Infrared Broiler Tips for new Bluestar user

seeseeDecember 5, 2007

After using the oven and cooktop for a month now, I finally got the courage to try out the infrared broiler. I put a flank steak into a preheated cast iron skillet with a little clarified butter and set it on the top rack under the broiler, door closed.

The results were a lot smokier than I expected. Grease was spattering on the infrared element and catching fire. Perhaps the pan was too close to the broiler.

I'd appreciate some tips from those of you who have had success broiling steaks and other dishes under infrared broilers from any manufacturer. Such as, pans to use, distance from the element, how much oil in the pan, approximate cooking times, etc.


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It will help if you look at the broiler as an upside down BBQ. A broiler is simply a lot of heat coming from the top rather than below. An infrared broiler is the same thing except that it constructed out of a honeycomb ceramic that concentrates the fire into a bunch of tiny "burners" creating massive amounts of heat- direct heat.

When BBQing, one typically cooks just above the source of heat; the closer to the source the more searing and carmelization takes place- and more dripping and fires. Raise the grate and the intensity reduces resulting in less carmelization on the outside and more opportunity to cook the food internally. The broiler is very much the same except that most of the grease falls down so less fires. Of course high heat like an infrared broiler will cause a load of splattering and flare ups happen. Like a good BBQ chef, you need to stay focused on the broil as crazy things happen fast with this kind of heat.

Many people use the standard style broiling pan that comes with a new oven, allowing the grease to drip through the openings into the pan. Others use a wire rack sitting in the pan to do the same thing, while others broil directly on a sheet pan. The food, the amount of oil present, the amount of time required all detirmine which procedure you use.

I like to finish a lot of dishes with the broiler. Stove top or oven will do the majority of cooking but when I want a crust or nice brown glaze on top of a dish, I set the item very close to the broiler, and sit on the floor watching and moving the pan around as necessary to get the color in the right spots.

The distance from the broiler will detirmine the amount of time something can cook before charing. Generally speaking the thicker the food is, the farther away from the heat to allow the internal temperature to rise. Of course if you're simply finishing a dish and want the dramatic browning, then keep it close. I've copied and pasted a few paragraphs below that speak to the subject a bit more.

Have fun, be safe, and use your hood as this can be a smokey affair if there is a lot of splattering.

Here's the pasted stuff:

Turn the Dial to Broil
Broiling is a dry heat method of cooking whereby a radiant energy source is located directly above the food. In other words, the food is underneath the heat. Many people refer to broiling as "upside-down grilling" but thats not completely accurate. To understand why we must discuss the ways heat is transferred to food.

Convection is when heat is transmitted via moving currents of liquid or gas. Thus, when you bake or roast something in your oven, the circulating hot air surrounding the food performs the cooking. Conduction is when heat is transferred through direct contact from the cooking vessel to the food. Turn on your frying pan, fill it with bacon, and the heat is conveyed directly from the flame, to the pan, to the bacon. Boiling is a combination of both. The food cooks from direct contact with the water, (conduction), and from the circulation of the water, (convection). Finally food can be cooked by radiant heat, a.k.a., infrared radiation. Such is the case with broiling. Here the food is in close proximity to the heat source but not touching it. Grilling is not pure infrared radiation. You certainly achieve radiant heat from the nearby coals or gas flame, but you are also cooking via conduction, since the food is actually touching the grates. Therefore, and I know IÂm being a little anal here; broiling is cooking via infrared radiation while grilling is a combination of infrared radiation and conduction. Whew! Glad we got that out of the way.

With the exception of the tiny thermal technicality I just outlined, everything else about grilling and broiling is the same. Because broiling is a dry heat method, only tender cuts of meat are suitable. You would never broil a pot roast, lamb shank, or beef brisket. They would become even tougher. Cuts from the rib and loin of our four-legged friends are best suited for broiling. Fish, shellfish, vegetables and chicken are also good candidates. You should also never broil a thick cut of meat, even if it is of the tender variety. Broiling is very intense heat and fast cooking. If the piece of food is too thick, the exterior will be burnt to bits by the time the center is cooked. So ixnay to the on-the-bone chicken breast. Do boneless breasts instead. Conversely, if the piece of food is too thin, youÂll obliterate it. Stay under an inch in thickness but not as thin as a cutlet.

Of course, this all depends on the quality of your oven. IÂve cooked in ovens that had a wimpy broiler. The food never develops that sear like you obtain on a grill or by sautéing. If your kitchen is vitiated by such an oven, use an alternative method. Searing the food creates strong flavor. A broiler that falls short in the heat intensity department will shortchange your taste buds.

The basic broiling method is such. First, make sure your broiler has completely preheated. Why? See the previous paragraph. Next, lightly brush the food with oil. This will add flavor, help prevent sticking, and facilitate the production of a uniform sear. Then season the food with salt, pepper, or whatever other spices you plan to use. If youÂre not planning on making a sauce from whatever drippings accrue in the pan, you can cover the broiler pan with aluminum foil for easy cleaning. Place the food in the pan and then into the broiler. Keep a close eye on it. As soon as the first side is browned, flip it. The second side will not take as long as the first since the food is partially cooked at this stage. Remove when the second side has browned and chow down.

Haricot Vert are tender French string beans. Use regular string beans if your supermarket doesnÂt carry them.

4 center cut pork chops
Olive oil as needed
Rosemary, chopped, as needed
Salt and pepper to taste
4 oz. dry white wine
4 oz. veal stock
1 bay leaf
4 cloves garlic, chopped
Gastric, as needed, (see recipe below)
6 oz haricot vert
3 shallots, chopped

Preheat the broiler. Brush the chops with oil and sprinkle with rosemary, salt, and pepper. Do not cover the pan with foil. Broil until desired doneness. Remove the chops and cover with foil to rest and stay warm. Place the broiler pan on top of the stove and turn the heat up to high. Deglaze the pan with white wine, and then add stock, bay leaf, some rosemary, two cloves of garlic, and reduce for a minute or two. Add two oz. of the gastric. Continue to reduce and taste, adding more gastric if necessary. Strain the sauce before serving. Sauté the haricot vert with the shallots in olive oil until almost tender. Add the remaining cloves of garlic toward the end and season with salt and pepper.

4 oz sugar
½ cup white wine vinegar

Heat the sugar in a saucepan until it melts and turns a pale brown. Add vinegar and cook until sugar has completely dissolved and is incorporated into the vinegar.

Q: What is the difference between broiling and grilling?
A: Both broiling and grilling create a seared crust on food, giving it a rich, concentrated flavor. This is achieved with radiant heat: with broiling, the heat is above the food, radiating down; and with grilling, the heat is below the food, radiating up.
Broilers in a home oven have coils (electric) or burners (radiant or infrared). The coils or burners are either attached to the ceiling of the oven or are located under the oven, accessible by opening a drawer. Powerful broilers have a large burner or more bends in the coil, which increases their surface area, allowing more heat to cook the food. Broiling with home ovens can be tricky  many are built with safety measures that shut them off when they reach 500 degrees F, causing the food to steam in its own juices instead of broil under intense heat.
Here are some simple tips for successful broiling:
1) Preheat the pan under the broiler before putting the food on it  this shortens the cooking time by allowing the food to cook on both sides at once.
2) Know your broiler: check for hotspots by placing toast on a sheet pan and broiling it. The parts that brown first are the hottest parts of the broiler.
3) Keep the oven or drawer door open while broiling: the temperature never reaches a high, but the broiler maintains its temperature.
Keep these simple techniques below in mind for good grilling:
1) Lightly oil the grill before heating it and make sure it is hot before adding the food. This will help the food get grill marks quickly and will minimize the chances of it sticking.
2) Set up zones on your grill  keep one part of the grill hot and another very warm. Once the food gets grill markings on the hot section, it can be moved to the cooler area to continue cooking until done.
3) Be careful of cross contamination  don't use the same platters or utensils for the raw food as for the cooked food without washing thoroughly between uses.
-Food Network Kitchens

    Bookmark   December 6, 2007 at 12:20AM
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Thanks for the great information! I'm looking forward to further adventures with the broiler.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2007 at 11:43AM
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how has this oven worked out for you? i am looking at it but concerned about the reliability.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 10:21AM
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I've had mine now for close to 7 years and it is an essential piece of equipment in our home. I bought it for it's professional capabilities; 2 burners that burn at 22000 BTUs, 3 at15k, and one I think at 10K with a very low simmer, can accomplish anything you've ever needed from a stove.

This kind of heat on a cast iron stove top has it's drawbacks that are no biggie for me but can be an issue for some. The placement of one of my 22k burners in the back made sense at the time (boil the big pot of water out of the way) but it has caused discoloration on the backsplash that doesn't clean off completely. If you have a counter that does not require the extended blacksplash, this would be a moot point. Another issue to be aware of is the splatter onto cast iron. The top will never look factory clean again; even after dishwashers, or long soaks and scrubbing. It is not a factor for me but if you or yours requires a spotless kitchen between cooking events, this surface will cause grief. I've posted a picture. Be aware that it has been a few weeks since a deep clean but short of obvious crumbs and fresh splatters (the stove was just used) this is what it will look like after a few years.

Another strong consideration. Make sure you have an adequate ventilation system- high heat like this can produce a lot of smoke (searing a steak, etc).

One more stove consideration: The igniters are expensive to replace if they break, about 20 bucks. They will only break if you snag one with a rag while cleaning the grates but it happens. We have broken two in seven years. My wife and I each learned our lesson (we hope) by breaking one a piece. Maybe they have new design to help this issue but I haven't looked at the product line for a long time so I don't know.

The oven: This has proven a little more problematic but only now do I feel I need to look into it. First the convention fan stopped working a couple years ago- I suspect it might simply be bound up against something that expanded due to heat but embarrassingly I haven't made it a priority and have NEVER looked at it closely (my bad). Recently I've noticed that the oven takes longer to ignite than it used to. I suspect that the pilot may have some grease buildup and it doesn't light until enough gas builds up to do so. I do need to address that soon because of the potential danger and I'll look at the fan while I'm down there.

The broiler works terrifically but it is small compared to the size of the oven. I generally sit on the floor and move the pan around to focus the energy where I need it. A design enhancement would be to enlarge this burner or add an additional one but none-the less it is fine for me.

Finally because it is a gas unit, preheating takes longer than electric, so build that onto your prep time.

Hope this helps


    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 11:10AM
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Use an oil with a high smoke point. You shouldn't use butter in a high-heat broiler unless it's clarified, because the milk solids burn and the water (yes, butter has water still in it) creates that spluttering.

If you must have butter on your steak, you put a pat on top of the broiled steak after it's done, and let it melt.

For thick pieces of meat, restaurants usually sous-vide it cooked, then sear it, either stove top or broiler, to get the nice crust while the interior remains rare and juicy.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 11:58AM
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I agree with all the above, as am also a 7 year BlueStar user.

Favorite broiler use is for Ina Garten's roasted shrimp, and finishing a pizza under the 1800 degree broiler to get the desired amount of bubbling and browned cheese.

Always keep eye on the broiling, as it's usually a matter of seconds, not minutes.

I moved the 22K burner to the front-right, and is my go to burner.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 1:18PM
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