Why You Should Think Twice Before Broiling Heavily Marinated Meats

There's something quite satisfying about browned food. When popping items into the oven to cook and then turning on the broiler for a few minutes, you can create delicious browning right at the end of the cooking time, ensuring a fantastic-looking and tasting meal. Broiling is an effective way of adding color and cooking meats, as the direct radiant heat from a flame quickly cooks the surface to a crisp, golden hue. 

Broiling works well for most cuts of meats and vegetables, especially if you want a nice char. It often works as a final step in adding a bit more color to long-cooked roasts or even a whole chicken or turkey. For thinly cut items, including vegetables and meats, broiling could serve as the only cooking method needed.

However, browning itself isn't the only thing you need to do to add flavor to food. Spices are a valuable part of creating appetizing, wonderful flavor blends. But not all application methods of spicing work well with the broiling process, some imparting distinct flavor differences while others could create a significant fire risk. Marinating is one of those concerning flavor-inducing methods that may not be cut for the oven broiler. 

Broiling heavily marinated meat can create a potential safety hazard

You certainly can add a lot of flavor to some cuts of meat using marinades. However, any type of oil-based marinade could be problematic in the broiler. The high fat, along with direct heat from the broiler, creates a significantly higher risk for fires. The broiler can reach temperatures of nearly 600 degrees Fahrenheit, which is enough to cause those fatty drippings to catch on fire. That's going to cause a char on your meat (and may go too far in some cases), but it also creates a safety risk.

To reduce this concern, keep marinades very light or fat-free if you use them. The better option for adding flavor to broiled foods is to add fresh herbs. Depending on the cut of meat and desired outcome, stalks of theme, full sprigs of rosemary, and ground, fresh spices like black pepper, oregano, and cumin are fantastic flavor enhancers to various dishes. You can also add freshly squeezed lemon or lime right out of the oven to give chicken a bright burst of added flavor.

Another option is to use an oil-free marinade. Consider blends like orange juice and white vinegar with spices to add spice to your choice of protein. A coconut milk and curry spice mixture can also work well. For more bite on a beef cut, consider soy sauce, Thai-style chili sauce, and fish sauce, along with some water. Properly seasoning marinades allows them to impart incredible flavor without oil.