Check The Size Of Your Pan Before Sticking It Under The Broiler

The broiler is probably not your go to heat setting on your oven. In fact, using the broiler may seem intimidating, but it shouldn't. If you have an electric stove, broiling uses the heating element that is located at the top of the oven's roof. It is similar to a grill in that it reaches high temperatures ranging from about 500 to 550 degrees, and cooks food with some rapidity. However, if you have a gas stove, the broiler may also be located in the drawer where your broiler pan is stored. 

Wherever your broiler is located, it offers a great cooking method for making a crème brûlée  or thin cuts of meat like chicken, fish fillets, and thin-sliced pork chops that would otherwise dry out quickly if cooked in the oven. Foods cook fast, and form a lovely crust that makes for a delicious meal. While you should never put pyrex dishes in the broiler,  baking sheets with raised edges to contain juices, along with cast iron pans, are perfect for using when broiling foods. However, regardless of what pan you choose, you need to pay attention to its size for a very important reason.

Why does pan size matter?

The first thing you need to take note of is where your oven racks are positioned. The closer they are to the heating element, the quicker your food is going to cook. Conversely, if what you are cooking requires more than a sear, you will want to set your pan on a rack farther from the heat. How quickly you want your food to cook will also influence the type of pan you want to use. Use larger pans when you are doing a quick sear, as they work well when you are placing them closer to the heat. A smaller pan, on the other hand, is used when you can provide some distance to allow for foods to cook all the way through without burning. 

Additionally, you want to make certain you preheat your broiler before popping whatever meal you might be making into the oven, so that once the broiler reaches the desired temperature, it cooks evenly. It might surprise you to learn you can also put your pan in sans the food to allow it to heat up. By allowing your pan to preheat, you will accomplish two things. The heat of the pan will sear your food on the bottom, while simultaneously ensuring it doesn't stick to the pan.