Broiling, barbecuing and pan-broiling are
all forms of grilling. The difference between the methods lies in the
source of the heat. Grilled foods are cooked by radiant heat from a source
located below the food. They should have a smoky, slightly charred flavor
resulting from the flaring of the juices and fats that are rendered out as
the item cooks. The drippings that might have collected or reduced in a
sauté pan are actually reducing directly on the food's surface. This
creates an intensely flavored exterior.
Hardwoods such as grapevines, mesquite,
hickory or apple are frequently used to introduce a special flavor.
Branches of herbs may also be allowed to smolder on the fire to lend their
distinct flavor. Broiled foods are generally considered to be those cooked
by a heat source located above the food. The broiler is used to perform
other types of cooking, however, and this can result in a little
Frequently, delicate items such as lean
white fish are first brushed with butter and then placed on a heated
sizzler platter before being placed on the rack below the heat source.
This is not broiling in the strictest sense of the word. It is actually
closer to baking. Items prepared in this manner may still be referred to
as "broiled" on a menu.
Barbecuing is a term that can cause
confusion. In some parts of the country, it signifies a food that has been
basted repeated with a barbecue sauce during grilling. In others, it
refers to pit-roasted items. On some menus, it may have little if anything
to do with either a pit, spit or grill. A "barbecued meat sandwich" may
simply be roasted meat that has been thinly sliced and simmered in a
Pan-broiled foods are cooked on top of the
stove in a heavy cast-iron or other warp-resistant metal pan over intense
heat. Any fat or juices released during cooking are removed as they
accumulate. Otherwise the result is a sauté or a stew. Special pans made
to simulate a grill's effect may be used. These pans have thick ridges
that hold the food up and away from any juices or fat than might collect.