Serious Eats: Talk
Fear of Broiling in Gas Oven
I grew up in an electric oven/stove family. Every house we ever lived in came with that electric appliance, and I don't know if that was my parents' preference or just circumstance.
I never knew that other ovens had a use, beyond storage, for the little drawer at the bottom.
As an adult, every apartment I've lived in has had a gas stove. Well, that is, if it had a stove at all.
Getting accustomed to the stove part was easy enough, and investing in an oven thermometer has solved most of my baking apprehensions (the necessity of the oven thermometer owing more, I imagine, to the cheapness of my ovens, and their seemingly uncalibrated controls). But for years, broiling was a mystery to me. I never stored my pans in that bottom drawer, because there was clearly fire down there. Also, I realized that the broiling pan fit on the rungs beneath the fire, but it looked too cramped and close to the flame... I was wary.
Then one day I was at a dinner party, and the host made garlic bread using her gas broiler. Seeing her nonchalance as she just threw the pan with the bread under the gas fire, I thought, "So that is it! So simple."
A whole world of flavor possibilities had opened up to me and my kitchen... until the fire alarm went off, and I think someone screamed, and the pan was yanked from it's broiler drawer, bread in flames.
Someone sensible put out the fire. Someone less so threw another batch in the broiler. After all, we'd been pretty excited about eating garlic bread. The second batch was well tended and came out ok. The third went up in flames, but was caught in time to still have edible parts.
For these reasons, I am afraid to broil in my cheap gas oven. But I love the crisp... the caramelization... of broiled food! I am on the cusp of throwing all caution to the wind, and just broiling up a storm, but I thought it more sensible to first ask advice of other gas oven owners out there.
Does anyone have any tips for care-free indoor fire cooking?