Let’s go back to cooking basics: broiling versus boiling. What’s the difference?
Many people either misread or misunderstand these two cooking techniques, despite the fact that they are both extremely well-known. What is broiling, and what is boiling? Broiling is a finishing technique that uses dry radiant heat from the broiling element at the top of the oven. It helps caramelize foods, give them color, and even create some charring. With boiling, ingredients are cooked in hot water to retain their nutrients and give them color.
The two methods have their pros and cons, and as you can see, they are very different from each other. So in this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about them. It includes how to use this technique and what food items you should use it with – we’ve even included some great tips you can utilize!
What Is Broiling?
Cooking with broiling is an art that not many people are familiar with. Many people confuse it with grilling, which is more popular than broiling. Using the bottom heat element, grilling cooks and caramelizes the food, while broiling uses the top heat element. The process is the same, but the heat source differs. Now, let’s take a more in-depth look at broiling. As we’ve said, this cooking technique only uses radiant heat from the top heating element – nothing else.
With extremely high heat (around 500–550°F), food gets a beautiful color, a crisper texture, and a meaty, caramelized flavor. As an added benefit, it can even be used to add a little bit of smoke to your food by creating a bit of char on the surface. A broiler is used to broil food. There are different kinds of broilers depending on the type of oven you have.
In an electric oven (conventional or convection), the broiler sits at the top. It is a coil-shaped element that creates tremendous heat. The broiler is a burner at the top of a gas oven that directly heats food.
There are some gas ovens that have built-in broiler drawers. In such cases, the burner sits at the top as well, but the drawer allows you to cook and broil separately.
Benefits Of Broiling Food
Broiling has many benefits, but it isn’t a versatile technique. It works best as a finishing technique. You can either brown the food or even char it (depending on how long you leave it). The food will taste deliciously smoky if you char it – but don’t let it burn completely. It will still have a deliciously meaty, slightly smoky, and somewhat caramelized taste without charring. The biggest advantage of this finishing technique is that it is quick. You can only leave your food for 5–15 minutes at most without it being burned.
Difficulties When Broiling Food
Although broiling doesn’t have a lot of downsides, the biggest is that not everyone has an oven capable of broiling. In addition, your food needs to be monitored – if you don’t, it could burn completely. Even if your food is only partially cooked, you must first cook it before broiling it.
Best Foods To Broil
You should broil lean, thin cuts of meat in an oven. Do not broil roasts – they will dry out if broiled for too long. The best meat cuts are pork chops, tenderized chicken breasts, lamb or pork kabobs, flank or skirt steaks, and chicken strips. It’s also possible to broil roasted vegetables, but they tend to caramelize quickly. Keep an eye on them carefully!
How Does A Broiler Work?
Some broilers require you to leave the door of the oven open slightly. If you don’t, too much heat can ignite the oven. Always read the instructions carefully. Most ovens have a broiler setting. Some require you to set the temperature knob to its highest setting. Some ovens also require you to keep the door slightly open.
In older ovens, we recommend keeping the door open – it’s only the newer models that don’t require it. Additionally, you will need a broiling pan. This is a roasting pan that has a fitted “cooling rack” over the top that allows the juices to drip down and crisp the food.
How To Broil
Set up your broiler according to the instructions. It usually takes 3 minutes for the broiler to heat up, so make sure all your elements are ready before then.
If you need to cut your meat into thinner or smaller portions, you can do so while the broiler is heating. You can also tenderize your meat before you cut it.
If you are broiling uncooked ingredients, season them now. If you are finishing off partially cooked meats, don’t season them too much.
The food should be broiled until it reaches your desired texture and consistency. Never broil it for more than 15 minutes – you probably won’t even broil it that long!
Tips And Tricks For Broiling
Trust us: broiler food burns quickly. Keep an eye on it.
When you leave your broiler on for more than 15 minutes, it will get too hot, causing it to catch on fire and shorten the life of your oven.
Turning the food around helps if your raw ingredients are charring faster than they are cooking.
It is not recommended to use glass or non-stick cookware at these extreme temperatures. Only use metal roasting trays and broiling pans.
What Is Boiling?
The first cooking technique we teach children is boiling. Just think – we boil instant noodles, spaghetti pasta, potatoes, and corn, just to name a few. To cook an item, all you need to do is place it in cold or already boiling water, depending on the item. For instance, pasta is cooked in boiling water, while potatoes are cooked in cold water. There are so many amazing ingredients that you can boil either as-is, or as a step one in a multi-step process to develop flavor.
When you boil vegetables, you’ll get a beautiful bright color and a more tender texture. Besides pasta, grains, and legumes, you can also boil assembled snacks like tamales. There’s one thing we don’t like: boiled meat. Don’t get us wrong. There are some kinds of meat that have to be boiled (for instance, beef tongue), but boiled chicken breast should be avoided.
If people use boiled chicken to make pulled chicken, it is then heavily seasoned and doused with spices and sauce.
Benefits Of Boiling Food
Boiling can bring out a bright color in your food depending on what you are cooking. Boiling spinach turns it a striking green color! Boiling beets turns them a deep, saturated purple color. If you don’t follow good practices, boiling can actually take away flavor from the food. At most, boiling adds salt (if the water is seasoned).
Boiling isn’t poaching, so the liquid won’t be seasoned with herbs and aromatics. Boiling is also highly adjustable, and you can easily avoid overcooking your food because the process is relatively slow.
Common Issues When Boiling Food
Boiling food eliminates some natural flavors. If you steam carrots, for instance, you would experience a completely different flavor than if you boiled them. There’s nothing wrong with your ingredients, they’re just not as good as they should be. A wet cooking method like boiling makes everything soft, and it will never be crisp or crunchy because it is a wet method. Finally, boiling chicken thighs takes much longer than pan-frying and is one of the most time-consuming methods.
Best Foods To Boil
The only foods we recommend boiling are root vegetables, pasta, legumes, grains, and assembled dishes. You can boil anything, but it may not be the best method for everything. When it comes to meats, don’t boil meats that can be cooked better. Pan-fried fish is a thousand times tastier than boiled fish (when served as-is).
How To Boil Food
Depending on what you are cooking, you may need to start the ingredients in cold or already boiling water.
When making mashed potatoes, cut the potatoes into small pieces to speed up the cooking process. The larger the item, the longer it will take to cook.
Add your ingredients to the water and leave them to simmer (not boil) until they are done. Set a timer so that you don’t forget to check on the progress of your food.
Tips And Tricks For Boiling Food
If you boil carrots or chicken, how long will they take to cook? This is a relative question – every item takes a different amount of time to cook.
In order to ensure that everything cooks at the same time and is finished at the same time, all your food should be the same size. For example, if you boil a whole carrot alongside a tiny carrot chunk, someone will end up undercooked or overcooked.
Adding ingredients to boiling water may cause the water to stop boiling. That’s perfectly fine; most recipes (and cooking times) take that into consideration. If it worries you too much, use a lid, which will help the water reach a much higher temperature.