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Broiler Basics: Why -- and How -- You Should Be Using Your Broiler

Do you love your broiler? You should! It’s the key to fast, flavorful meals. Like grilling, broiling uses high, direct heat to cook food quickly and give it a tasty, browned crust. But you can broil right in your kitchen no matter what the weather. If your broiler doesn’t see much action, try our tips -- we think it will become your new favorite appliance.

    •     Get to know your broiler: Unlike ovens, broilers often have only two settings: “On” and “off” (Sometimes called “high” and “low”). Different broilers heat to different temperatures, and gas models tend to run hotter than electric. The distance between the rack and the heating element also affects how fast food cooks. This means that you need to take recipe cooking times with a grain of salt, keep an eye on food, and move the rack to a lower position if food is browning too quickly, or higher if too slowly.

    •    The great thing about broiling is that it’s so fast -- but that also means that it’s easy to burn foods if you get distracted. Don’t walk away! Watch food as it cooks or try setting a timer in one- or two-minute increments as a reminder to keep checking. If your oven light illuminates the broiler, keep it on so you can see what’s happening.

    •    Think thin: Steaks, pork chops, fish fillets, and chicken cutlets are all great in the broiler. If cuts are too thick, they may scorch before cooking through.

    •    Make sure to preheat the broiler, so the food gets a blast of heat when it goes in. We also love preheating the pan; this ensures a really good sear on foods like steak.

    •    Bring food to room temperature before broiling for more even cooking. And pat food dry, removing marinade or moisture, before cooking.

    •     As soon as the broiler compartment has cooled down enough, wipe it out with a damp cloth to remove any spatters. That way, you won’t let the mess build up -- and you’ll be ready for your next broiler dinner.

Try one of our favorite broiler recipes for your next dinner.