Grilling
Overview
 

Grilling is a form of cooking that involves dry heat applied to the surface of food, commonly from above or below.

Grilling usually involves a significant amount of direct, radiant heat, and tends to be used for cooking meat quickly and meat that has already been cut into slices (or other pieces). Food to be grilled is cooked on a grill
Grill (cooking)
A barbecue grill is a device for cooking food by applying heat directly from below. There are several varieties of such grills, with most falling into one of two categories: gas-fueled and charcoal. There is a great debate over the merits of charcoal or gas for use as the cooking method between...

 (an open wire grid with a heat source above or below), a grill pan (similar to a frying pan
Frying pan
A frying pan, frypan, or skillet is a flat-bottomed pan used for frying, searing, and browning foods. It is typically in diameter with relatively low sides that flare outwards, a long handle, and no lid. Larger pans may have a small grab handle opposite the main handle...

, but with raised ridges to mimic the wires of an open grill), or griddle
Griddle
A griddle is a cooking device consisting of a broad flat surface that can be heated using a variety of means, and is used in both residential and commercial applications for a variety of cooking operations. Most commonly, the griddle consists of a flat metal plate, but in the non-industrialized...

 (a flat plate heated from below).
Encyclopedia

Grilling is a form of cooking that involves dry heat applied to the surface of food, commonly from above or below.

Grilling usually involves a significant amount of direct, radiant heat, and tends to be used for cooking meat quickly and meat that has already been cut into slices (or other pieces). Food to be grilled is cooked on a grill
Grill (cooking)
A barbecue grill is a device for cooking food by applying heat directly from below. There are several varieties of such grills, with most falling into one of two categories: gas-fueled and charcoal. There is a great debate over the merits of charcoal or gas for use as the cooking method between...

 (an open wire grid with a heat source above or below), a grill pan (similar to a frying pan
Frying pan
A frying pan, frypan, or skillet is a flat-bottomed pan used for frying, searing, and browning foods. It is typically in diameter with relatively low sides that flare outwards, a long handle, and no lid. Larger pans may have a small grab handle opposite the main handle...

, but with raised ridges to mimic the wires of an open grill), or griddle
Griddle
A griddle is a cooking device consisting of a broad flat surface that can be heated using a variety of means, and is used in both residential and commercial applications for a variety of cooking operations. Most commonly, the griddle consists of a flat metal plate, but in the non-industrialized...

 (a flat plate heated from below). Heat transfer to the food when using a grill is primarily via thermal radiation
Thermal radiation
Thermal radiation is electromagnetic radiation generated by the thermal motion of charged particles in matter. All matter with a temperature greater than absolute zero emits thermal radiation....

. Heat transfer when using a grill pan or griddle is by direct conduction. In the United States and Canada, when the heat source for grilling comes from above, grilling is termed broiling. In this case, the pan that holds the food is called a broiler pan, and heat transfer is by thermal convection.

Direct heat grilling can expose food to temperatures often in excess of 260 °C (500 °F). Grilled meat acquires a distinctive roast aroma from a chemical process called the Maillard reaction
Maillard reaction
The Maillard reaction is a form of nonenzymatic browning similar to caramelization. It results from a chemical reaction between an amino acid and a reducing sugar, usually requiring heat....

. The Maillard reaction only occurs when foods reach temperatures in excess of 155 °C (311 °F).

Studies have shown that cooking beef
Beef
Beef is the culinary name for meat from bovines, especially domestic cattle. Beef can be harvested from cows, bulls, heifers or steers. It is one of the principal meats used in the cuisine of the Middle East , Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Europe and the United States, and is also important in...

, pork
Pork
Pork is the culinary name for meat from the domestic pig , which is eaten in many countries. It is one of the most commonly consumed meats worldwide, with evidence of pig husbandry dating back to 5000 BC....

, poultry
Poultry
Poultry are domesticated birds kept by humans for the purpose of producing eggs, meat, and/or feathers. These most typically are members of the superorder Galloanserae , especially the order Galliformes and the family Anatidae , commonly known as "waterfowl"...

, and fish
Fish (food)
Fish is a food consumed by many species, including humans. The word "fish" refers to both the animal and to the food prepared from it. Fish has been an important source of protein for humans throughout recorded history.-Terminology:...

 at high temperatures can lead to the formation of heterocyclic amines, benzopyrene
Benzopyrene
Benzo[a]pyrene, C20H12, is a five-ring polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon whose metabolites are mutagenic and highly carcinogenic. Benzo[a]pyrene is listed as a Group 1 carcinogen by the IARC. It belongs to a class of polycyclic aromatic compounds known as benzopyrenes, which consist of a benzene...

s, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon
Aromatic hydrocarbon
An aromatic hydrocarbon or arene is a hydrocarbon with alternating double and single bonds between carbon atoms. The term 'aromatic' was assigned before the physical mechanism determining aromaticity was discovered, and was derived from the fact that many of the compounds have a sweet scent...

s, which are carcinogen
Carcinogen
A carcinogen is any substance, radionuclide, or radiation that is an agent directly involved in causing cancer. This may be due to the ability to damage the genome or to the disruption of cellular metabolic processes...

s.
However, proper marination
Marination
Marination is the process of soaking foods in a seasoned, often acidic, liquid before cooking. The origins of the word allude to the use of brine in the pickling process, which led to the technique of adding flavor by immersion in liquid...

 may reduce the formation of these compounds. Grilling is often presented as a healthy alternative to cooking with oil, although the fat and juices lost by grilling can contribute to drier food.

In the US

In the United States, use of the word grill refers to cooking food directly over a source of dry heat, typically with the food sitting on a metal grate that leaves "grill marks." Grilling is usually done outdoors on charcoal
Charcoal
Charcoal is the dark grey residue consisting of carbon, and any remaining ash, obtained by removing water and other volatile constituents from animal and vegetation substances. Charcoal is usually produced by slow pyrolysis, the heating of wood or other substances in the absence of oxygen...

 grills or gas grills, a recent trend is the concept of infrared
Infrared
Infrared light is electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength longer than that of visible light, measured from the nominal edge of visible red light at 0.74 micrometres , and extending conventionally to 300 µm...

 grilling. Grilling may also be performed using stove-top "grill pan
Griddle
A griddle is a cooking device consisting of a broad flat surface that can be heated using a variety of means, and is used in both residential and commercial applications for a variety of cooking operations. Most commonly, the griddle consists of a flat metal plate, but in the non-industrialized...

s" which have raised metal ridges for the food to sit on, or using an indoor electric grill.

A skewer
Skewer
A skewer is a thin metal or wood stick used to hold pieces of food together. They are used while grilling or roasting meats, and in other culinary applications....

 or brochette
Brochette
In cooking, en brochette refers to food cooked, and sometimes served, on brochettes, or skewers. The French term generally applies to French cuisine, while other terms like shish kebab, satay, or souvlaki describe the same technique in other cuisines...

, or a rotisserie
Rotisserie
Rotisserie is a style of roasting where meat is skewered on a spit - a long solid rod used to hold food while it is being cooked over a fire in a fireplace or over a campfire, or roasted in an oven. This method is generally used for cooking large joints of meat or entire animals, such as pigs,...

 may be used to cook small pieces of food. The resulting food product is often called a "kabob" or "kebab" which means "to grill" in Persian, which is short for "shish kebab" (shish = skewer)(similar to a "satay" in Asian cuisine, or "alambre" in Mexican-Yucatan cuisine). Shish kebabs have a Persian origin, but are now commonplace in American cuisine.

Mesquite
Mesquite
Mesquite is a leguminous plant of the Prosopis genus found in northern Mexico through the Sonoran Desert and Chihuahuan Deserts, and up into the Southwestern United States as far north as southern Kansas, west to the Colorado Desert in California,and east to the eastern fifth of Texas, where...

 or hickory
Hickory
Trees in the genus Carya are commonly known as hickory, derived from the Powhatan language of Virginia. The genus includes 17–19 species of deciduous trees with pinnately compound leaves and big nuts...

 wood chips (damp) may be added on top of the coals to allow a smoldering effect that provides additional flavor to the food. Other hardwoods such as pecan
Pecan
The pecan , Carya illinoinensis, is a species of hickory, native to south-central North America, in Mexico from Coahuila south to Jalisco and Veracruz, in the United States from southern Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, and Indiana east to western Kentucky, southwestern Ohio, North Carolina, South...

, apple
Apple
The apple is the pomaceous fruit of the apple tree, species Malus domestica in the rose family . It is one of the most widely cultivated tree fruits, and the most widely known of the many members of genus Malus that are used by humans. Apple grow on small, deciduous trees that blossom in the spring...

, maple
Maple
Acer is a genus of trees or shrubs commonly known as maple.Maples are variously classified in a family of their own, the Aceraceae, or together with the Hippocastanaceae included in the family Sapindaceae. Modern classifications, including the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group system, favour inclusion in...

 and oak
Oak
An oak is a tree or shrub in the genus Quercus , of which about 600 species exist. "Oak" may also appear in the names of species in related genera, notably Lithocarpus...

 may also be used.

UK and Ireland

In the United Kingdom, Commonwealth countries
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

 (except Canada), and Ireland, grilling generally refers to cooking food directly under a source of direct, dry heat. The "grill" is usually a separate part of an oven where the food is inserted just under the element. This practice is referred to as "broiling" in North America.
In electric ovens, grilling may be accomplished by placing the food near the upper heating element
Heating element
A heating element converts electricity into heat through the process of Joule heating. Electric current through the element encounters resistance, resulting in heating of the element....

, with the lower heating element off and the oven door partially open. Grilling in an electric oven may create much smoke and cause splattering in the oven. Gas ovens often have a separate compartment for grilling, as a drawer below the flame.

Japan and other Asia

In Japanese cities, a yakitori
Yakitori
, grilled chicken, is commonly a Japanese type of skewered chicken. The term Yakitori can also refer to skewered food in general. Kushiyaki , is a formal term that encompasses both poultry and non-poultry items, skewered and grilled...

 cart, restaurant, or shop with charcoal-fired grills and marinated grilled meat on a stick can often be found. Yakiniku
Yakiniku
Yakiniku , meaning "grilled meat", is a Japanese term which, in its broadest sense, refers to grilled meat dishes. The present style of yakiniku restaurants are derived from the Korean restaurants in Osaka and Tokyo which were opened around 1945....

, is a type of food where meat and/or vegetables are grilled directly over small charcoal or gas grills at high temperatures (this style of cooking has become widely popular throughout Asia). In Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and Thailand, a popular food item from food vendors is satay
Satay
Satay , or sate, is a dish of marinated, skewered and grilled meat, served with a sauce. Satay may consist of diced or sliced chicken, goat, mutton, beef, pork, fish, other meats, or tofu; the more authentic version uses skewers from the midrib of the coconut palm frond, although bamboo skewers are...

, marinated meat on a bamboo skewer grilled over a charcoal fire and served with peanut (sate) sauce.

Germany

In Germany, the most prominent outdoor form of grilling is by using charcoal in a kettle. Besides charcoal, sometimes gas and electric heat sources are used, too. Other methods are used less frequently.

South America

In Argentina and Uruguay, both asado (beef roasted on a fire) and steak a la parrilla (beefsteak cooked on traditional grill) are staple dishes and even hailed as national specialities.

Dangers of grilling

When meat is grilled at high temperatures, it becomes contaminated with carcinogenic (cancer-causing) chemicals. (This is not specific to grilling, but also true of high-temperature frying
Frying
Frying is the cooking of food in oil or another fat, a technique that originated in ancient Egypt around 2500 BC. Chemically, oils and fats are the same, differing only in melting point, but the distinction is only made when needed. In commerce, many fats are called oils by custom, e.g...

 and very high-temperature baking
Baking
Baking is the technique of prolonged cooking of food by dry heat acting by convection, and not by radiation, normally in an oven, but also in hot ashes, or on hot stones. It is primarily used for the preparation of bread, cakes, pastries and pies, tarts, quiches, cookies and crackers. Such items...

.) The mechanism is two-fold:
  • heterocyclic amines
    Heterocyclic amines
    Heterocyclic amines, also sometime referred to as HCAs, are chemical compounds containing at least one heterocyclic ring, which by definition has atoms of at least two different elements, plus the compound has at least one amine group. While some heterocycles are amines themselves, the amines...

     - "HCAs are formed when amino acids (the building blocks of proteins), sugars, and creatine
    Creatine
    Creatine is a nitrogenous organic acid that occurs naturally in vertebrates and helps to supply energy to all cells in the body, primarily muscle. This is achieved by increasing the formation of Adenosine triphosphate...

     (a substance found in muscle
    Muscle
    Muscle is a contractile tissue of animals and is derived from the mesodermal layer of embryonic germ cells. Muscle cells contain contractile filaments that move past each other and change the size of the cell. They are classified as skeletal, cardiac, or smooth muscles. Their function is to...

    ) react at high temperatures."
  • polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons - "PAHs are formed when fat and juices from meat grilled directly over an open fire drip onto the fire, causing flames. These flames contain PAHs that then adhere to the surface of the meat. PAHs can also be formed during other food preparation processes, such as smoking of meats."


However it is possible to significantly reduce carcinogens when grilling meat, or mitigate their effect. For example:
  • garlic
    Garlic
    Allium sativum, commonly known as garlic, is a species in the onion genus, Allium. Its close relatives include the onion, shallot, leek, chive, and rakkyo. Dating back over 6,000 years, garlic is native to central Asia, and has long been a staple in the Mediterranean region, as well as a frequent...

    , rosemary
    Rosemary
    Rosemary, , is a woody, perennial herb with fragrant, evergreen, needle-like leaves and white, pink, purple or blue flowers, native to the Mediterranean region. It is a member of the mint family Lamiaceae, which includes many other herbs, and is one of two species in the genus Rosmarinus...

    , basil
    Basil
    Basil, or Sweet Basil, is a common name for the culinary herb Ocimum basilicum , of the family Lamiaceae , sometimes known as Saint Joseph's Wort in some English-speaking countries....

    , mint
    MiNT
    MiNT is a free software alternative operating system kernel for the Atari ST and its successors. Together with the free system components fVDI , XaAES , and TeraDesk , MiNT provides a free TOS compatible replacement OS that is capable of multitasking.MiNT was originally released by Eric Smith as...

    , sage
    Sage
    - People :*A "sage" is any wise teacher, someone who imparts wisdom or the perennial philosophy, including spiritual teachers and teachers of mysticism but not necessarily with such religious connotations, so may refer to a:...

    , savory
    Savory
    Savory or Savoury may refer to:* Savory , herbs of the genus Satureja, particularly :** Summer savory , an annual herb** Winter savory , a perennial herb* Savoriness, a type of taste....

    , marjoram
    Marjoram
    Marjoram is a somewhat cold-sensitive perennial herb or undershrub with sweet pine and citrus flavours...

    , oregano
    Oregano
    Oregano – scientifically named Origanum vulgare by Carolus Linnaeus – is a common species of Origanum, a genus of the mint family . It is native to warm-temperate western and southwestern Eurasia and the Mediterranean region.Oregano is a perennial herb, growing from 20–80 cm tall,...

    , olive oil
    Olive oil
    Olive oil is an oil obtained from the olive , a traditional tree crop of the Mediterranean Basin. It is commonly used in cooking, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and soaps and as a fuel for traditional oil lamps...

    , cherries, and vitamin E
    Vitamin E
    Vitamin E is used to refer to a group of fat-soluble compounds that include both tocopherols and tocotrienols. There are many different forms of vitamin E, of which γ-tocopherol is the most common in the North American diet. γ-Tocopherol can be found in corn oil, soybean oil, margarine and dressings...

     have been shown to reduce formation of both HCAs and PCAs
  • pre-cooking in the microwave, then draining meat juices so they do not fall onto flames, preventing release of PCAs
  • side dishes and drinks rich in antioxidants, such as tea, can neutralize the toxins by mixing in one's stomach

Benefits of grilling

  • Grilled foods can be lower in saturated fat
    Saturated fat
    Saturated fat is fat that consists of triglycerides containing only saturated fatty acids. Saturated fatty acids have no double bonds between the individual carbon atoms of the fatty acid chain. That is, the chain of carbon atoms is fully "saturated" with hydrogen atoms...

    , if fat is allowed to drip out after it liquifies.

Gridironing

Gridironing is the cooking of meats or other foods using a grill suspended above a heat source. Grilling is often performed outdoors, using charcoal
Charcoal
Charcoal is the dark grey residue consisting of carbon, and any remaining ash, obtained by removing water and other volatile constituents from animal and vegetation substances. Charcoal is usually produced by slow pyrolysis, the heating of wood or other substances in the absence of oxygen...

 (real wood or preformed briquettes), wood, or propane
Propane
Propane is a three-carbon alkane with the molecular formula , normally a gas, but compressible to a transportable liquid. A by-product of natural gas processing and petroleum refining, it is commonly used as a fuel for engines, oxy-gas torches, barbecues, portable stoves, and residential central...

 gas. Food is cooked using direct radiant heat. Some outdoor grills include a cover so they can be used as smokers or for grill-roasting/barbecue. The suspended metal grate is often referred to as a gridiron
Gridiron (cooking)
A gridiron is a metal grate with parallel bars typically used for grilling meat, fish, vegetables, or combinations of such foods. It may also be two such grids, hinged to fold together, to securely hold food while grilling over an open flame.-Development:...

.

Outdoor grilling on a gridiron may be referred to as "barbecue", though in US usage, the term barbecue referred to the cooking of meat by indirect heat and smoke (see below). Barbecue has several meanings and may also be used to refer to the grilled food itself, to a distinct type of cooked meat called Southern barbecue
Barbecue in the United States
In the United States as in most developed countries, barbecue refers to a technique of cooking that involves cooking meat for long periods of time at low temperatures over a wood fire; often this is called pit barbecue, and the facility for cooking it is the barbecue pit...

, to the grilling device used to cook the food (a barbecue grill), or to the social event of cooking and eating such food (which may also be called a cook-out or braai
Braai
The word braaivleis is Afrikaans for "grilled meat."The word braai is Afrikaans for "barbecue" or "grill" and is a social custom in South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, Zimbabwe and Zambia. The term originated with the Afrikaner people, but has since been adopted by South Africans of many...

).

Charcoal kettle-grilling

Charcoal kettle-grilling refers to the process of grilling over a charcoal fire in a kettle, to the point that the edges are charred, or charred grill marks are visible. Some restaurants seek to re-create the charcoal-grilled experience via the use of ceramic lava rocks or infrared heat sources, offering meats that are cooked in this manner as "charcoal-cooked" or "charcoal-grilled".

Barbecue

The term "barbecue" was traditionally applied to a cooking method where low, indirect heat and smoking wood (or hot coals of charcoal
Charcoal
Charcoal is the dark grey residue consisting of carbon, and any remaining ash, obtained by removing water and other volatile constituents from animal and vegetation substances. Charcoal is usually produced by slow pyrolysis, the heating of wood or other substances in the absence of oxygen...

) were used to slow cook basted
Basting (cooking)
Basting is a cooking technique that involves cooking meat with either its own juices or some type of preparation such as a sauce or marinade. The meat is left to cook, then periodically coated with the juice....

 pork or beef, in a process similar to earth oven
Earth oven
An earth oven or cooking pit is one of the most simple and long-used cooking structures . At its simplest, an earth oven is simply a pit in the ground used to trap heat and bake, smoke, or steam food...

 or masonry oven
Masonry oven
A masonry oven, colloquially known as a brick oven or stone oven, is an oven consisting of a baking chamber made of fireproof brick, concrete, stone, or clay. Though traditionally wood-fired, coal-fired ovens were common in the 19th century, modern masonry ovens are often fired with natural gas or...

 cooking.

Using indirect heat, one places the food item so that it is not directly over flames or coals. This is done by having the fire or coals on only one section of the grill and placing the food item on a part of the cooking grill opposite the flames or coals - for example, having the burners going on the right side of a gas grill but off on the left side or placing the coals on the right side of the grill and no coals on the left side. In a charcoal grill, when indirect grilling, it is best to place a foil pan of water under the food to keep it from drying out. Using the indirect grilling method is best for large cuts of meat or bone-in poultry. It allows the food to slowly cook all the way through without burning or charring on the outside of the meat. Traditional American barbecue is cooked using a grill-roast or grill-bake method, combining two techniques simultaneously.

In addition, by using a baking sheet pan placed above the grill surface, as well as a drip pan below the surface, it is possible to combine grilling and baking to cook meats that are stuffed or coated with breadcrumbs or batter, as well as to cook breads and even casserole
Casserole
A casserole, from the French for "saucepan", is a large, deep dish used both in the oven and as a serving vessel. The word casserole is also used for the food cooked and served in such a vessel, with the cookware itself called a casserole dish or casserole pan...

s and desserts. When cooking stuffed or coated meats, the foods can be baked first on the sheet pan, and then placed directly on the grilling surface for char marks, effectively cooking twice; the drip pan will be used to capture any crumbs that fall off from the coating or stuffing.

Grill-braising

It is possible to braise
Braising
Braising , is a combination cooking method using both moist and dry heat; typically the food is first seared at a high temperature and then finished in a covered pot with a variable amount of liquid, resulting in a particular flavour...

 meats and vegetables in a pot on top of a grill. A gas or electric grill would be the best choices for what is known as "barbecue-braising" or "grill-braising", or combining grilling directly on the surface and braising in a pot. To braise on a grill, put a pot on top of the grill, cover it, and let it simmer for a few hours. There are two advantages to barbecue-braising: the first is that this method now allows for browning the meat directly on the grill before the braising, and the second is that it also allows for glazing the meat with sauce and finishing it directly over the fire after the braising, effectively cooking the meat three times, which results in a soft textured product that falls right off the bone. This method of cooking is slower than regular grilling but faster than pit-smoking, starting out fast, slowing down, and then speeding up again to finish; if a pressure cooker
Pressure cooking
Pressure cooking is a method of cooking in a sealed vessel that does not permit air or liquids to escape below a preset pressure. Because the boiling point of water increases as the pressure increases, the pressure built up inside the cooker allows the liquid in the pot to rise to a higher...

 is used, the cooking time will be much faster.

Indoor grilling

Many restaurants incorporate an indoor grill as part of their cooking apparatus. These grills resemble outdoor grills, in that they are made up of a grid suspended over a heat source. Indoor grills are more likely to use electric or gas-based heating elements, however. Some manufacturers of residential cooking appliances now offer indoor grills for home use, either incorporated into a stovetop or as standalone electric devices.

Sear grilling

Sear-grill and gear grilling is a process of searing
Searing
Searing is a technique used in grilling, baking, braising, roasting, sautéing, etc., in which the surface of the food is cooked at high temperature so a caramelized crust forms. Similar techniques, browning and blackening, are typically used to sear all sides of a particular piece of meat, fish,...

 meat or food items with an infrared grill. In sear grilling, propane or natural gas is used to heat a ceramic plate, which then radiates heat at temperatures over 480 °C (900 °F).

Sear-grilling instantly sears the outside of meat to make the food more flavorful. Commonly, grilling heats the surrounding air to cook food. Instead, the infrared grill directly heats the food, not the air.

Stove-top pan grilling

Stove-top pan grilling is an indoor cooking process that uses a grill pan - a cooking pan similar to a frying pan but with raised ridges to emulate the function or look of a gridiron. In pan grilling, heat is applied directly to the food by the raised ridges, and also indirectly by heat radiating off the lower pan surface via the stove-top flame. Stove-top grill pans can also be used to put sear marks on meat before it is finished via overhead radiant heat. When cooking leaner meats, oil is often applied to the pan ridges to aid in food release.

Some griddles designed for stove-top use also incorporate raised ridges in addition to a flat cooking area. These are either on half of the cooking surface, or, in the case of reversible two-sided griddles, on one side with the flat surface on the other.

Flattop grilling

Foods termed "grilled" may actually be prepared on a hot griddle, or flat pan. The griddle or pan may be prepared with oil (or butter), and the food is cooked quickly over a high heat. Griddle-grilling is best for relatively greasy foods such as sausages. Some griddle-grilled foods may have grill marks applied to them during the cooking process with a branding plate, to mimic the appearance of charbroil-cooked food.

A flattop grill is a cooking appliance that resembles a griddle
Griddle
A griddle is a cooking device consisting of a broad flat surface that can be heated using a variety of means, and is used in both residential and commercial applications for a variety of cooking operations. Most commonly, the griddle consists of a flat metal plate, but in the non-industrialized...

 but performs differently because the heating element is circular rather than straight (side to side). This heating technology creates an extremely hot and even cooking surface, as heat spreads in a radial fashion over the surface.

The first flattop grills originated in Spain and are known as planchas or la plancha. Food that is cooked a la plancha means grilled on a metal plate. Plancha griddles or flat tops are chrome plated which prevents reaction with the food. Some base metal griddles will impart a subtle flavor to the food being cooked. Also, with a plancha if you use a low even heat and a drop of oil you can toast the food and caramelize some of the natural sugars in the food. For example, "Filetes a la plancha" translates to grilled beef fillets. La plancha recipes are found in Latin American (South American countries like: Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, & Paraguay) and Cuban cuisine.

The flattop grill is a versatile platform for many cooking techniques such as sautéing
Sautéing
Sautéing is a method of cooking food, that uses a small amount of fat in a shallow pan over relatively high heat. Ingredients are usually cut into pieces or thinly sliced to facilitate fast cooking. The primary mode of heat transfer during sautéing is conduction between the pan and the food being...

, toasting, steaming
Steaming
Steaming is a method of cooking using steam. Steaming is considered a healthy cooking technique and capable of cooking almost all kinds of food.-Method:...

, stir frying
Stir frying
Stir frying is an umbrella term used to describe two Chinese cooking techniques for preparing food in a wok: chǎo and bào . The term stir-fry was introduced into the English language by Buwei Yang Chao, in her book How to Cook and Eat in Chinese, to describe the chǎo technique...

, grilling, baking
Baking
Baking is the technique of prolonged cooking of food by dry heat acting by convection, and not by radiation, normally in an oven, but also in hot ashes, or on hot stones. It is primarily used for the preparation of bread, cakes, pastries and pies, tarts, quiches, cookies and crackers. Such items...

, braising
Braising
Braising , is a combination cooking method using both moist and dry heat; typically the food is first seared at a high temperature and then finished in a covered pot with a variable amount of liquid, resulting in a particular flavour...

, and roasting
Roasting
Roasting is a cooking method that uses dry heat, whether an open flame, oven, or other heat source. Roasting usually causes caramelization or Maillard browning of the surface of the food, which is considered by some as a flavor enhancement. Roasting uses more indirect, diffused heat , and is...

, and can also be used in flambé
Flambé
Flambé is a cooking procedure in which alcohol is added to a hot pan to create a burst of flames. The word means flamed in French ....

ing. In addition, pots and pans can be placed directly on the cooking surface for even more cooking flexibility. In most cases, the steel cooking surface is seasoned like cast iron cookware, providing a natural non-stick surface.

Charbroiling

Charbroiling, or chargrilling outside North America, refers to grilling on a surface with wide raised ridges, to the point of having the food slightly charred in texture. The phrase "put it in the broiler" is translated as "put it over/under the grill."

Overhead grilling

In the United States, oven pan broiling refers to a method of cooking on a broil pan with raised ridges, inside an oven, when the heat can be applied from either above or below. In gas and electric ovens, this is accomplished with a heating element
Heating element
A heating element converts electricity into heat through the process of Joule heating. Electric current through the element encounters resistance, resulting in heating of the element....

 and a broil pan. Sometimes, the food is placed near the upper heating element to intensify the heat. The lower heating element may or may not be left off and the oven door is sometimes opened partially. Gas ovens often have a separate compartment for broiling, sometimes a drawer below the bottom flame.

Salamander

A salamander is a culinary broiler characterized by very high temperature overhead infrared heating elements which may be powered by either electricity or gas. It is used primarily in professional kitchens for overhead grilling (US: broiling). It is also used for toast
Toast
Toast is bread that has been browned by exposure to radiant heat. This browning reaction is known as the Maillard reaction. Toasting warms the bread and makes it firmer, so it holds toppings more securely...

ing, as well as browning of gratin
Gratin
Gratin is a widespread culinary technique in food preparation in which an ingredient is topped with a browned crust, often using breadcrumbs, grated cheese, egg and/or butter. Gratin originated in French cuisine and is usually prepared in a shallow dish of some kind...

 dishes, melting cheeses onto sandwich
Sandwich
A sandwich is a food item, typically consisting of two or more slices of :bread with one or more fillings between them, or one slice of bread with a topping or toppings, commonly called an open sandwich. Sandwiches are a widely popular type of lunch food, typically taken to work or school, or...

es, and caramelising desserts such as crème brûlée
Crème brûlée
Crème brûlée , also known as burnt cream, crema catalana, or Trinity cream is a dessert consisting of a rich custard base topped with a contrasting layer of hard caramel...

.

Salamanders are generally similar to an oven without a front door, with the heating elements at the top. They are more compact: typically only half the height and depth of a conventional oven. They are often wall mounted at eye level enabling easy access and close control of the cooking process. Many salamanders can be fitted with a cast iron "branding" plate which are used to make grill marks on the surface of meat. Some grills can also be fitted with a rotisserie
Rotisserie
Rotisserie is a style of roasting where meat is skewered on a spit - a long solid rod used to hold food while it is being cooked over a fire in a fireplace or over a campfire, or roasted in an oven. This method is generally used for cooking large joints of meat or entire animals, such as pigs,...

 accessory for roasting meats.

Overhead heat has the advantage of allowing foods containing fats, such as steaks, chops and other cuts of meat, to be grilled without the risk of flare-ups caused by the rendered fat dripping into the heat source. The salamander's facility for extremely high temperature also takes less cooking time than other grilling techniques, reducing preparation times, which is a benefit in professional kitchens during a busy meal service.

Modern electric or gas salamanders take their name from the earlier salamander, an iron disc on a handle which is heated and placed over a dish to brown it, which in turn is named after the legendary salamander
Salamander (legendary creature)
The salamander is an amphibian of the order Urodela. As with many real creatures, pre-modern authors often ascribed fantastic qualities to it , and in recent times some have come to identify a legendary salamander as a distinct concept from the real organism. This idea is most highly developed in...

, an amphibian that was mythically believed to be immune to fire..
In the 18th century, a salamander was the tool of choice for toasting the top of a dish. It consisted of a thick plate of iron attached to the end of a long handle with 2 feet, or rests, arranged near the end (where the iron plate is) for propping the plate over the food to be browned.

Two-sided grilling

Some commercial devices permit the simultaneous grilling of both sides of the meat at the same time.

The flame-grilling machine at Burger King
Burger King
Burger King, often abbreviated as BK, is a global chain of hamburger fast food restaurants headquartered in unincorporated Miami-Dade County, Florida, United States. The company began in 1953 as Insta-Burger King, a Jacksonville, Florida-based restaurant chain...

, Carl's Jr.
Carl's Jr.
Carl's Jr. is an American fast-food restaurant chain located mostly in the Western and Southwestern United States. The first store has opened in Canada in Kelowna, BC. They are in the process of expanding to Mexico, Malaysia, Denmark, Costa Rica, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Russia, Vietnam,...

/Hardee's
Hardee's
Hardee's is a restaurant chain, located mostly in the Southeast and Midwestern regions of the United States. It has evolved through several corporate ownerships since its establishment in 1960. It is currently owned and operated by CKE Restaurants. Along with its sibling restaurant chain, Carl's...

, and other restaurants is called a 'broiler'. It works by moving meat patties
Patty
A patty is a flattened cake, often of meat.Patty may also refer to:* Patty , a family name* Patricia, a female given name, in all forms of English* Patrick , a male given name, in Australian English and Hiberno-English...

 along a chain conveyor belt between top and bottom burners, grilling both sides of the meat patty at the same time. This concept was invented in 1898, when the Bridge and Beach Co. of St. Louis, Missouri, started manufacturing a vertical cast iron stove. These stoves were designed to allow the meat to be flame-broiled (flame-grilled) on both sides at the same time. Custom hinged steel wire gridirons were built for use in the vertical broilers. The hinged gridirons were slid in and out of the stoves holding the meat while it cooked evenly on both sides, like modern day oven racks. These stoves took up a small amount of counter space. They were used in lunch spots to feed factory workers. One famous example of a vertical grill still in use is the purported inventor of the hamburger, Louis' Lunch
Louis' Lunch
Louis' Lunch in New Haven, Connecticut, advertises itself as the first restaurant to serve hamburgers and as being the oldest hamburger restaurant still operating in the U.S. Opened as a small lunch wagon in 1895, Louis' Lunch was also one of the first places in the U.S...

 , in New Haven, CT.

During the 1990s, double-sided grilling was popular in the USA using consumer electrical grills (e.g., the popular George Foreman Grill
George Foreman Grill
The George Foreman Lean Mean Fat-Reducing Grilling Machine, commonly known as the George Foreman Grill, is an indoor, electrically-heated grill manufactured by Russell Hobbs Inc.. It is promoted by George Foreman, a former champion boxer. Since its introduction in 1994, over 100 million George...

). US marketers of electric double-sided grilling appliances opted for the global term 'grilling' rather than the geographically isolated term "broiler." Hinged double-sided grills are generically known as contact grills.

Stone grills

Sometimes a stone is used to grill foods. Stones in these cases can store temperatures up to 450 °C (842 °F). Foods grilled on stone involve no fats or oil and are considered a healthier alternative.

Toaster

A toaster is typically a small electric kitchen appliance designed to grill diverse types of bread products to make toast
Toast
Toast is bread that has been browned by exposure to radiant heat. This browning reaction is known as the Maillard reaction. Toasting warms the bread and makes it firmer, so it holds toppings more securely...

. A typical modern two-slice toaster draws anywhere between 600 and 1200 W
Watt
The watt is a derived unit of power in the International System of Units , named after the Scottish engineer James Watt . The unit, defined as one joule per second, measures the rate of energy conversion.-Definition:...

 and makes toast in 1 to 3 minutes. There are also non-electric toasters that can be used to toast bread products over an open fire or flame.

See also

  • Barbecue
    Barbecue
    Barbecue or barbeque , used chiefly in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia is a method and apparatus for cooking meat, poultry and occasionally fish with the heat and hot smoke of a fire, smoking wood, or hot coals of...

  • Braai
    Braai
    The word braaivleis is Afrikaans for "grilled meat."The word braai is Afrikaans for "barbecue" or "grill" and is a social custom in South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, Zimbabwe and Zambia. The term originated with the Afrikaner people, but has since been adopted by South Africans of many...

  • Hollywood Style
  • Spice rub
    Spice rub
    Spice rub is any mixture of ground spices that is made for the purpose of being rubbed on raw food before the food is cooked. The spice rub forms a coat on the food. The food can be marinated in the spice rub for some time for the flavors to incorporate into the food or it can be cooked...

    s
  • Schwenker
    Schwenker
    The term Schwenker is a local term from the German state of Saarland and is used in three ways, all relating to the same grilled meat:# Schwenker or Schwenkbraten is a marinated pork neck steak which originates from the Saarland and is grilled on a Schwenker ...

  • Teppanyaki
    Teppanyaki
    is a style of Japanese cuisine that uses an iron griddle to cook food. The word teppanyaki is derived from teppan , which means iron plate, and yaki , which means grilled, broiled or pan-fried...

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