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Mar 14, 2009 01:07 PM

My dirty secret: I don't know how to use the oven's broiler

I fancy myself quite a good cook but my dirty secret is I don't know how to use the broiler. Sure, I know how to turn it on and have used it to give a quick brown to the top of some dishes, but that's it. I see recipes that use the broiler and I am mystified. If a recipe says "broil 5 minutes a side" how do you know where to put the oven racks? Should the food be a couple inches away? Six inches away?

I would love to make Rao's Lemon Chicken however my broiler fears are stopping me. Any advice for the broiler adverse?

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  1. 1st question - do you have an electric oven or a gas one?

    1 Reply
    1. re: MMRuth

      I have a gas oven with the broiler on the ceiling of the oven.

    2. This should help answer some of your questions:

      1. My broiler's been broken for 10 years, so I skip recipes that require broiling unless I think I can get away without it.

        1. Every oven is different - when I changed mine I used to get utterly frustrated with broiling in the new oven.

          Experiment using the level that is about 5 - 6 inches from the heat. In my oven it takes 35 - 40 minutes to broil bone-in chicken legs, turned every 8 - 10 minutes so that one side does not burn.

          I rarely use the top level really close to the heat other than for crisping or browning stuff. Low and slow usually gets me great results.


          1. Is my broiler the drawer underneath the floor of the oven?

            1 Reply
            1. re: jaykayen

              It depends - my old oven worked that way, but the oven I have now doesn't. It still has the drawer down there (for storing stuff? I have no idea why they bothered) but it isn't the broiler. That said, my current oven's broiler is much too hot. The few times I've used it it burned things almost immediately. Maybe I need to do as someone suggested above and move things a little lower (farther from the heat). As it is, I now avoid (like the OP) making any recipe that calls for broiling.