Dry heat cooking

By DavidPruitt989 on January 23, 2011 In Cooking Tips

Amongst the different dry heat cooking methods discussed in this article are the following; roasting, baking and broiling. The thing they all have in common is that the food is heated with no additional medium introduced such as boiling water or oil. It’s all about the food being exposed to raw heat, either the heat source itself or air heated by it. The main difference with this method is that the food is usually exposed to far greater degrees of heat.

When you broil you just simply expose the food directly to the heat source you’re using to cook. For example directly over a gas flame, or heated coals. This method is intended to be cook so should not be used with tough cuts of meat or as they will remain tough and won’t become tender. The food will however have been sealed and retained it’s juices better, developing a great flavour. The food should be turned regularly right at the start to seal it. What happens after this depends on the heat source – something like coals cannot be adjusted so the turning must be continued while the food cooks. A gas flame on the other hand can be turned down so food can be left on a lower heat to cook normally without fear of burning. It produces a good flavour, but it’s not an economical form of cooking.

The pan broiling adaptation introduces the medium of oil to the process, by putting the food in a very hot pan the oil does the job of sealing the food. Pan broiling achieves the same result as ordinary broiling, and it’s generally used when the heat source isn’t in the right state for ordinary broiling. As well as doing the same job, the same basic method is used, repeated turnig of the food to continue cooking after sealing is achieved.

Roasting originates from a time when practically all food was cooked over a fire. Roasted food is cooked by radiant heat, that is heat reflected onto the food’s surface. This is achieved with open fires by using a contraption that is open towards the fire, but closed off away from it reflecting the heat back on the food. The roast would have been suspended in this device and rotated slowly. Conceptually it’s the same as broiling but the execution is different to match the circumstances.

Much of what’s called roasting these days in an oven is actually baking – the Sunday Roast is baked because it’s cooked by hot air. The idea of a covered roasting pan makes even less sense in terms of the original meaning of roasting. Truly roasted food must be exposed to the open air.

The choice between roasting or broiling is usually arrived at by considering the shape of the meats, rather than the weight. A flat thin piece could be broiled successfully, but a round or bulky piece should be roasted.

The most common form of cooking today, baking, is achieved by use of an oven. Having said that the terms is not always applied correctly. By way of a definition, baking is usually the exposure of the food to hot air rather than a direct heat source. Foods such as bread, cakes and anything starchy are almost always baked, but it’s also used for meat, fish, pies and vegetables. However the customary terminology is still to roast meat in the oven rather than bake it which is what in actuality happens, except in the case of a ham which is correctly considered to have been baked.

David Pruitt is an amateur cooking enthusiast and steak lover. He gives his opinions regularly at American Fridge Freezers, Whirlpool American Fridge Freezers.