the heat source will resemble a bright, fiery strip when activated.

Some ovens situate their broiler in a drawer below the oven.

Step 2 – Positioning The Rack

If your broiler is up top, position the rack as close as possible to the heat source (either gas or electric element) between 4 – 6 inches by sliding it into the highest available slot.

If your broiler is in the drawer at the bottom of the oven, slide the rack to the lowest possible position. This should still be about 4 – 6 inches from the heat source.

Step 3 – Turning On The Broiler

A broil can take between five and ten minutes to heat up. Most ovens feature a switch or push button for a setting of Low or High.

If your oven does not, set your oven to about 500 degrees Fahrenheit, but leave the oven door a crack open so the oven does not overheat and turn itself off.

Step 4 – Using The Right Cooking Utensil

You can choose to use the following:

  1. The broiler pan, which usually comes with your oven (features a bottom pan and an insert or top pan with slats to help air circulate for even cooking).
  2. Oven safe baking sheet
  3. Cast iron skillet
  4. Oven proof skillet (one that is oven proof to 500 degrees).

Oven Proof Skillet Placed Under An Oven Broiler

Not that due to the extremely high heat of a broiler, glass cookware is not recommended. Avoid Teflon cookware as well, as these can release toxic chemicals at high heat temperatures.

Step 5 – Position The Cooking Utensil

First add the food you want to cook or finish off to your cooking vessel and place directly under or above the broiler heating element.

Finishing off means to place an already cooked food under a broiler to give it a caramelized or golden-brown color.

An Already Cooked Pasta Dish Finished Off Under A Broiler

Finishing off is also done to melt cheese, or caramelize sugar sprinkled over a baked crème brûlée.

NOTE: Always cook your food in an oven save skillet or baking utensil if you plan to finish it off under the broiler.

Tips For Using The Broiler To Cook With

If you plan to use your broiler to cook meat, first place your oven safe skillet or baking sheet inside the oven to bring it to up to temperature as the broiler heats up.

This will help sear your meat evenly and seal in flavors.

Avoid using parchment paper, which has a tendency to burn at broiling temperatures.

To ensure even cooking and browning, spread your food out so that the surface of every piece is exposed to the flame or heating element.

Here’s the best tip we can give you. The best way to get to know your ovens broiler is to use it for finishing things you’ve already cooked.

Keep in mind though, intense heat has to be monitored. You can’t just throw food under the broiler and forget about it.

Even though your recipe may say place under broiler for 3-4 minutes, you will want to keep an eye on things. Such as the melting of cheese, charring a pasta dish or caramelizing sugar happens pretty quick.

Keep an eye on what you choose to finish, making sure you remove it from heat when it reaches the desired color and texture. And sometimes that can happen faster than the recipe suggests.

Here are some recipes to try and follow the instructions to finish off under the broiler.

More Deliciously Yummy Recipes

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