Kicking modesty to the curb here. I have mastered the art of frying and roasting, but cannot grill worth a damn. Recently, I have added to the art of broiling to my repertoire. How is it that I never noticed that broiling button on the oven before? Okay, I have to admit that I have noticed the button, but never paid attention to it. Over the last month I have become a broiling fanatic and, still pushing modesty to the horrible outdoor weather that is the Panhandle of Florida ten months out of the year, I have learned a skill I shall not soon depose.
Any newbies out there to broiling or master chefs (of which, let me reiterate without caving in the false god of unpretentiousness, I am one) who have only used their oven for the purpose of multi-directional roasting, then let me prepare you for diving into the big wide, wonderfully delicious and utterly delectable world of broiling.
First things first. You must start by making sure that the meat you are going to broil is allowed to come to room temperature. I already know you never put even slightly frozen meat that has yet to thaw completely into your oven because if you have done that then you don’t cooking inside the oven seriously at all. Room temperature is the first step, but preheating the broiler comes next. If your oven allows you to pick a specific broiler temperature, then keep in mind that high temp boiling usually works best for anything but the absolute thinnest slice of meat.
Usually. And only if you constantly check it. If your broiler allows only for HIGH or LOW settings, then choose high. Unless, of course, the meat is cut very thin. No matter what type of broiler you have, however, you need to give it time to reach the maximum temperature. Even if you’ve got a great big thick and juicy ribeye steak in there, you must keep a constant eye on it when you first start using the broiler. Broiling meat the perfect amount of time results in a rich moistness that may have you looking at your oven and wondering just what in the name of Hank Hill you were doing with it before. If you are like me, it will have you reconsidering the very soul of grilling in the hot outdoors. I can’t grill. But I can broil, baby. And broiling allows you to be inside on a day of temperatures and humidity in the 90s.
Making sure that you are there to constantly check on the progress of broiling cuts of meat the first few times you try it out is the single most important element to getting it right. Second after that is how you prepare the meat. And fellow non-broiling-trained chefs: here is where that other oven setting kicks butt. Because all the preparation you make for outdoor grilling or pan frying can be just about be kicked to the same curb as modesty. Preparing cuts of meat for broiling is so simple that even George W. Bush himself could pull it off…if he had assistance from a professional chef.
The tougher the cut of meat, the more marinade it needs. The leaner the cut of meat, the less marinade it needs. It’s as simple as that. Broiling meat to a state close enough to perfection that most of you won’t be able to tell the difference comes down to making sure the meat is at room temperature, allowing the broiler to pre-heat to a high temperature, marinating according to toughness and constant vigilance to ensure you don’t overcook.
Trust me: once you start broiling meat, you may never go back to frying or roasting.