ISO of The Magic Quartz, or something like it.
Back in the late 1970's, my parents had a counter-top broiler called "The Magic Quartz." It was a simple broiler with a rectangular quartz heating element on top and an adjustable tray beneath it. Unlike typical oversized toaster ovens, this thing was not enclosed. All it did was broil; not toast, not bake, just broil. I've been looking for one, or anything like this and cannot find one. I've scoured eBay, craigslist, etc. but still nothing. Does anyone know where I might try to find this thing or something like it?
Like quality electric rotisseries (the Roto Broil, popular in the 1950s), this was a fabulous type of appliance that was ahead of its time and seems to have disappeared from the marketplace. I doubt that you'll find one, but please post the info if you do.
The salamandre (aka salamander) mentioned above will do exactly what you want. However, these are commercial appliances that are both expensive and dangerous. You need proper ventilation and fireproofing and most suppliers won't even sell one that they learn is for home use.
If you do have gas, you can get a gas stove with an infrared broiler in the oven. This is, essentially, a "mini salamander". Obviously, this entails getting a new stove, and you are seeking a small countertop appliance. Ah well :-(
As with that quartz countertop broiler, a stove with an infra red gas broiler has become much harder to get than it once was. A defunct consumer brand, Caloric, had these as standard feature. Current makers of high end consumer gas stoves seem to be phasing these out in favour of "dual fuel" units with electric broilers, which won't do what you want. Dacor still makes one, but this brand gets terrible reliability ratings from testing organizations.
Which brings you to "semi-professional" gas stoves such as Wolf, Viking, and Blue Star. In Canada, these cost from $5000 to $15000. They'll give you what your parents had on their countertop. Sigh. If you have the space and the money, you'll love one of these.
That sounds like my "original Munsey" broiler. It has heating element in the top and the front is open. The pan has a handle and a rack. It has two temperatures, on and off, controlled by plugging it in or unplugging it. It makes great steak, one sided toast (if you watch it closely) and open cheese sandwiches.
There have been a few on EBay lately. Sorry, I've never heard of quartz in anything but an old space heater.
Thanks all - has anyone had experience with the Farberware "open Hearth" thingie that has a heating element on the bottom, a broiling tray above it and a rotisserie attachment? The whole thing is open and, they say, smokeless. It sort of seems like an upside-down version of what I've been looking for...sort of.
(Here's a craigslist link for someone selling one that has pics)
The bottom line is that whenever I broil steaks or chops in my oven, it's nearly impossible to not dry them out. I tried the Forman Grill, but found that this, too, dries out meat. I know there's nothing like a real barbecue grill, but I live in a Manhattan apartment, which pretty much rules that out that approach. Also, no room or adequate ventilation for a salamandre. Ok, that's enough of my problems! Thanks for your help.
I had a Farberware in the seventies. It still looks much the same. Assuming they haven't debased its quality, it had some virtues. The rotisserie worked particularly well and it was very easy to clean. However, this unit is an upside-down electric broiler. If much fat is dripping on the hot element, it will smoke. (This was hard to avoid when, say, making a rotisserie chicken.) Otherwise, it doesn't smoke. But, as with most electric broilers, it doesn't really get hot enough to provide any real "grilled" taste. You need some char (and the accompanying smoke) for flavour.
If I recall correctly, the quartz unit you asked about had a large rectangular plate the better part of an inch thick that glowed fiercely red and could be lowered to contact the food. If I am correct, then the Farberware won't be a substitute.
Three other possibilities for you (none completely satisfactory, however):
- I have an open hearth electric grill from the eighties, made in Italy, labeled "Ferrari" (like the car) that has no rotisserie but grills better than the Farberware. It is square and the heating element is threaded through a cast metal grill (which gets much hotter than the Farber). It was bought in Canada but I haven't seen one in a store in 20 years. It won't give you the infra-red taste, but it isn't bad. It does smoke and can flame a bit. Current availability unknown.
- Breville makes contact grills that work much better than the Foremans. You need to choose a large one with a heavy lid and a "sear" setting.
- The Nesco Jet Stream Oven isn't a grill, but this gizmo makes the best roasts I've ever tasted from a home appliance. A whole chicken comes out crispy/moist in under 1/2 hour. They claim you can make "grilled" foods in it, but I've never tried this. Construction quality is crap, and it may not grill successfully, so be sure you can return it before you buy one.
- If you have a balcony, see my post on the "Woodflame" oven.