You might have a recipe you’ve been dying to try for ages but it calls for you to broil instead of bake your food.
Though most standard electric and even some gas ovens come with a ‘Broil’ option, you may not have such an option on your oven or perhaps, no oven at all. If that is the case, you may think you are out of luck, but don’t put that recipe away just yet.
Believe it or not, there are some alternatives if you don’t have a broiler but you need to broil your food. The key to broil is in exposing your food, usually some kind of meat, to a high temperature from above. This is what differentiates it from grilling, which also exposes food to direct heat but from below.
In our DIY culture, you can always find some kind of workaround to just about anything. If you’re not able to carry out a task as instructed because of an element that is out of your control, guarantee someone else has been in the same position, has found a trick, and likely written a blog about it.
If you have an oven but you don’t have a ‘broil’ option, you still should have a heating element at the top of your oven. If that is the case, then this trick might be for you.
First, you’re going to want to find a pan, such as a baking sheet, that can block the heat from the bottom heating element while simultaneously catching the juices that might run off of your food.
Place that pan on the bottom rack and make sure it fully blocks the heating element and is directly below the food you want to broil. This way the bottom of your oven stays clean and the food isn’t exposed to too much heat from below, burning the bottom.
If you have a broiler pan already, then you can skip the step and simply place the food you need to broil directly on the broiling pan.
Next, you are going to want to take one of the racks from your oven, preferably not your bottom rack if you are using a makeshift broiling pan. Place the rack as close to the top as you can without your food touching the heating element at the roof of your oven. Otherwise, your food will end up chard instead of broiled.
Since a broil takes place at a high temperature, you are going to want to turn on your oven the highest it can go. 500-550 degrees F depending on what type or brand of oven you have, since a broil is typically around 550 degrees F.
You’re going to want to place your food on the highest rack and ensure that it does not touch the top heating element. If possible, place it directly on the rack, since you have a separate pan on the bottom rack to catch any juices. This is necessary because a good broil is dry, so the least moisture the better.
If it is not possible to place the food directly on the rack try and find a pan that has holes or openings to allow the juices to flow out of it and collect in the pan on the bottom rack.
Do not use aluminum foil, as it will only collect the juices, keeping the food moist and preventing a true broil.
This last step is optional and should be taken with extreme precaution. In order to achieve a dry broil, you may leave your oven open a crack in order to keep moisture from collecting, due to the humidity.
This step is not recommended if there are small children or pets in the home who may try to open the oven further.
If you do not have access to an oven or the ‘Oven Trick Method’ is not to your liking, you can always use a tool to accomplish a broil, like a culinary torch. Typically these tools are used in desserts like Crème brûlée or Baked Alaska, but a culinary torch is versatile and can be used to broil food as well.
If a culinary torch seems too daunting, then perhaps another tool that doesn’t involve an open flame, like an Air Fryer.
A culinary torch can reach temperatures as high as 2500 degrees F. This is a tool that should be used by an adult and with extreme caution. Always make sure the torch is aiming away from your body. Here are steps on how to use a culinary torch to broil your food.
- Place the Food on a Metal Pan
- Light the Torch (Wait for a Blue Flame)
- Aim the Flame Toward the Food (Not too Close)
- Use Sweeping Motions
Continue these sweeping or back and forth motions until your food is browned to the desired level.
Again, always practice safety and make sure the culinary torch is turned completely off before putting it down. Also, store it in a safe and secure place once it is no longer in use.
Another option is a small appliance, such as an air fryer. Air fryers are fairly small, extremely user-friendly, and safe. Most come with a broil option right on the appliance that requires very little effort beyond pressing a button.
Whatever brand of air fryer you go with, be sure to thoroughly read the instructions on how to broil, as each model is different and might have different steps.
Now you have some options in the event that your oven does not have a broil option, is broken or you don’t have an oven at all. These methods and tools will have you reaching back into your recipe box or opening up your cookbooks to find all those delicious meals you thought you couldn’t broil before without a broiler.