A broiler pan is a pan specially designed to use in the oven for broiling. It comes in two pieces, a slotted upper pan and a deeper, solid lower pan called a drip pan. Broiling allows food, such as meats, to be cooked at extremely high temperatures with a direct heat typically coming from above rather than below.
The broil setting on an electric oven allows the heat to come from the heating element at the top of the oven while turning off the bottom heating element. Gas ovens often have a separate lower drawer for broiling that allows food to be inserted below the pilot flame.
Broiling is a popular way to prepare meats, poultry, seafood, and vegetables. Unlike frying, the food is prepared without oil and is thus considered a healthier way to cook. The design of a broiler pan allows the natural fat and grease from meats to drip off through the slots of the upper pan into the lower pan. Cuts of meat, poultry or seafood should be thin and if lean, should be marinated or glazed to retain moisture since the broiling is a quick, but direct source of intense heat and can dry meat.
Most new ovens come with a broiler pan, but one can also be bought at most any retailer that sells cookware and housewares. Broiling can also be achieved without a specialized pan by using a wire baking rack that fits over a deeper pan that will catch the drippings. A broiler pan can be difficult to clean after use and should be sprayed with non-stick spray or lined with aluminum foil for easier clean up.
Recipes for dishes cooked on a broiler pan can sometimes be found on booklets included with new pans, but can also be found easily online. Much like grilling, broiling is a different method of cooking and may require practice before perfection is achieved. Some of the disadvantages of cooking on a broiler pan include overcooked meat, spattering in the oven and messy cleanup. Still, broiling is a quick and effective method of preparing meat dishes once the basics are mastered.