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Old 05-27-2013, 08:09 AM   #1
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I'm an idiot...but how do you use a broiler?

I love to have a good steak once every week or so but if I can, I'd prefer to do it at home. I don't have a grill or a plan to get one, however my new apartment has a stove with a broiler. I always hear about people making steaks in broiler, but I've never turned on a broiler and/or know how it works.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated

Thanks
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Old 05-27-2013, 08:42 AM   #2
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The key thing is you need to lift the food off the pan you are using so the fat drains away from the food. So ideally use a broiler pan, which does this for you, or else use a heavy duty cookie sheet with a cooling rack on it and put the food on the cooling rack. Keep the food a reasonable distance away from the broiler element. I find 6-8 inches away is usually best. Make sure you put the oven rack at the correct distance before you turn on the oven. Keep in mind the height of the pan and food itself will affect how far away it is from the broiler element, so you need the oven rack probably 8-12 inches from the element. Turn on the broiler, it should be between 500 - 550 F and let it preheat. Put the food in the oven. I close the oven door, but when I was growing up my mom left it partway open. Not sure if that is dependent on the oven or just no longer necessary. Cook the food about halfway, then flip the food over and cook the other side until done.
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Old 05-27-2013, 08:43 AM   #3
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It really depend on the type of broiler you have. Some stoves have a separate broiler at the bottom of the stove, in a separate drawer. Some have the broiler component at the top of the oven. You'll have to turn on the broiler and see.

Then, if it's in the oven itself, put the rack on the topmost level. For either one, use a broiler-proof pan (meaning metal, not glass, cast iron is great), preferably with a rack, but that's not required. Put the steak in for however long you typically cook it, turning once.

Depending on if your broiler will cycle off it gets too hot, you may have to leave it cracked open a bit to keep the fire going constantly.


BTW, I pan grill my steaks, been doing it for years, and it's even better than broiled. I use a screaming hot cast iron skillet and it comes out fabulously seared on the outside, and perfectly medium rare on the inside.
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Old 05-27-2013, 08:59 AM   #4
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I've never cooked with a cash iron skillet. Are those the ones that need to be seasoned? I'd prefer to cook that way if I could get that seared taste that I love!
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Old 05-27-2013, 09:01 AM   #5
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I've never cooked with a cash iron skillet. Are those the ones that need to be seasoned? I'd prefer to cook that way if I could get that seared taste that I love!
I would agree with Ntombi that a cast iron pan would be better if your goal is a good steak. I usually do chicken with the broiler. You can get preseasoned Lodge cast iron pans if you don't want to go through the trouble of seasoning yourself.
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Old 05-27-2013, 09:44 AM   #6
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Yes, Lodge makes great pre-seasoned cast iron. Available at amazon, also places like Sears. Super cheap, and they'll last you for generations. I have some from my grandmother which have been in constant use for probably 90 years. They are barely distinguishable from the newer skillets I've bought myself.

And Lodge is an American company that makes all their cast iron here.

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Old 05-27-2013, 10:24 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Ntombi View Post
BTW, I pan grill my steaks, been doing it for years, and it's even better than broiled. I use a screaming hot cast iron skillet and it comes out fabulously seared on the outside, and perfectly medium rare on the inside.
When you say grill, you just mean on top of the stove, right? I did my first steak that way recently and it turned out really good! I got a cast iron pan just for that purpose and it worked great and I'm loving the pan. It takes some getting used to though bc it heats up all differently from my stainless steal.

LoCarbingMe, I don't know how to use my broiler, either. lol
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Old 05-27-2013, 10:40 AM   #8
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Yes, top of the stove.

For many years, I'd start them on top, finish in the oven, a la Alton Brown, but a couple of years back, I read a blog entry about turning it multiple times while keeping it on the stovetop the whole time. Tried it once, and been doing it that way ever since. I use cast iron, extremely hot, and turn it (with tongs!) every sixty seconds until it feels done. It allows the steak to have a uniform medium rare--or whatever your temp preference--all the way through, save the outside sear. Fabulous!

This is a ribeye with a generous pat of Boursin cheese on top.
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Old 05-27-2013, 10:51 AM   #9
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Thank you everyone! I found a Lodge cast iron skillet at Amazon I'm going to get. So do I need the scraper things? I have no idea how to use or clean a cast iron skillet. Also, do I just good the steak in butter or anything?
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Old 05-27-2013, 11:38 AM   #10
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Just curious, but can one cook hamburger with the Lodge cast iron skillet and get a grilled flavor?

Thanks for all the posts. I was unaware of the Lodge cast iron skillet. I always read how not to use cast iron skillets because they expelled iron. ??? So I've never used one.
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Old 05-27-2013, 11:47 AM   #11
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A cast iron skillet is great for any type of cooking. LODGE makes a grill pan and it will leave sear marks on your meats.If you mean a charcoal grill flavor, no skillet will give you that flavor.However, it will make it taste very good.
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Old 05-27-2013, 12:12 PM   #12
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My mom didn't have any other skillets other than cast iron. I've got two of hers, a chicken fryer of my grandmothers (like a deep skillet), and my own grill pan & dutch oven.

As far as cleaning, either wipe out with a paper towel or wash with soapy water & a soft cloth (no scrubbing) and dry immediately, no drip dry. You don't want to scrub the seasoning off or let it rust.

I would NOT broil in anything but a broiling pan. It's a deep pan with a piece that fits over the top that has holes in it. You place the top on it and place the meat on the top. The top has the holes so the fat can drip down & it lessens the chance it will catch on fire. BE CAREFUL if the meat has a lot of fat in it. The fat splatters and can catch fire easily. If you decide to use your broiler, until you get used to it keep a box of baking soda nearby to put out any flares that might happen. Be prepared to turn off the smoke alarm as well.

I always broil my toast & cheese toast. It's also great to use for fish and burgers.

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Old 05-27-2013, 12:26 PM   #13
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Thanks everyone! I went ahead and purchased the Lodge pan from Amazon. It will be here Thursday. I think I'm going to not go with the broiler since I don't have a pan and I'm a little scared to burn the place down
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Old 05-27-2013, 12:58 PM   #14
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I broil in cast iron skillets all the time, and have done so since I was a kid. Never had a problem. Same with my whole family.

Yes, you can make anything in cast iron. If they're treated right, you can even make omelets better than in anything else. They are beautiful to cook in. I only use that and fully clad stainless steel.

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Old 05-27-2013, 01:27 PM   #15
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Here's a little tip from my grandma. Thank goodness she told me.

Don't use soap to wash your cast iron pan. There are many different ways to do this. I use paper towels and water.

Did your oven come with a broiling pan? This is a pan with 2 peices , the bottom is a shallow pan that the grease falls into, and a top peice that has grooves that the steak sets on while it is cook and drips the fat. I hope that helps.

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Old 05-27-2013, 01:38 PM   #16
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Yeah, I've always been told not to use soap, but I sometimes use a tiny amount, depending on what I'm cleaning out. And, when it looks dry, I lightly oil it before putting it away.



There are many sites that will give tips on how to care for cast iron.
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Old 05-27-2013, 02:35 PM   #17
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Yeah, I've always been told not to use soap, but I sometimes use a tiny amount, depending on what I'm cleaning out. And, when it looks dry, I lightly oil it before putting it away.



There are many sites that will give tips on how to care for cast iron.
I use water to loosen up stuff, let it soak.

This is really for young new cooks who don't know. The reason why no soap is because it will rust. Always lightly oil your iron skillet.
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Old 05-28-2013, 12:21 AM   #18
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I'm glad the OP asked this question. I'd never used the broiler either. Thanks

I'm contemplating buying a Lodge pan too. Sounds like a great way to cook. You girls really helped with your cleaning tips too.

Question: what does it mean to 'season' a cast iron pan please?

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Old 05-28-2013, 12:52 AM   #19
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I inherited some of my cast iron cookware, bought some myself. I have NEVER used soap on them. If something burns on them I just cook them futhter until the stuff charcoals and then scrape it out.

Sometimes I'll soak over night. And. Always oil or grease before putting away.
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Old 05-28-2013, 01:42 AM   #20
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This brought memories when I was growing up. After washing the cast iron pan my mom always put it on a burner on the stove over a flame to dry it, then it never got any rust.
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Old 05-28-2013, 03:36 AM   #21
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Yep I learned to dry it out that way, and then season with a bit of oil or lard.
Just a little bit swished around with a paper towl or my fingers.

Sharss I have also read recently not to use them because of the extra iron that they exude or expell. I am not sure about this. Younger women need the iron, but when we get older we are advised to take vitamins that are iron free. I guess too much accumalates in our bodies and is too much of a good thing?? I wonder if the amounts that we would get from cast iron skillets is enough to worry about? I have cast iron skillets and a cast iron dutch oven that is wonderful. I really don't use them as much as I used too, so maybe need to pull them out and become reacquainted wiith my old friends.

Speaking of cookware, I have been warned off aluminum and also to be wary of nonstick surfaces that have begun to deteriorate.

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Old 05-28-2013, 08:12 AM   #22
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My friends refer to me as "the cast iron cook"! I come from a long line of cast iron ladies! Nothing heats more evenly than cast iron! Btw...Target sells the Lodge series of cast iron in addition to Amazon.

One must be careful though because cast iron is extremely heavy. I almost always use the largest fry pan which has a handle on BOTH sides which helps distribute the weight.

I, too, get my pan really hot and toss in the steak (love the sound of the sizzle) and I leave it there for a couple minutes till fully seared, flip it once and leave it a couple more minutes and voila....crusty on the outside and medium rare on the inside.....I wrap the steak in tin foil and collect a boatload of juice which I then put back in the pan with some butter, heavy cream, freshly ground peppercorns, a touch of red wine or balsamic vinegar and scrape the pieces into a lovely reduction...
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Old 05-28-2013, 10:51 AM   #23
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I'm glad the OP asked this question. I'd never used the broiler either. Thanks

I'm contemplating buying a Lodge pan too. Sounds like a great way to cook. You girls really helped with your cleaning tips too.

Question: what does it mean to 'season' a cast iron pan please?

Tracy
Tracy "season" means to put oil on your cast iron pans the first time and bake it to season it.Make sure you spread the oil on well. You are baking in the oil to get it ready to cook with. Then cook in it and wipe it out or soak it in water then put oil in it every time you are finish cooking to keep it a wonderful pan that you will love the rest of your life.

I use bacon grease to season mine all the time.

Sorry if I sound silly . I just love my cast iron pans. And a dutch oven is to die for. I just recently foud a small 8' dutch oven . Better for 2 people. I gave my big one to my daughter.

Hope this helps.
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Old 05-28-2013, 11:52 AM   #24
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Tracy "season" means to put oil on your cast iron pans the first time and bake it to season it.Make sure you spread the oil on well. You are baking in the oil to get it ready to cook with. Then cook in it and wipe it out or soak it in water then put oil in it every time you are finish cooking to keep it a wonderful pan that you will love the rest of your life.

I use bacon grease to season mine all the time.

Sorry if I sound silly . I just love my cast iron pans. And a dutch oven is to die for. I just recently foud a small 8' dutch oven . Better for 2 people. I gave my big one to my daughter.

Hope this helps.
Thanks, Esther. It does.

I've heard of Dutch ovens, but don't know what they are. Why do you say they are wonderful?

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Old 05-28-2013, 12:26 PM   #25
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I love my CI!!! If they get yucky, or someone uses the and then doesn't clean them right away and stuff is stuck I use oil and coarse salt as a scrub with a dishwashing brush that has firm bristles and a scraper edge. Works great, no soap required!
I have never heard of a small amount of added iron from cooking in CI being a problem for anyone other than someone with hemochromatosis and that is something you will not GET from using cast iron, and if you have it you will have a lot of health issues until you are diagnosed and treated. It I a very easy blood test and treatment is easy too. It is rather rare though, so unless you have a family history of genetic hemochromatosis, or you are an alcoholic or have one of the other very few conditions that can lead to the condition you are not likely to have any problems from using cast iron to cook in.
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Old 05-28-2013, 03:01 PM   #26
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Reading all the posts. Gave me a big smile!

This is all my mother ever had was all the cast iron skillets in every size,
even one to cook one egg Seasoning the pan was everyone's personal
choice. Mother had a Dutch oven and she made the best pot roasts in them.
Oven roasts were never as good. When a person was inheriting from their
mom, all daughters expected their mom's cast iron. Once during the 1950's
she bought a set of aluminum pots and pans. She couldn't convince herself
that they could match up to her old cast iron. My grandma even made her
pie fillings in a big skillet.. Fried pies oh yum. To this day I use skillets
more than any other pot or pan. I have one cast iron that I can still lift.
Having the two handles really helps.

BTW I totally agree that a steak sizzled on a hot CI tastes so good!
Just don't turn it the first time until you get that caramelization.
Good job everyone. Keep cooking.
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Old 05-28-2013, 03:09 PM   #27
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My MIL gave me a couple of her seasoned cast iron skillets when I was a new bride. She tried to teach me how to season the new ones, but mine never got like hers (she was a pro at seasoning them!). I'll have a brand new DIL in a few weeks and I'll pass mine onto her (not for a while though lol).

I'll also warn her to never, ever cook anything with tomatoes in them. I learned that the hard way -- also as a new bride.
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Old 05-28-2013, 03:13 PM   #28
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That's another one of the "rules" I go against. I cook tomato sauce and other stuff in my cast iron. I wash it immediately after, and that's one of the times I do use soap and then oil it.

Hasn't hurt any of mine at all, eggs still slide out like it's made of Teflon.
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Old 05-28-2013, 03:23 PM   #29
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I'd tried to make spaghetti sauce in mine -- it was inedible, having developed a strong 'metallic' kind of taste (too much iron leaching into the sauce?). Neither DH nor I have particularly sensitive palates, but we just couldn't eat it. I've never cooked tomatoes in it since.
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Old 05-28-2013, 03:27 PM   #30
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I've heard of that, but never experienced it through decades of tomato sauces in my biggest cast iron skillet.
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