broil in a gas oven

Can You Broil in a Gas Oven? Everything You Should Know

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Broiling is a wonderful finishing cooking technique that helps give cooked food a little bit of color, a caramelized undertone, and a charred and smoky flavor. It depends on what your goal is here, but it stays a wonderful, versatile trick.

The way this is achieved is by blasting the ovens’ temperature to as high as it can go. The food is then placed directly underneath the broiling element located at the top of the electric oven.

But how does it work in gas ovens? And are the risks when broiling this way much higher? First of all, you can broil in a gas oven. It usually has a built-in broiling drawer. More modern gas ovens have broiling elements at the top of the oven.

Secondly, it is slightly more dangerous because you are working with gas and an open flame.

That being said, today we will show you everything you should know that will help you avoid burnt food and kitchen flames! Don’t worry. It’s not nearly as scary as it sounds if you know what you are doing!

What Is Broiling?

Broiling is one of those terms in cooking that you come across frequently. Yet very few people actually understand what it is. And unfortunately, even fewer know how to properly broil.

For this reason, MANY disastrous kitchen injuries result from this specific technique. So before we take a look at whether or not you can broil in a gas oven, let’s look at what broiling is and how it is traditionally done.

First and foremost, this technique is not the same as grilling, roasting, or baking.

Broiling only uses the top heating element inside your convection or conventional oven. It’s also important to note that even if you do have a convection oven, it should not use the fan setting or circulate any air.

broiling bacon

When you broil foods, the top element has to be as hot as it can get. It’s usually around 500-550⁰F (260-290⁰C).

“But that will burn the food?!” That’s kind of the point of this technique.

It’s a quick way to create some charring or caramelization on your cooked foods without using direct flames or a more hands-on approach, like pan-searing. The emphasis here is on “quick.”

If you leave it for too long, it will burn, which is not the aim here. You want color with maybe a little bit of charring.

How Do You (Usually) Broil Food?

First, you need an oven with a top heating element. Virtually all ovens have a top element, so it’s not something you have to worry about.

In some cases, the broiling element may be located at the bottom of the oven in a drawer. 

Step 1)

Depending on where your broiling element is, you should position the oven rack as close to it as possible. This will be around 4 inches away from the heating element.

Step 2)

Without adding the food, switch on the broiler and leave it to heat up.

Most ovens have a preset dial. If it doesn’t, put the oven on the grill setting and turn up the heat as high as it can go. Remember, you don’t want to use any fans.

Make sure to leave the door open slightly. This prevents the glass from cracking or exploding.

Step 3)

Add the pre-cooked food to a special broiling pan or tray. The ridges will help air circulate a lot better and ultimately brown the food more efficiently.

Step 4)

Once your oven is preheated, you can add your food directly underneath or above the broiler. Leave it to broil for a maximum of 10 minutes!

If you leave it longer it might catch on fire. And again, leave the door open slightly.

How Does a Gas Oven Work?

A gas oven isn’t anything like a convection or conventional oven. The only thing they have in common is how they cook food. But when it comes to how they work and even what they are capable of doing, it’s day and night!

A gas oven produces heat by using ignited gas. Once the gas valve is opened, it is guided through a series of tubes that can be spread throughout the entire open. Usually, they are located at the top and bottom.

Once the gas is spread, somewhere it is set alight, either manually or through an ignition button. Once the gas is ignited, it is spread throughout the burners.

Attached to the burner you often find a flame spreader, which helps distribute the heat more evenly and ultimately allows you to work with better temperatures.

Can You Broil in a Gas Oven?

The more important question is whether a gas oven has a broiling element. And the short answer is – usually.

broil in a gas oven

Virtually all modern gas ovens today will have a broiling setting somewhere. But older versions often weren’t designed with this cooking function in mind.

So, is it possible to broil in a gas oven, then?

If you are lucky, your old model will have a broiling compartment at the bottom of the oven. It sort of looks like a drawer. The element is located on the floor of the oven, right above the drawer.

How to Safely Broil in a Gas Oven

The steps remain the same as when using a regular electric oven. There are just a couple of things that change slightly.

Step 1)

Preheat the broiler drawer. There should be a switch or some kind of mark on the temperature dial. Either way, the temperature should be turned up. Leave the drawer to preheat for a couple of minutes.

Most of these drawers have ventilation, so there isn’t a door you have to leave open. But, if your drawer is INSIDE the oven, you will need to leave the oven door open a bit.

Step 2)

Only use a broiling tray or pan. Do not use glass, silicone, rubber, ceramic, or other kinds of metals. You can use cast iron if that’s all that you have. But the other materials won’t be able to handle the heat, especially not so close to the flames.

Add the food to the tray and place it inside the drawer.

Step 3)

Leave the food to broil for a few minutes, but never more than 10. Again, make sure there is some ventilation in the drawer.

Tips and Tricks for Broiling in a Gas Oven

Now, below are some crucial broiling rules that you should follow, no matter what type of oven you use. But some of them are more focused on gas oven cooking because the risks here are significantly higher.

Never Broil Spices or Liquids

Two things can happen if you broil spices, rubs, oils, or marinades. They can either burn and ruin the flavor of your food, or they can catch alight and start a massive kitchen fire.

spices or liquids

This is especially important when it comes to using gas ovens for broiling. Once a fire starts and the gas lines are compromised inside the oven, the gas will spread and can cause an explosion.

After your food has been cooked, pat it dry as much as you can.

If you are broiling marinade food to give it color before cooking it, make sure all of the marinade is completely removed and the food is dry.

And obviously, don’t season food with spices or oil before broiling it.

Never Broil Frozen Foods

If you forgot to thaw your food and think that broiling it will quickly solve your problem, think again. It’s a dangerous process in a gas oven PLUS it will just create mushy food.

Take the time to properly thaw the food or use the hot water or microwave method instead. 

Always Leave the Door Open

Again, a build-up of this intense heat could cause the glass doors to shatter in your electric oven or the food to catch alight.

If your gas oven drawer doesn’t have any ventilation, it’s best to open it slightly. You want to avoid an airtight seal at all costs.

You Cannot Cook Thick Pieces of Meat

Broiling can cook thin slices of meat like bacon. But you won’t be able to fully cook thicker cuts or vegetables.

When broiling, anything longer than 10 minutes becomes dangerous. But obviously, that’s not enough time to cook a whole turkey. Plus, the heat is so hot it will almost instantly sear the outside, making it more difficult to cook the inside.

Only Use a Broiling Pan

And finally, as we’ve mentioned repeatedly, never use any other type of pan for broiling. These pans are made to resist intense heat without shattering, cracking, melting, or warping.

Do not use glass cookware, ceramic casserole dishes, silicone or rubber pans, or blended metal trays. 

Furthermore, broiling pans are specially designed with ridges to help the hot air circulate better. This browns the food beautifully on all sides, not only the top. 

By following these steps and pieces of advice, you will successfully broil in a gas oven!

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