Broiled Steaks

April 26, 2010

With barbecue season still not quite here, I wanted to try the broiling techniques I saw on Cook’s Country. The two main problems they solved, (1) how to avoid a smoke-filled kitchen, (2) how to get a nice crust while evenly cooking the interior.

Shell Steaks are delicious. They are the larger side of a T-bone and it's nice not to worry about the bones.

The smoke was easily solved. Ditch the traditional broiler pan, and use a disposable aluminum pan filled with two cups of salt. The salt absorbs the drippings and completely stopped the smoke.

The second problem was a little harder to solve. To get evenly cooked steaks, I baked the steaks for 10-minutes, then let them rest for another 10-minutes while preheating the broiler. I used a wire rack (much more porous than a broiler pan) so the steaks don’t stew in their own juices. Also, I patted the steaks dry a few times with paper towels, because wet steaks will not brown.  Finally, Cook’s Country’s technique of using a 3″-high pan didn’t work in my instance, because every broiler is different. I was only able to get the steaks within 2-inches of the broiler element, not the desired 1-1/2″. That extra 1/2-inch makes it impossible to get a medium-rare steak.

The final result: 4-1/2 stars. While a little more work than I anticipated, the techniques definitely resulted in an evenly cooked steak with a delicious crust.


  1. Because every broiler has difference rack heights, their single solution of a 3-inch high aluminum pan won’t work in everyone’s broiler. My broiler meant caused the crust to form too slowly, resulting in a medium to medium-well steak. Either that or eat without a crust.
  2. To find your ideal height pan, first you need to measure the distance from your highest rack to the broiler element.  You need at least 4-1/2 inches, so I had to use my second to highest rack. Take that distance and subtract your steak’s thickness (mine were 1-inch) and the 1-1/2″.  For example, 5″ – 1″ – 1-1/2″ means that I should have had a 2-1/2″ high pan.

Rating: 4-1/2 star.
Cost: $17
How much work? Low/Medium.
How big of a mess?  Low.
Started: 6:00 pm. Dessert Time:  7:00.

Extra juices fall into the salt.

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