These deliver direct, intense heat from powerful burners or elements. A salamander oven can be used for full roasting or turned down for light finishing of dishes. They're available with up to six burners, depending on the size of the unit. The cooking grids are often coated with chrome for durability and superior heat retention and distribution. In addition, most of them include removable drip trays so grease and food particles that fall into the cooking chamber can be quickly and thoroughly cleaned out when necessary.
Rack Height and Temperature Zone Adjustment
These units have either knobs or trigger grips that are cool to the touch, allowing you to move the racks up and down to adjust the intensity of the heat. More delicate food items like fish filets might need to be heated further away from the burners, while other dishes like steaks might require more direct, intense heat. This control reduces the risks of burning some items or leaving others unfinished. In addition, many of these units include multiple heat controls. This allows you to set different sections of the cooking chamber to different heat levels, so you can prepare more than one dish at the same time.
You have a couple of choices when choosing how you'll install your salamander oven in your kitchen. There are countertop units that can sit on a worktop, and there are wall-mounted versions, which can be installed above a countertop to free-up valuable work space. There are also range-mounted options which can be placed above a cooktop or griddle, so you can start a steak on your range and finish it in your broiler. Many of these include a ventilation flue to remove grease-laden vapors and excess heat.
Gas Burners vs. Electric Elements
When it comes to choosing a heat source, there are electric, natural gas, and LP (propane) models available. The one you choose will depend on your specific needs and utilities available. Natural gas is usually provided by a utility and you may already have the proper hookups in your kitchen for gas equipment. LP requires a storage tank outside, which is refilled periodically. Gas has the advantage of being cheaper than electricity in many parts of the country, and gas burners heat rapidly, so they can often finish food more quickly than electric elements.
If you don't have a choice of natural gas or propane you'll need an electric model. In some areas, electricity is more affordable than gas, and electric elements are more energy-efficient and don't produce as much ambient heat, meaning they'll help keep your kitchen cooler.
Why the Funny Name?
The unusual name of a salamander broiler comes from an ancient type of cooking equipment. This name was given to a disc of iron or steel on the end of a long handle that would be placed directly in an open fire to be heated. When hot, the piece of metal would be placed on top of a dish of prepared food to create a browned crust without cooking it any further. The name actually comes from a legendary lizard in classical and medieval myths which could come in contact with fire and not be burned. As this technique evolved throughout the ages, the name stuck.