How to Cook in the Oven Instead of Grilling

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Some days you can't simply take your kitchen outside and fire up the grill. You can, however, cook just about any food you cook on the grill under your oven's broiler. Unlike the regular oven setting, which cooks with ambient heat, or hot air, the oven broiler, like the grill, cooks with radiant heat, the main difference being the direction the heat comes from -- grills use bottom heat, broilers use top heat. Beef, lamb, fish and pork steaks, fish and chicken fillets and just about any vegetable broils just as easily as it grills.

Things You'll Need

  • Kitchen knife
  • Broiler pan or shallow dish
  • Aluminum foil (optional)
  • Oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Spices to taste
  • Meat thermometer
  • Long-handled tongs
  • Clean your oven, broiler pan and oven rack before broiling. Nothing creates smoke faster when broiling than spilled fat on the oven floor, old bits of food stuck to a pan and pieces of char on the oven rack.

  • Set the oven rack at the highest position, or 4 to 6 inches below the broiler, if cooking chicken breasts, fish fillets or steaks 1 inch thick or less.

    Place the oven rack on the second-highest position, or 6 to 8 inches below the broiler, if cooking whole fish, fish fillets or steaks greater than 1 inch thick.

  • Heat the broiler about 10 minutes before you want to start cooking.

  • Trim as much extraneous hanging fat from your meat. Unnecessary fat causes scorching and smoking.

  • Coat the meats or vegetables with a very thin patina of oil, just enough to glisten the surface. Again, extra fat creates extra smoke. If broiling a whole fish, score it, or make 1.5-inch-long slashes through the skin 1 inch apart from each other on both sides.

  • Season the meat or veggies with kosher salt, but keep dried spices to a minimum and avoid fresh herbs. Excess dried spices and fresh herbs burn under the broiler.

  • Place the meat or veggies on the broiler pan or in a shallow dish lined with aluminum foil and set it in the oven.

  • Broil 1-inch-thick beef or lamb steaks for 5 to 7 minutes on each side for medium-rare, or until they reach an internal temperature of 130 degrees Fahrenheit; broil steaks greater than 1 inch thick for 10 to 14 minutes on each side for medium-rare.

    Broil 1-inch-thick beef or lamb steaks for 6 to 8 minutes on each side for medium, or until they reach an internal temperature of 140 F; broil steaks greater than 1 inch thick for 12 to 15 minutes on each side, or until they reach an internal temperature of 140 F.

    Broil 1-inch-thick beef or lamb steaks for 8 to 10 minutes on each side for well-done, or until they reach a minimum internal temperature of 160 F; broil steaks greater than 1 inch thick for 15 to 20 minutes on each side, or until they reach 160 F.

  • Broil chicken breasts for about 7 to 8 minutes on each side, or until they reach an internal temperature of 165 F; broil wings for about 3 to 4 minutes on each side.

  • Broil fish fillets or steaks for 4 minutes on each side for each inch of thickness. Broil fish fillets or steaks greater than 1 inch thick for 6 minutes on each side, or until they have an internal temperature of 145 F.

    Broil whole fish for 8 to 10 minutes on each side, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 145 F.

  • Broil pork loin sliced 1-inch-thick or less, pork chops or pork blade steaks for 8 to 12 minutes on each side, or until they reach a minimum internal temperature of 145 F.

    Broil pork loin or chops 1 inch thick or greater on the second-highest rack position for 12 to 15 minutes, or until they reach a minimum internal temperature of 145 F.

  • Broil veggies in a shallow dish with the oven rack set at the second-highest position until they reach the desired level of doneness. Bell peppers, corn, tomatoes, asparagus, eggplant, artichokes, tofu and squash all take between 12 and 20 minutes to heat through. Check on veggies after 10 minutes and turn them over.

Tips & Warnings

  • Open a window or two before you start the broiler and turn the stove's hood fan on. Broiling tends to generate a bit of smoke, depending on the meat. When it does, you want as much air flow as you can get from the kitchen to the outside.
  • Check the internal temperature of meat when broiling by pulling the oven rack out and removing the steak. Insert a meat thermometer horizontally into the thickest portion of the side and wait about 10 seconds to get an accurate reading.
  • Turn meat over halfway through cooking with long-handled tongs.
  • Cook pork ribs in the oven at 250 F for 1.5 to 2 hours per pound, or until they reach the desired tenderness.
  • Don't marinate meats with oil-based marinades if broiling them. Just like a grill flares up when fat drips on the flames, oil flares up in the oven under the broiler.
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends cooking beef to a minimum internal temperature of 145 F.

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  • Photo Credit David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images
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