Grilling Versus Broiling. Why It’s Important to Know the Differences

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Grilling versus broiling. Why is Important to Know the Differences

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Have you ever felt confused about seeing the word broiling in a recipe? Sure, it’s pretty similar to grilling, but maybe that makes it even more confusing. So grilling versus broiling: what are the things you should know about that? 

What do you do when you have a piece of meat? Grilling it’s probably the first thing that comes to your mind. And it’s quite normal to go there since it’s so easy to make. But sometimes, for whatever reason, you just can’t use your grilling machine. For those moments, it’s better to know what broiling means and how to do it.

The first time I heard about the existence of a ‘broiler’, I did a quick search on Google Images and I saw a lot of chickens. Don’t do like I did! If you want to learn more about broilers on Google, search for ‘oven broiler’ instead.

When it comes to grilling versus broiling, there are plenty of differences, but also similarities.

Grilling versus broiling. Why is Important to Know the Differences
When you grill, the heating source is below the food.

Grilling versus broiling

Long story short, grilling and broiling refer to a similar cooking process with only one major difference. When grilling, the heat source is below (like with a barbecue grill), but in oven broiling, the heating source is above. Both grilling and broiling involve intense direct heat. They both provide a charring and caramelization that give food that distinct flavor. You have to keep an eye on both of them to avoid burning.

The temperature

Unlike the grill, your oven has a thermostat that helps you control the temperature. Seems helpful, right? Well, it depends. It depends on your oven because there are some that can turn off when they get to a certain temperature (about 500 to 550 degrees F / 260 to 288 degrees C). A turned off oven isn’t very helpful when you want to broil something because it interrupts that constant direct heat. To keep your broiler hot continuously, prop open the oven door an inch or two. This allows some heat to escape and will keep the oven from reaching its highest temperature where the thermostat may turn off the heating element.

Otherwise, instead of broiling, your meal will cook in its liquid, and that means that it’s actually baking. For broiling, you need direct heat from the source. But be careful and do most broiling about 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm) from the heat source.


When you grill, you need to preheat the machine before adding foods on it. In the same way, when broiling you should preheat the surface on which you place the foods. In this case, it’s the broiling pan. This pan also allows the grease and fat to drip away, and help you get good searing on the surface of meats. You might still need to flip it halfway through the cooking process to cook it evenly.

grilling versus broiling
The broiling or broiler pan is also known as broiler roaster, oven roaster or oven broiling pan.

Keeping an eye on the food

When you grill something, you need to keep an eye on your food, so that the meat or veggies won’t burn. It’s the same with broiling. Foods can still easily burn and even catch fire if you’re not careful. In the beginning, you can leave the kitchen for, let’s say, 10-15 minutes, depending on the food you cook. But you should stay close to the oven while broiling and check it often. Broiling might take longer than grilling because the temperatures might not be as high, but don’t assume that it will take much longer.

Reducing the smoke

If you use an outdoor grill you don’t have a problem with the smoke. But, if you use an indoor electric grill or the oven broiler, then you’re probably concerned about the smoke that invades your house. The first thing you have to do to reduce the smoke is to trim the excess fat from meats. The second, to cut back on oil-based marinades. The third, to keep an eye on the foods to prevent them from burning or overcooking.

While broiling won’t give foods the same great grilled flavor, in a pinch it can be a very good way to cook. Pay attention to what you’re doing and you will quickly master this alternative method.

When it comes to grilling versus broiling, many people see them as alternatives to each other, as both techniques use intense heat for cooking.

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5 thoughts on “Grilling Versus Broiling. Why It’s Important to Know the Differences”

  1. Wrong! Grilling – the heat source is from above. Frying or barbecuing the heat source is from below. Just saying.

  2. It just depends on whether you are in the US or Europe or Australia/New-Zealand. In European English and in Australia/New-Zealand, grilling is heat from above and what the Americans call grilling is called barbequing in Europe, Australia/New-Zealand. So what they call broiling in the states, we call grilling in Europe.

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