Grilling is great and oven-roasting lends awesome flavor, but when you want a quick, easy, mess-free way to sear, roast, and caramelize your favorite foods, broiling can't be beat. Your oven's broiler setting offers the same intense, direct heat as a grill, minus the hassle of outdoor cooking. In a fraction of the time, broiling gives foods the same concentrated flavors as oven-roasting. And as long as you keep a sharp eye on the foods being broiled, you'll get consistent cooking results every time.
Broiler Basics Elaine R. Cwynar, associate professor at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I., offers these tips for broiling success.
PREHEAT High heat is key to broiling (lower temperatures will bake or steam), so be sure your oven broiler is fully preheated—most broiler settings are at about 500°; infrared broilers can get up to 1,850°—before cooking foods.
ADD A LITTLE OIL Fat conducts heat, protects foods from drying out, and gives dishes a gorgeous sheen.
USE A BROILER PAN The slotted tray over the pan allows fat and liquids to drip down so that foods don’t bake or steam in their juices.
ADJUST DISTANCE FROM HEAT AS NECESSARY Start foods about 5 inches from the heating element to allow them to cook thoroughly and evenly. Use a timer, turn your items once, keep a close eye on broiling progress, and adjust rack height, if desired. Move foods higher and closer to the heating element for faster browning, or lower to slow things down and prevent burning.