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My range (oven) does not have a broiler (grill), but I've been coming across recipes lately (for pizza, in particular) that require one. Any suggestions on how to fake it?

One thing I've tried is to preheat a baking stone, placing it above where I'll put other things. Unfortunately, it didn't work too well.

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Not sure I could manage without one, it's the only piece of cooking equipment I use every day. Doubt there is an effective substitute, some things might be able to be baked, but flames overhead isn't an easy effect to replicate. –  Orbling May 8 '11 at 22:46
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For certain applications, a blowtorch will do. –  ESultanik May 9 '11 at 0:11
    
Pizza's are baked, not grilled. Just use your oven in regualr mode as hot as it will go. If you want to go crazy with heat you need 50KG of steel to hold heat as per Nathan Myhrvold –  TFD May 9 '11 at 3:03
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4 Answers

I hate to say this, but broiling a pizza IS faking it!

You could get one of those small electric ones that are popular with students and other one room living people for less than $20 - or just cook things right at the top of the oven (that works too well for me) - or use a blowlamp.

Personally, I don't need a broiler to reduce food to a charred mess ...

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A toaster oven works great for smaller items. Most toaster ovens come with a broiler. Plus, toaster ovens are just a great tool for cooking smaller items without using a bunch of energy and heating up the house (especially in the summer months). Unfortunately a full sized pizza wouldn't work so well in a toaster oven. (Although you could split the dough and make two rectangular pizzas. Bake one today and save the other in the fridge for a couple days before baking.)

For something like pizza it might be best to just bake it. If you're looking for a crispier crust you can try putting the pizza directly on the oven rack. If you do that make sure to line the bottom of the oven with foil to catch any cheese or oil that falls/runs off the edge of the pizza.

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A broiler gives all of the heat from the top, and none from the bottom. If you really wanted to try to achieve a similar effect, and your oven didn't have a broiler option, I'd do the following:

  1. Adjust one rack in the oven to the desired height from the top element.
  2. Adjust a second rack slightly below that other one (as close as possible, so you can still comply with the next step)
  3. Spread out a bunch of sheet trays (preferably shiny or light in color) on the lower rack, attempting to fill the rack entirely. You could also wrap the rack in heavy duty foil, if you didn't have sheet pans of an appropriate size)
  4. Turn the oven up as high as it can go.
  5. Prop the door of the oven open (if the sheet pans stick out too far because you rotated them, so much the better)

... and you'll waste a lot of heat, and might not be so fun in the summer time, but it'll give you something similar to a broiler. And as tempted as you'd be to close the door of the oven, don't do it; if the oven gets up to temperature, it'll shut the heating element off.

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Best bet is probably to use a barbecue. Barbecuing pizza is all the rage these days - Sur la Table and Williams Sonoma are featuring bbq-ready pizza stones in their summer catalogs. Of course, you don't need a stone, you can put it directly on the grates if you flour it well, oil the grates and use a peel to drop it on there fast. Keep the grill covered to get it as hot as possible. This is the closest you'll get to a coal- or wood-burning brick oven without building a DIY brick oven outside or a frankenweber.

Another alternative to stoneware is cast iron. I use a 12" cast iron skillet and I think it works better than my pizza stone. I put it in the broiler, but you can put it in the barbecue or in the oven, preheated as hot as the oven will go.

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