Broiler? It's new to me!
January 16, 2007 8:20 PM   Subscribe

I just realized that my vintage O'keefe & Merritt oven has a broiler. I also have some well marbled kosher steaks...

Any quick broiler 101? Is it usefull for this steak? I usually grill, but it's freezing outside. Can I just broil? If so how? I'd rather not pan-cook or grill tonight. I imagine the broiler is cool, but I've never done it before.
posted by snsranch to Food & Drink (16 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
With my gas oven, I turn on the broiler and let it preheat for 15 min or so. Some ovens require that you leave the door ajar when using the broiler. From then on, it's simple - put your steaks a couple inches away from the heating element (usually at the top of the oven) and cook as per grilling.
posted by pombe at 8:27 PM on January 16, 2007


Steak in the broiler is my M.O. It's delightful. Season/marinade as you would for a grill. Keep the top of the steak about 1 - 2 inches below the flame, and cook about 5-7 minutes on each side for a 1.5 inch steak, rare - medium rare. The outside should be nicely browned. Then let it sit for a few minutes on the countertop to finish cooking inside.
posted by TonyRobots at 8:28 PM on January 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


If the meat is thawed seasons the steaks liberally with salt and pepper. If you have the time let them sit for a bit. Place the rack in the upper middle position. If the steaks are about an inch thick go for about 7 to 10 minutes on each side for medium rare and keep an eye on them. Also, before you stick them in there let the burners come up to full power if the oven is electric. Use your finger to test for doness, they should be "sort of" firm for medium rare.
posted by bkeene12 at 8:28 PM on January 16, 2007


You can broil steaks, in fact some people swear that it's nicer than grilling. I'm not sure if you've never done it before, that you're going to want to start out with some very nice steaks (you might want to try something cheap first, because at least I had a devil of a time judging doneness on the broiler without pulling them completely out every minute).

There's no huge trick to it, except that you'll want a broiling pan, which is a sort of double layer arrangement. It has a solid bottom pan, about 1-2" deep, and then a flat slotted top, that you actually cook on. This allows grease to drip into the bottom so it doesn't ignite in the heat. (Which unlike on an outdoor grill, is a bad thing.) Some people swear by putting water in the bottom pan, other people put tinfoil down to make cleanup easier. YMMV. Theories also vary on spraying the top with PAM.

Once you have the broiling pan set up, you basically start up your oven, let it heat up for a few minutes, then put your meat under and try not to burn it. If you have an instant-read thermometer, that's the best thing, but otherwise you'll just have to pull the meat out every once in a while and check. Depending on the heat output of the oven, it may be faster or slower than your outdoor grill (mine's faster). Basically, it's just like grilling, only without any flames or flareup (hopefully...), and since you're cooking from the top instead of the bottom, no grill lines.

There are actually a number of high-end steak houses that cook their meat by broiling (I think Morton's does), so you can get very good results. The trick is just in making sure you don't cook it too long and dry it out. In my experience, it's somewhat easier to dry out a piece of meat under a broiler, since it won't char as easily as it will on the grill.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:31 PM on January 16, 2007


Part of making broiling go well is having a broiling pan, which may or may not be part of your oven. It needs to have a bit of metal surface area for the steak to rest on, perforated for the fat to drip through, and a tray beneath to catch that fat.

That metal surface (pre-heated to as hot as possible before putting the steak on) does a large part of the job of cooking your steak, so you want it to be fairly thick so it retains heat well.

Clean the pan and tray after every use, otherwise the grease becomes a fire hazard. Broiling really does a number in terms of spattering grease around your oven so you may find it wise to lay in some Easy-Off.
posted by ikkyu2 at 8:39 PM on January 16, 2007


Thanks everyone! I'm going to fire it up right now. Great ideas and suggestions.
posted by snsranch at 8:43 PM on January 16, 2007


Broilers generally suck - they don't have enough heat like a charcoal grill.

The best way to prepare a steak in a home kitchen is to pan fry it in a really hot cast iron skillet. If it is really thick then pop it into the oven to finish it off.

I grew up on meat cooked in a broiler and it it comes out as basically gray overall - no charred outside, no medium rare in the inside - just gray.

If you like your meat well done then cook it in a broiler, otherwise learn how to cook.
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 9:45 PM on January 16, 2007


If you like your meat well done then cook it in a broiler, otherwise learn how to cook.

Your broiler sucks. I routinely broil steaks, and I eat mine rare. I can't stand to eat anything past medium-rare.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 10:13 PM on January 16, 2007


I'm with Tacos. Either your broiler sucks or your broiler technique.
posted by TonyRobots at 5:15 AM on January 17, 2007


I love the flavor of steak, therefore, I prefer the electric broiler over charcoal. I'm not so fond of the taste of burnt wood.

Never heard of heating the broiler pan before cooking a steak. This is totally optional. Grew up on broiler-cooked steak.

Traditionally, I don't season steak before cooking. The last year or so, I've been sprinkling lightly with garlic powder. I'm old now, taste buds like a little help. Getting old sucks, but so far, the only available alternative sucks more.
posted by Goofyy at 7:10 AM on January 17, 2007


Freezing, schmeezing. Get outside and light the barbie. Steak from the grill beats steak from the broilerr any day. If you really don't want to go outside, just put them in a frying pan.
posted by caddis at 7:17 AM on January 17, 2007


I just want to say, "Damn! Congratulations on having a vintage O'Keefe & Merritt." Got any pictures?
posted by spock at 7:17 AM on January 17, 2007


One thing that I've noticed really helps with steaks on a broiler is to choose the thickness of the steak based on how cooked you want it. That is, if you want a rare steak, get a thick cut of meat, if you want something well, get something thinner. This makes it so the doneness of the inside and the delicious charred-blackness of the outside occur in around the same amount of time.
posted by !Jim at 8:04 AM on January 17, 2007


Broiling steaks works, but you have to lie down on your belly to clean the area beneath the burner. This works much better:

Bring the steak to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 350. Put a dry, unseasoned cast iron pan on a full-on burner for several minutes.

Pat the steak thoroughly dry with paper towels and rub it with salt.

If the steak is thick, sear the edges by holding it vertically. Flop it in the pan and slide it back and forth a couple of times to prevent sticking. Put a splatter screen over it and cook for 1 minute.

Turn and cook for 1 minute on the other side.

Then put the pan in the oven for until done, 135-140 for medium rare.

To test doneness, push on the center of the steak with your fingertip. Rare is the same feeling as lightly pinching the area between your thumb and forefinger. Medium is the same as turning your hand palm up and poking the meaty area below your thumb. Well done is like touching the tip of your nose.

Remove the steak to a rack over a plate and let it rest for 10-15 minutes.

Put 2 tablespoons of butter in the pan, plus the liquid that comes out of the steak while resting and scrape up everything in the pan with a wooden spoon. Reduce it until slightly thick.

Finaly, I like to put a couple of tablespooons of cognac in the liquid and flame it.
posted by KRS at 9:18 AM on January 17, 2007


I've never had a good broiler (gas ranges, rented apartments). I wouldn't risk a good steak on the broiler getting hot enough to do the job. Cast iron pan or charcoal grill all the way.
posted by rxrfrx at 11:19 AM on January 17, 2007


Thanks for all of the suggestions. The steaks were great! I only had them in for a few minutes and they were perfect. I might actually like this better than my grill.
posted by snsranch at 3:34 PM on January 17, 2007


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