In addition to roasting and baking, broiling is another dry heat method for cooking. But when was the last time you fired up your broiler? I have to admit. I don’t use mine very often. But when you need to, you need to. Today’s featured image is that of pork carnitas, slow cooked to tender perfection, then finished off under the broiler (the top element in your oven) to provide a little extra flavor, color, and texture.
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So what is broiling?
Think of it as the opposite of grilling. Instead of high, intense heat from below, it comes from above. Broiling for me is strictly a finishing tool as it is for these carnitas. That’s because I live where grilling is possible 365 days a year. It’s also because electric rates are at a significant premium around suppertime. Why heat up my oven to 500 degrees when I can step outside and just use my grill?
What can you broil?
If you haven’t read my post on matching cooking methods to the type of food, you can check that out here. But basically, if the purpose of broiling is not to finish and add color, then the types of food you might broil are the same as you put on your grill. These are relatively tender cuts of meat or vegetables that don’t need a long slow cook to break down the connective tissues.
Are there disadvantages?
With a grill, you throw on whatever and let it fly. If you did that with your oven, you would have a mess. Broiling in your oven means pans and racks that can take the intense heat, and those pans and racks will need to be cleaned. You can decide if that’s a disadvantage. I recently purchased a smoker, and I’m having fun with it. You can check it out here. That’s not typically high, intense heat, but it can still provide a crusty exterior.
Some people consider the combination method its own method. I don’t. The combination method is exactly what it sounds like. It takes two or more cooking methods to create a final product. That is exactly what is happening in this carnitas recipe, and in my mind, that’s simply a function of the recipe. Cheesy recipes often rely on a final broil to add color and texture.
One more thing
Just remember, when you broil, it’s essentially the same thing as grilling. Things can cook quite fast and need relatively constant monitoring. Smoke can often result, especially when fat by-products are involved. I suggest that you be prepared.
And now on to how to use broiling combination style. No featured article today. Instead, I have one of Chef John’s inspirational recipes for the carnitas pictured on this post’s featured image.
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