is a form of cooking that involves dry heat applied to the
surface of food, commonly from above or below. Grilling
usually involves quite a lot of direct, radiant heat, and
tends to be used for cooking quickly meat that has already
been cut into slices (or other pieces).
Food to be grilled is cooked on a grill (an
open wire grid with a heat source above or below), a grill pan
(similar to a frying pan, but with raised ridges to mimic the
wires of an open grill), or griddle (a flat plate heated from
below). Heat transfer to the food when using a grill is primarily
via 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 radiation.
Direct heat grilling can expose food to
temperatures often in excess of 500 °F (260 °C). Grilled meat
acquires a distinctive roast aroma from a chemical process called
the Maillard reaction. The Maillard reaction only occurs when
foods reach temperatures in excess of 310° F (155 °C).
Studies have shown that cooking beef, pork,
poultry, and fish at high temperatures can lead to the formation
of heterocyclic amines, benzopyrenes, and polycyclic aromatic
hydrocarbons, which are carcinogens. However, proper marination
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 grills or gas grills, a recent trend is the concept of
infrared grilling. Grilling may also be performed using stove-top
"grill pans" which have raised metal ridges for the food to sit
on, or using an indoor electric grill.
A skewer or brochette,
or a rotisserie 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 or hickory
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, apple, maple and oak may also be
UK and Ireland
In the United Kingdom, Commonwealth countries (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, 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
In Japanese cities, a yakitori cart, restaurant, or shop with
charcoal-fired grills and marinated grilled meat on a stick can
often be found. Yakiniku, or Korean barbecue, 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, marinated meat on a bamboo skewer grilled over a
charcoal fire and served with peanut (sate) sauce.
Main article: Gridiron (cooking)
Gridironing is the cooking of
meats or other foods using a grill suspended above a heat source.
Grilling is often performed outdoors, using charcoal (real wood or
preformed briquettes), wood, or propane 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.
Outdoor grilling on a gridiron may be referred to as "barbecue",
though in traditional 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, 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).
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
articles: Barbecue and Barbecue grill
The term "barbecue" was traditionally
applied to a cooking method where low, indirect heat and smoking
wood (or hot coals of charcoal) were used to slow cook basted pork
or beef, in a process similar to earth oven or masonry oven
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
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 casseroles 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.
It is possible to braise 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 is used, the cooking time
will be much faster.
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-grill and gear grilling is a process of searing 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 900 °F (480 °C).
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
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.
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.
Main articles: Flattop grill and Griddle
"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
A flattop grill is a
cooking appliance that resembles a griddle 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 you're cooking. 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,
toasting, steaming, stir frying, grilling, baking, braising, and
roasting, and can also be used in flambéing. 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
Charbroiling refers to grilling on a surface with wide raised
ridges, to the point of having the food slightly charred in
texture. This is often referred to simply as grilling in most
places outside the US. The phrase "put it in the broiler" is
translated as "put it over/under the grill."
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 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.
A salamander is a culinary utensil 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 toasting, as well as browning of gratin dishes,
melting cheeses onto sandwiches, and caramelising desserts such as
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
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, an
amphibian that was mythically believed to be immune to fire.
Some commercial devices permit the simultaneous grilling of both
sides of the meat at the same time.
machine at Burger King, Carl's Jr./Hardee's, and other restaurants
is called a 'broiler'. It works by moving meat patties 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, 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). 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.
Sometimes a stone is used to grill foods. Stones in these cases
can store temperatures up to 842 °F (450 °C). Foods grilled on
stone involve no fats or oil and are considered a healthier
alternative. (See also pizza stone.)
A toaster is typically a small electric
kitchen appliance designed to grill diverse types of bread
products to make toast. A typical modern two-slice toaster draws
anywhere between 600 and 1200 W 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.